On Friday, Oct. 18, Bellator hosted its 104th event from the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The event, which aired live on Spike TV, featured the semifinal round of the promotion’s season nine welterweight tournament. In one half of the ladder, former tournament winner and title challenger Rick Hawn rematched Brent Weedman, whom he defeated previously to claim the season six lightweight tournament. The second pairing featured controversial fighter War Machine against Ron Keslar. Each looked to move one step closer to the $100,000 tournament prize and a guaranteed title shot.

Also on the main card, former Ultimate Fighter winner Kendall Grove made his promotional debut against Joe Vedepo in a middleweight affair and former heavyweight title challenger Eric Prindle faced off with Australia’s Peter Graham.

The night’s preliminary was littered with notables as former title challenger Karl Amoussou clashed with Paul Bradley, former RFA champ Jared Downing met UFC veteran Rob Emerson, and British submission ace Paul Sass locked horns with Rod Montoya.

The four-fight main card began at 9 p.m. ET on Spike TV. The remaining six fights streamed live on Spike.com

Hawn again outworks Weedman, earns spot in welterweight tournament final

Rick Hawn defeated Brent Weedman for the second time to become a welterweight tournament finalist.

Weedman initiated the clinch with the judo Olympian to begin this fight. Hawn was able to brush Weedman off fairly easily. Hawn landed a solid punch and dropped Weedman. Hawn jumped on top and ended up in Weedman’s guard. Hawn eventually decided to bring the fight back to the feet. Weedman landed a few solid strikes from the outside, but Hawn looked to be quicker and landed more combinations instead of the one off shots of Weedman.

Hawn looked to be the more effective boxer once again to begin the second round. Weedman looked to go for a takedown, but Hawn used great balance to defend and then land a short right hand after re-establishing the distance. Weedman landed a good knee to the body when Hawn clinched for the first time in the fight. The two fighters didn’t stay attached for long and it went back to being a kickboxing match. Hawn landed a left hand to the body, while Weedman threw a head kick that was partially blocked. The two were still on the feet to end a very close second round.

The two went right back to the striking match to start the final round. Weedman got extremely aggressive throwing a spinning backfist and going for a standing guillotine choke. Hawn took advantage of the clinch and took Weedman down. He stayed in Weedman’s guard for a while, but decided to return to the feet after thwarting a triangle choke attempt. Hawn was again more accurate with the strikes, and landed a flush short left hand. While Hawn did land some very clean shots, Weedman was never really in trouble, but still Weedman couldn’t mount an offense of his own to take the round or the fight.

Keslar puts Machine to sleep, moves on to welterweight tournament final

Ron Keslar choked War Machine unconscious to earn a spot in the welterweight tournament finals.

War Machine threw a leg kick right off the bat that Keslar was able to catch. Keslar pushed War Machine against the cage, earned a takedown with an outside trip, and was able to take the back. Keslar decided to go for the body triangle instead of sinking hooks in. War Machine looked to move his feet towards the cage to push out of the position, but Keslar was able to hold on to the position and continue to look for the rear-naked choke. War  Machine was able to stand back up, but Keslar kept control of the body triangle and was able to sneak his arm under the chin. War Machine did not tap, but went to sleep and Ron Keslar earned the victory.

Grove bests Vedepo

Kendall Grove earned a decision victory over Joe Vedepo in his Bellator debut.

Grove landed the first clean strike of the night with a left hand that got through Vedepo’s guard. Vedepo immediately pressed the Hawaiian against the cage and went for a takedown, but Grove did a nice job of defending. Grove pushed Vedepo off and looked to establish his reach advantage with a double job. Grove rocked Vedepo, who immediately went into survival mode and landed a takedown. Grove was very active as soon as the fight hit the ground, looking for a triangle. Grove eventually transitioned to a tight arm bar, but Vedepo was able to escape. Grove was able to end up on top briefly after the submission attempts. Grove ended up on his back again and went for another triangle choke, but he couldn’t finish before the end of the round.

Vedepo took Grove down right away and ended up in half guard. Vedepo looked like he might be setting up for an arm triangle, but Grove got back to full guard and back to his feet. After a scramble Grove was able to force Vedepo to the ground and end up on top. Grove passed the guard as Vedepo attempted up kicks and ended up in a high full mount. Vedepo was able to transition and go for a takedown, but Grove pounced on a guillotine choke. Vedepo amazingly, was able to defend the submission once again. The Iowa native looked to maintain top control, but Grove was able to get to his feet in the closing seconds of the round.

Grove threw a head kick at the outset of the ground, but Vedepo was able to block it with his arm. Vedepo then went back to the well with the takedowns, but Grove was able to defend and land solid knees on the break. Vedepo was undeterred, however, and landed yet another takedown. Grove was again able to use his long frame to help him wall walk and get back to his feet. Grove turned the tables on Vedepo and landed a takedown of his own. Grove looked to do damage from inside the full guard, but he was unable to hold Vedepo down. The hometown man, Vedepo, earned yet another takedown, but still remained unsuccessful when it came to scoring damage on Grove. Grove continued to stay active from his guard and went for submissions all the way to the final bell.

Graham too much for Prindle

Peter Graham used superior kick boxing to defeat former tournament winner, Eric Prindle.

The two heavyweights started the action on the main card. Both fighters started throwing leather after a touch of gloves. The kick boxer, Graham, looked to chop Prindle Down with leg kicks. After getting caught with numerous leg kicks, Prindle through a spinning back fist that was off the mark. Graham continued to look to land from the outside and peppered the outside of the American’s left leg with kicks. Prindle tried to close the distance and clinch, but was unable to do so. Graham was able to land two right hands to hurt Prindle after landing another solid leg strike. Graham began to open up with elbows with Prindle on his back and was able to open up a cut on the forehead in the final minute of the first frame.

Prindle moved forward at the beginning of the round, but was not able to land a clean left or right hand. Graham landed a solid elbow over the top and started pouring it on. Prindle was extremely rocked from Graham’s power punches, but Graham stepped back and composed himself after Prindle started firing back with big shots of his own. Graham slowed down significantly halfway through the round and Prindle landed a nice left hook coming forward. Both fighters looked exhausted in the latter stages of the round. Both continued to wing big shots out there, but nothing landed flush. Prindle looked to take the fight to the ground in the final minute, but was not successful.

Prindle threw out some leg kicks to start the final round. Graham began to throw the leg kicks that he threw in the first round, but his power was greatly diminished. Graham still managed to muster enough energy to stuff another Prindle takedown attempt. Graham landed back to back right hands on Prindle that had the American on his heels, but he couldn’t follow up enough to put Prindle in any serious danger. Prindle again landed a left hook stepping in, but Graham seemed to shrug the shot off. Graham landed a front kick to the face of Prindle at the bell, but time ran out before a finish could happen.

Rick Hawn def. Brent Weedman by unanimous decision (30-27 x3) – welterweight tournament semifinal
Ron Keslar def. War Machine by technical submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:31 – welterweight tournament semifinal
Kendall Grove def. Joe Vedepo by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Peter Graham def. Eric Prindle by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Paul Bradley def Karl Amoussou by unanimous decision (29-28×3).
Paul Sass def. Rod Montoya by submission (toe hold). Round 1, 2:01
Rob Emerson def. Jared Downing by submission (heel hook). Round 1, 1:44
Brandon Girtz def. Mike Estus by submission (armbar). Round 1, 4:25
Cliff Wright Jr. def. Derek Loffer by submission (armbar). Round 2, 4:28
Andrew Tieva def. Chris Lane by TKO (punches). Round 1, 2:14

Photo: Rick Hawn (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

About The Author

Trey Downey
Staff Writer

A Central Florida native, Trey Downey's interest in MMA came after a trip to Blockbuster and the rental of UFC 47 on VHS. He has been blogging about the sport since 2011 and hosted a podcast called The TD Experience focusing on football and MMA (touchdowns and takedowns). Trey studied radio and television at the University of Central Florida and will soon be attending the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Trey enjoys watching sports, pro wrestling and is an avid runner.