Bellator 104 Main Card Preview for ‘Hawn vs Weedman 2’ in Cedar Rapids

Bellator 104Bellator is headed to Iowa, Cedar Rapids to be exact, where the old days of MMA flourished with no holds barred brutality fostered by the Miletich’s of the world. Iowa is also very lovely this time of year. This is the second to last event before Bellator puts on their first PPV, and a lot is on the line here at Bellator 104, with two welterweight semifinal matches and even a few decent feature matches. Let’s jump right in. In the first Season nine semifinal match, we have a rematch from the finals of the season six lightweight tournament. Now that Brent Weedman (22-8-1) and Rick Hawn (16-2) are hydrated and somewhat renewed after not meeting their goals at lightweight, they should put on a pretty entertaining fight here in the rematch. Weedman has the better stand up, and looking back at their first fight, he did well against Hawn, tagging him multiple times in the first round with sharp striking until Hawn fought back with his, then went all Judo Olympian on Weedman and took him down with relative ease. Asking the question of: who benefits more from going back up in weight, may or may not be worth asking in the end, but Weedman, for the record, said he felt very drained while fighting at 155. Hawn has become a bit of a knockout artist, but Weedman is notoriously difficult to finish. In the end, you can look at this fight and expect it to play out much like the first, with Weedman showing flashes of good stuff while Hawn ultimately outmuscles him. This is Bellator, however, and you can ask Luca Fury – nothing is as it seems in this promotion and anything can happen. In the next welterweight semifinal, the rambunctiously frightening War Machine (14-4) has looked great in his two Bellator fights thus far, destroying his first two opponents, and putting Vaughn Anderson to sleep at Bellator 100 in the quarterfinals. His opponent is the AKA-trained Ron Keslar (10-3) who replaced Matt Riddle on short notice at Bellator 100. At Bellator 100, Keslar defeated Fonseca Melo Jr. via split-decision, and he looked sluggish to put it lightly. Granted, that could have been because he took the fight on extremely short notice, so it will be interesting to see if this grinding wrestler can offset War Machines balls-to-the-walls pace. Keslar, like most AKA fighters, is really, really good at neutralizing his opponent’s offense and frustrating them. We’ll see if he can do this to War Machine, who is proficient no matter where the fight goes in the Bellator cage. With the two tournament fights in the books, we have a couple feature fights, with the first one being a heavyweight matchup between Bellator mainstay Eric Prindle (8-3-1) taking on K-1’s Peter Graham (9-5). If you’ve followed Prindle’s career, you know about the strange saga of his groin shots against Thiago Santos, and this heavyweight tournament winner’s loss against Cole Konrad. Konrad always made people look bad, showing how futile their ground game was compared to him, but in this fight, Prindle is clearly the one with a stronger grappling resume. Which is pretty sad in a way. Graham is a K-1 fighter, plain and simple. If Prindle stands with him, Graham is going to destroy him, that’s just the way it is. Graham has nine MMA wins- all by knockout – and five MMA losses, all via submission (31 TKOs in K-1). It’s clear Graham just doesn’t know the ground, so you would think that Prindle would put Graham against the cage and then yank him to the ground. It could be the only way for him to survive. That, and a possible kick to the junk. Finally we’ll have former Ultimate Fighter winner and current Hawaiian journeyman Kendall Grove (19-13-1) hoping to build off his win last June and get another streak rolling, after losing his previous three. His opponent is Joe Vedepo (14-6) and 1-1 in Bellator, fighting last in December and losing via KO to Louis Taylor. Both men realize they can use each other to vault into relevancy, or back into relevancy in Grove’s case, with a good win. Vedepo lost both of his fights in the UFC to decent competition, while grove seems to always defeat decent and falter to the good and above. This could be the case of Grove using his savvy and length to keep Vedepo at bay, as both are accomplished grapplers, with Grove holding a BJJ black belt and Vedepo being a grinding wrestler with strong hands. That said, Grove hasn’t looked very good in years (since he fought Evan Tanner in 2008 perhaps), so maybe this is Vedepo’s time to shine.

Written by Jason Nawara

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