On November 22nd, Rick “Genghis” Hawn and Ron Keslar will square off in the final stage of the Bellator Season 9 welterweight tournament at Bellator 109. With former Bellator MMA welterweight champion Ben Askren now a free agent, will Rick Hawn finally get the chance to hold Bellator gold?
After coming up short in the Bellator Season 4 welterweight tournament in a controversial split decision loss to Jay Hieron, Hawn attempted to test the waters in the lightweight division. Rick Hawn conquered the lightweight competition in the Season 4 tournament, dispatching of both Ricardo Tirloni and Lloyd Woodward by brutal knockout, and defeating Brent Weedman by unanimous decision in the final round of the tournament.
Run at the Belt
His lightweight title aspirations were crushed by the-then champion Michael Chandler who dominated Hawn in the first round with some crisp kickboxing and wrestling and managed to seal the deal in the second round, where Chandler forced the takedown and controlled the scrambles from Hawn. Chandler took Hawn’s back and scored a fight-ending submission in the second round winning by rear-naked choke at 3:05. Genghis has looked stellar in his return to the welterweight division with a second round knockout win over judo rival Karo Parisyan, and unanimous decision wins over welterweight prospects Herman Terrado and Brent Weedman.
On Friday night Hawn will have his hands full with Strikeforce and King of the Cage veteran Ron Keslar. Keslar is coming into this fight with a split decision win over Luis Melo in the quarterfinal stage of the tournament. Keslar looked phenomenal in his technical-submission win over MMA-bad boy War Machine, choking the UFC veteran unconscious with a beautiful rear-naked choke in the first round where he advanced to the final round of the tournament.
The former Olympic judoka will have Keslar outmatched in every area. Keslar has been constantly improving in his last few fights and really looked dominant in his beatdown of War Machine, but Hawn is too well-rounded to fall into that trap. Expect Hawn to use his Olympic-level judo to nullify Keslar’s wrestling and make this fight a striking match. If Keslar is able to get Hawn to the mat, the Tristar MMA representative will still have the advantage, creating scrambles and threatening off of his back.
My Prediction: Rick Hawn via TKO in the 2nd