The welterweight title that Ben Askren vacated to join One FC is on the line, and welterweight standouts Rick Hawn and Douglas Lima are the designated challengers. Both fighters have fought for Bellator gold in the past, with Hawn losing via submission for the lightweight title, and Lima losing a dominant decision against the aforementioned Askren at 170. Both have won four-in-a-row, setting up an intriguing title bout.
The bout will take place on 17 April at the Mid-America Centre in Council Bluffs, Iowa. No other fights have been confirmed for the card, which follows a number of intriguing announcements that Bellator have made in the past few days.
Douglas Lima has a 25-5 record as a professional, holding an impressive 7-1 Bellator record including wins over Steve Carl and two victories against Ben Saunders. He was finished 22 of his 25 opponents, and has won his last four via knockout coming into the bout with Hawn with a whole load of momentum. His memorable KO victory over Saunders has unsurprisingly set him up for a second shot at Bellator gold.
Rick Hawn, meanwhile, holds a 18-2 record as a pro and has won 10 of his 12 Bellator fights, losing to top talents Jay Hieron and Michael Chandler, the former being a tight split decision. Hawn comes into the bout with Lima with a knockout win over Ron Keslar, but faced some adversity into the bout before finishing the evidently tired Keslar. ‘Genghis’ has notable wins over Karo Parisyan, Lloyd Woodard and Jim Wallhead, and remains one of the top contenders under the Bellator banner.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney was enthusiastic upon announcing the bout,
“Lima vs. Hawn is just a fight fans dream come true. Both are incredibly exciting to watch in the cage, and to have both of them set for a five round battle for our welterweight title is something I couldn’t be happier about.”
Both Hawn and Lima will be hoping it is second time lucky in title shots.