(Jim Wallhead vs. Marius Buzinskas, 9/5/09)
Bellator’s second season is slated to kick off on April 8th, and while there are still many questions yet to be answered — will the weight classes be different this time? will last year’s champions re-enter the brackets, or will they only be used for one-off title fights? — a cluster of recent reports suggest that the 2010 welterweight tournament will be stacked with talented fight-finishers. Among the 170-pounders who have reportedly signed on are…
Dan Hornbuckle (19-2): The Indiana native captured our attention this year with memorable knockouts of Akihiro Gono and Nick Thompson in Sengoku. 18 of his 19 victories have come by stoppage. He has a black belt in intensity.
Ben Askren (3-0): He’s a rookie in the MMA scene, but Askren comes from an incredibly decorated amateur wrestling background that culminated in a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team. All three of his wins came via first-round stoppage.
Jim Wallhead (18-5): One of the U.K.’s hottest prospects, Wallhead is a Team Rough House member and Judo ace who has won his last six matches, and holds victories over Che Mills, Fabricio Nascimento, and Jason Tan. Wallhead was reportedly turned away from TUF 9 for being too experienced.
Steve Carl (10-1): Carl is a 25-year-old Army sergeant who has served in Iraq; he took up MMA while stationed in Fort Hood. He’s won his last six appearances, and eight of his ten wins have come by stoppage. Carl was being pursued by the UFC before signing with Bellator, which he described as "just a better opportunity for me."
Jacob McClintock (6-0): A 21-year-old up-and-comer from Arizona Combat Sports, McClintock has finished all of his opponents in the first round. "Tick Tock" holds a second-degree black belt in jiu-jitsu.
Last year’s Bellator welterweight champ was IFL/Ring of Combat vet Lyman Good (10-0), who made a name for himself by slashing through Hector Urbina in April, Jorge Ortiz in May, and Omar De La Cruz in June. Will we see Good entering the tournament to throw down against the newcomers?