Bellator Season 2 Preview: Welterweights

The second season of Bellator Fighting Championships is about to get underway. Last year’s inaugural season set the stage for what should be a much better tournament in terms of action and talent in the cage. In order to keep you up to speed, Heavy presents our four-part look at the upcoming season of action.

A champion now reigns over each of Bellator’s four divisions by virtue of having one their respective tournaments in 2009. Each champion will first compete in a “Superfight” early on in the second season. At the conclusion of season two, a tournament champion will be crowned in each division, and he will challenge the champion of his division for the title.

Four tournaments. Four champions. Four winners. Will the new class of fighters prove to be superior to those crowned champion in 2009, or will the current champions assert their dominance over their respective divisions? We’ll find out as the season progresses. In the meantime, here’s a look at the fighters of season two of Bellator Fighting Championships.

Bellator FC Welterweight Champion

Fighter’s Name: Lyman Good

Nickname: Cyborg
Date of Birth: 5/26/1985
Camp: Team Tiger Schulmann
Fighting Style: Kickboxing, Submission Wrestling
Record: 10-0-0
Last Opponent: Omar De La Cruz (W – Bellator XI – 6/12/2009)

Next Opponent: TBD

Scouting Report:

+ Superb physical condition
+ Puts combinations together well
+ Good ground and pound inside of the guard
– Hasn’t fought top talent yet
– Jab is not particularly effective
– Doesn’t take control in the clinch

Additional Info:

* Has previously fought at Middleweight
* Won three kickboxing matches in Chuck Norris’s World Combat League

Season Two Welterweight Tournament Participants

Fighter’s Name: Ben Askren
Nickname: Funky
Date of Birth: 7/18/1984
Camp: Arizona Combat Sports/American Kickboxing Academy
Fighting Style: Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Record: 3-0-0
Last Opponent: Matt Delanoit (W – Max Fights DM: Ballroom Brawl – 8/28/2009)

Next Opponent: Ryan Thomas (Bellator XIV – 4/15/2010)

Scouting Report:

+ Constantly improving BJJ supplements his impeccable
wrestling + Once on top of his opponent, he stays on top
+ Great takedown defense
– Lots of holes in his stand up
– Very little experience

Additional Info:

* Two-time NCAA Wrestling champion at 174lbs. at the University of Missouri
* Four-time All American
* Wrestled in the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing
* Purple Belt in BJJ
* Assistant coach for the Arizona State University wrestling team

Fighter’s Name: Steve Carl
Nickname: N/A
Date of Birth: 12/20/1984
Camp: Team Hard Drive
Fighting Style:
Record: 12-1-0
Last Opponent: Maurice Speirs (W – Warriors 4 Warriors II – 11/27/2009)

Next Opponent: Brett Cooper (Bellator XV – 4/22/2010)

Scouting Report:

+ Solid base on the ground
+ Relentless ground and pound
+ Effective transitions on the ground
– Average takedowns at best
– Lost in his only match against a top talent

Additional Info:

* Reached the rank of Sergeant in the U.S. Army while fighting in the Iraq War

* Was told he’d never walk again without a cane, let alone fight, after breaking both legs in a 2006 automobile accident

Fighter’s Name: Brett Cooper
Nickname: Insane
Date of Birth: 7/2/1987
Camp: Body Shop Fitness Team
Fighting Style: Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Record: 11-5-0
Last Opponent: Sergio Moraes (W – Jungle Fight 15 – 10/17/2009)

Next Opponent: Steve Carl (Bellator XV – 4/22/2010)

Scouting Report:

+ Lots of heart
+ Has fought good competition
– Doesn’t protect himself well on the feet
– Very sloppy boxing

Fighter’s Name: Dan Hornbuckle
Nickname: The Handler
Date of Birth: 12/26/1980
Camp: McVicker’s Martial Arts Academy
Fighting Style: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kickboxing
Record: 19-2-0
Last Opponent: Nick Thompson (W – Sengoku 10 – 9/23/2009)

Next Opponent: Sean Pierson (Bellator XV – 4/22/2010)

Scouting Report:

+ Has really improved since 2008
+ Has fought top competition
+ Equally dangerous standing or on the ground
– Takedown needs work
– Doesn’t maintain his position well on the ground
– Telegraphs his strikes at times

Additional Info:

* Both of his losses have come by way of triangle choke

* A Native American who is a member of the Eastern Band Cherokee tribe

* Works days installing fire suppression systems

Fighter’s Name: Jacob McClintock
Nickname: Tick Tock
Date of Birth: 2/25/1988
Camp: Arizona Combat Sports
Fighting Style: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Record: 6-0-0
Last Opponent: Beau Baker (W – Ultimate Warrior Challenge 7: Redemption – 10/3/2009)

Next Opponent: Jim Wallhead (Bellator XV – 4/22/2010)

Scouting Report:

+ High talent to age ratio
+ Good in the clinch
+ Very tough
– Making weight has been a problem
– Not a lot of experience

Additional Info (Courtesy Pro MMA Now ):

* Wants to fight Kanye West

Fighter’s Name: Sean Pierson
Nickname: Pimp Daddy
Date of Birth: 3/10/1976
Camp: Olympus MMA/Grant Brothers MMA/Tap Star
Fighting Style: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kickboxing
Record: 9-4-0
Last Opponent: Fabio Holanda (W – Wreck MMA: Fight for the Troops – 12/12/2009)

Next Opponent: Dan Hornbuckle (Bellator XV – 4/22/2010)

Scouting Report:

+ Powerful ground and pound
+ Recovers well
+ Has won all of his fights in the first round
– Very rudimentary ground skills
– Keeps his hands low
– Only recently became dedicated to MMA as his full time career

Additional Info:

* Began fighting in 1999, but took a four-year hiatus from 2003 to 2007

Fighter’s Name: Ryan Thomas
Nickname: The Tank Engine
Date of Birth: 11/5/1984
Camp: True Believers MMA
Fighting Style: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Record: 10-3-0
Last Opponent: Ryan Stout (W – War in the Yard – 8/8/2009)

Next Opponent: Ben Askren (Bellator XIV – 4/15/2010)

Scouting Report:

+ Has fought top competition
+ Powerful ground and pound, even inside the guard
+ Good transitions on the ground
– Takedown attempts are sloppy
– Conditioning isn’t great
– Puts himself in bad positions

Additional Info (courtesy MMA Spot ):

* In addition to his home training camp, Thomas trained with Chris Lytle, Mark Miller, Chase Beebe and Clay French in preparation for his fight against Ben Askren

* Wrestled for and earned his bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Eastern Illinois University, the alma mater of Matt Hughes.

* Has the same nutritionist as Kenny Florian, Lyman Good, Jorge Gurgel and Tim Kennedy

Fighter’s Name: Jim Wallhead
Nickname: Judo
Date of Birth: 3/14/1984
Camp: Team Rough House
Fighting Style: Judo, Muay Thai
Record: 18-5-0
Last Opponent: Che Mills (W – KUMMA – 11/1/2009)

Next Opponent: Jacob McClintock (Bellator XV – 4/22/2010)

Scouting Report:

+ Lots of experience
+ Doesn’t take many clean punches
+ Good takedown defense
– Transitions need improvement
– Not aggressive
– Has had trouble avoiding submissions

Additional Info:

* A black belt in Judo who was a three-time Under 21 British Judo Champion

* Began his MMA career at Light Heavyweight

* Coaches at the Leicester Shootfighters gym

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