Rick Hawn, Ron Keslar step in to Bellator's Season 9 welterweight tournament


rick-hawn-3.jpgWith injuries forcing Matt Riddle and Mark Scanlon out of Bellator MMA’s Season 9 welterweight tournament, Rick Hawn (15-2 MMA, 7-2 BMMA) and Ron Keslar (9-3 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) have stepped in to the bracket’s eight-man field.

Both compete at Friday’s Bellator 100 event, which takes place at Phoenix’s Grand Canyon University Arena and airs on Spike TV. Hawn meets Herman Terrado (11-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) in a welterweight tourney opening round bout, while Keslar faces Luis “Sergio Junior” Melo (29-11-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA).

Bellator officials today announced the change in plans.

“We are only three weeks into our season, and it’s no secret our tournaments have been hit hard with injury,” Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney stated. “With that said, it speaks to the depth we’ve created here to be able to add in talent like Rick Hawn and Ron Keslar less than a week before the fight. This is still an incredibly deep field of talent, and Friday should be a great night of fights.”

Hawn is a former Bellator welterweight tournament finalist who dropped to 155 pounds in a successful bid for the company’s Season 6 lightweight tourney. He faced lightweight champ Michael Chandler in January but was submitted in the second round. He returned to 170 pounds in April and earned a knockout win over Karo Parisyan.

Meanwhile, Keslar is an American Kickboxing Academy product and three-time Strikeforce veteran who fights for the first time under the Bellator banner. He brings a four-fight win streak to the promotion.

With the changes to the lineup, the Bellator 100 card now includes:

MAIN CARD (Spike TV, 9 p.m. ET)

PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike.com, 7:30 p.m. ET)

For the latest on Bellator 100, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.

(Pictured: Rick Hawn)

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