Oklahoma will be treated to a night of Bellator MMA action for a third time with a stacked fight card that features heavy hitters and Jiu-Jitsu aces as well as the Season 4 Welterweight Tournament final between former IFL Welterweight Champion and Strikeforce and UFC veteran ”The Thoroughbred” Jay Hieron (18-4) and the undefeated Judo Olympian Rick Hawn (11-0). Bellator 43 will take place at the First Council Casino and Hotel in Newkirk and will feature three solid supporting bouts in the middleweight, heavyweight, and bantamweight divisions. The co-main event features UFC and Strikeforce veteran “Diesel” Joe Riggs (33-13) and Season 2 Tournament finalist “The Beast” Bryan Baker (11-2) with the winner likely gaining a spot in the Season 5 Middleweight Tournament. Also on the card, former WEC Bantamweight Champion and Jiu-Jitsu wizard “The Rage” Chase Beebe (16-5) will face off with returning Season 3 Bantamweight Tournament semi-finalist Jose Vega (8-4). A heavyweight tilt was scheduled between “Goliath” Neil Grove (10-3) and Bellator newcomer Zach Jensen (10-6), but due to an injury Grove was pulled from the bout and Bellator announced on May 5 that “The Monster” Ron Sparks (3-0) would return to the cage against Vince Lucero (20-18) as a late replacement for the bout.
Today Bellator Fighting Championships announced that its May 7 card, Bellator 43, in Newkirk, Oklahoma will not only host the Season 4 Welterweight Tournament finals between undefeated Judo Olympian Rick Hawn (11-0) and former International Fight League (IFL) 170lbs. champ “The Thoroughbred” Jay Hieron (18-4) but also will feature a stacked night of fights leading up to the main event.
Tomorrow night in Fort Hood, Texas, the UFC hosts its second Fight for the Troops event to benefit the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. The night’s action includes performances from some of the UFC’s most exciting fighters including the sharp-tongued “The Young Assassin” Melvin Guillard (25-8-2), top lightweight prospect Evan Dunham (10-1), The Ultimate Fighter 8 alum George Roop (11-5), kickboxer “The Machine” Mark Hominick (18-7), American Top Team stand-out “Magrinho” Cole Miller (17-4), “Handsome” Matt Wiman (12-5), fan favorite “Hype or Die” Pat Barry (4-3), and boxer “The Mexicutioner” Joey Beltran (10-3). Also on the main card is a heavy-duty battle between The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 alum “Meathead” Matt Mitrione (3-0) and King of the Cage veteran “The Thrashing Machine” Tim Hague (10-4). Mitrione has won all three fights in his short UFC career starting with a knockout over fellow TUF 10 competitor “Big Baby” Marcus Jones (4-2), then deflating the hot air from “Kimbo Slice” Kevin Ferguson (4-2) then Joey Beltran at UFC 119. Tim Hague has fought four times under the UFC banner going 1-3 with his lone win coming over Pat Barry and his three losses coming by the hands of Joey Beltran, Todd Duffee (5-1) and Chris Tuchscherer (16-3). The bout is an important crossroads for both men, as a loss would likely cost Hague his place in the UFC and a win would send Mitrione into the fringes of the title picture.