Hector Lombard and Jared Hess cashed their tickets and earned their way into the first ever Bellator Middleweight world championship bout.
In the first of the two championship semifinals, former Cuban Olympian Hector “Shango” Lombard took out ex-Army Ranger Damien Stelly.
Both fighters came out with hands flying. Lombard gained a mount of Stelly and began a brutal ground and pound which resulted in a referee stoppage.
While Stelly put up a decent defense, the referee stopped the fight via TKO in under three minutes. Lombard now moves on to the middleweight finals.
Oklahoman Jared Hess squuared off against the versatile Yosmany Cabezas. Hess used his ground and pound strategy for nearly the full three rounds while Cabezas consistently looked to find an opening on Hess. Hess took the first two rounds, and Cabezas was showing signs of the punishment he took, the determined Cuban hung on as fists rained down on him. With only 30 seconds left in the match, the referee stopped the contest and awarded the TKO victory to Hess.
Both Hess and Lombard collected the $50,000 purse and now move on to the Bellator Middleweight world championship bout where they face off for the $100,000 grand prize in Hollywood , Florida on June 19th at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
All the Bellator Middleweight semi-final action can be seen on Saturday, May 30, 2009 exclusively on ESPN Deportes and on Bellator.com on Wednesday, June 3, 2009.