A day has been set for Jay Hieron's long-awaited date in the cage with Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren. According to reports from MMA Junkie, the pair will clash on October 29th in Kasas City at Bellator 56.
The event is also slated to hold the semi-finals of season five's heavyweight tournament, per reports from Sherdog. The tournament's opening round is planned for October 1st and features Mark Holata vs. Ron Sparks, Neil Grove vs. Mike Hayes, Blagoi Ivanov vs. Thiago Santos, and Eric Prindle vs. Abe Wagner.
With the announcement, Askren (8-0) is scheduled to defend his title for the first time since claiming it with a five-round decision victory over Lyman Good, earned by his run to the top of season two's welterweight tournament. A two-time NCAA Division I national wrestling champion and a 2008 U.S. Olympian, the 27-year-old has maintained an unblemished record since transitioning into mixed martial arts in 2009. Askren last fought in April at Bellator 40, where he soundly defeated Nick Thompson in a three-round non-title affair.
Across the cage, Hieron (22-4) finally gets the title shot he earned after emerging victorious from season four's welterweight tournament. The 35-year-old Strikeforce and UFC veteran has been on a roll of late, having won ten straight fights since 2007. In total, he holds several notable performances throughout his nine-year career, including victories over Pat Healy, Joe Riggs, and UFC welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger, as well a tough loss to UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.