Lyman Good (11-1) is determined to once again hold the Bellator welterweight title and he has an opportunity to take once step closer to doing so on April 2nd at Bellator 39, as he faces undefeated Judoka Rick Hawn (10-0).
Good was a standout in Bellator’s first season, stringing together three straight finishes to become the first Welterweight champion of the promotion. He showed the confidence, composure and balanced aggression that make any upcoming prospect exciting to watch, as well as gradual development. Each fight throughout the season was another chance for Good to showcase the sharpening of his skill set. It was after more than a year’s layoff when he met former Olympian wrestler Ben Askren where Good met his first taste of adversity, dropping a unanimous decision to the wrestling dynamo who now holds the welterweight belt. Good’s unanimous decision win over Chris Lozano was a great comeback fight for Good, but it’s evident that the bout only showed a small portion of all of the facets of mixed martial arts that Lyman Good has undoubtedly worked on since his first loss.
Hawn is very much in the same position that Good was at in his initial run; an undefeated fighter, very young in his MMA career looking to work his name into relevancy fight-by-fight. An Olympic Judoka who represented the United States at Athens in 2004, Rick is a top-tier athlete who is looking to impose his skill set into the melting pot of MMA. His first fight in the tournament at Bellator 35 was shocking to watch, as a 34-year-old who spent his life dedicated to a single sport showed the polished well-roundedness of a veteran. His sharp takedown defense kept him in control, while he showed off smooth Muay Thai, courtesy of Team Sityodtong, the same tutelage Thai Boxing great Samart Payakaroon owes his legacy to. Hawn cruised to a unanimous decision over Jim Wallhead, making a statement to Bellator’s welterweight division.
Good is going to have to be dynamic and unwavering, as his opponent is a real threat on all levels. He is determined to prove that he’s progressed past his sole loss, and to do that, he must hand Hawn’s his first defeat. Hawn, on the other hand, has to take advantage of the pressure on the former champ’s shoulder and mind his own composure. Both are tremendous athletes and fight with an intensity and determination that make this sport a beautiful thing to watch.
Both fighters pose a legitimate threat to not only the rest of the division, but to Champion, Ben Askren. MTV2’s acquisition of Bellator only adds to the exposure winning a grueling tournament such as this can bring. This fight is the next step forward to making their presence at the top-level of MMA known and respected.