TheWrestlingTimes.com By - Kent Jones
|Keeps Bellator Welterweight Title|
After 25 minutes of action, Ben Askren is still Bellator's welterweight champion.
Askren defeated Jay Hieron by split decision on Saturday night, keeping the Bellator welterweight belt but not satisfying himself with his performance.
"I'm not pleased at all -- I'm supposed to be getting better," Askren said afterward. "In no way did I dominate Jay like I wanted to and that's why I'm disappointed. The judges could have gone either way on this one."
Although he's a great wrestler, Askren knows he's not a complete enough fighter to put himself on the same level as the truly elite in the sport, and he acknowledged as much after escaping with the win over Hieron.
"My goal is to be the best fighter in the world and I wasn't that tonight -- I wasn't even close," Askren said.
Saturday night's Bellator card also featured the two semifinal fights in the promotion's heavyweight tournament, and both of them ended very quickly.
In one heavyweight semifinal, Eric Prindle knocked out Ron Sparks with a brutal left hook just 40 seconds into the first round. Prindle sent Sparks face-first into the canvas with the punch and landed a couple more shots on the ground before referee Chuck Wolfe jumped in to stop the fight (accidentally kneeing Sparks in the face in the process). In the other heavyweight semifinal, Thiago Santos needed just 38 seconds to submit Neil Grove, landing a big shot on the feet and forcing a tap with a rear-naked choke on the ground.
Prindle and Santos will fight next month, with a shot at Bellator heavyweight champion Cole Konrad on the line.
"When you watch us, don't blink," Prindle said.