Ben Askren Rolls at Bellator 40; Hieron and Chandler Move To Finals

Ben Askren and Nick Thompson

Ben Askren and Nick Thompson


Bellator Fighting Championships landed at the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Okla., on Saturday night for Bellator 40.

Reining welterweight champ Ben Askren dominated against veteran Nick Thompson in a non-title bout in the main event. Welterweight Jay Hieron and lightweight Michael Chandler also punched their tickets to their respective tournament finals.

It was all Ben Askren against longtime MMA veteran Nick Thompson in Askren’s first fight since taking the title from former Bellator champion Lyman Good. Askren started round one with a spinning backfist, but quickly started a three-round grappling clinic, which left Thompson ineffective for almost the entire fight. At the very end of round three, a frustrated Thompson showed a glimmer of hope as he landed a few blows from the top with Askren on his back. It was not nearly enough to impress the judges, who awarded Ben Askren the unanimous decision victory.

“Tonight at Bellator 40 Ben Askren continued to show the world that he’s the best wrestler in all of MMA,” said Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Chandler looked spectacular and Jay put on a very solid performance as well.”

In the second lightweight semifinal of the season, All-American wrestler Michael Chandler met Lloyd Woodard in a tightly-contested match. In round one, Chandler outwrestled Woodard, displaying crowd-pleasing takedowns, which included a powerful belly-to-belly suplex. Woodard found his ground in round two, landing a big knee to the face of a crouched Chandler and, later, locking in a standing rear naked choke. Chandler came out fresh in round three, continuing his wrestling domination and throwing heavy shots from the top position to close out the round. Going the distance, the judges awarded Chandler the victory via unanimous decision, securing his place in a lightweight finals match-up with Patricky “Pitbull” Freire.

Fast-rising Brent Weedman faced MMA veteran Jay Hieron in a hard-fought welterweight semifinal fight. At the outset of round, Weedman landed a left hook, dropping Hieron to the ground. Hieron, an experienced wrestler, quickly took the top position, where he locked in D’Arce chokes on two occasions, but was unable to submit Weedman. An aggressive Weedman had Hieron backpedaling for the majority of round two, initiating powerful leg kicks and strikes. In round three, Hieron took Weedman to the ground, but was unable to remain in control as Weedman attempted a guillotine choke. Weedman continued the round by landing powerful thigh kicks. Hieron retaliated with a few superman punches. Hieron closed out the round from the top position, which made an impression on the judges, as they declared Hieron victorious via a unanimous decision. Jay Hieron advances to the finals where he will face Rick Hawn.

Bellator 40 Official Main Card Results:
-Ben Askren def. Nick Thompson by Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
-Jay Hieron def. Brent Weedman by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
-Michael Chandler def. Lloyd Woodard by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)