Jay Hieron, right, defeated Rick Hawn at Bellator 43 to...

Jay Hieron, right, defeated Rick Hawn at Bellator 43 to win the Season 4 welterweight tournament at First Council Casino in Newkirk, Okla. (May 7, 2011) Credit: Bellator/Eric Coleman

Jay Hieron finally got what he wanted, a chance to fight again for a title in a mixed martial arts promotion. No more politics, no more collapsing promotions, no more anything else that could get in his way. He earned this title shot the old-fashioned way -- he fought his way into contention for it.

It just didn't end the way he anticipated it would.

Hieron outboxed his opponent, welterweight champion Ben Askren, but was outwrestled and lost a split decision at Bellator 56 in Kansas City, Mo., on Saturday night. All three judges scored the fight 48-47, with Askren winning on two of the judges' scorecards.

"I think I won the fight," Hieron said. "Let's do it again."

Hieron, who wrestled at both Freeport High School and Hofstra University in the 1990s, was dominated in both rounds two and four by Askren (9-0), a former Olympic wrestler. Once he got Hieron (22-5) to the ground 40 seconds in the second round,  that's where that round remained. On the ground. Askren dominated Hieron, mixing in punches to the head, knees to the body and all-around body control.

The fourth round was similar for Askren, who from a traditional wrestler's top position, landed knee after knee to Hieron's right side. With each knee, the crowd "ooohed" like a pro wrestler when he gets his head rammed into a turnbuckle repeatedly.

For all the talking that went on between these two Bellator fighters in the weeks leading up to this bout, it played out exactly as most expected. When Askren got the fight to the ground, he dominated. When Hieron kept the fight standing, he dominated, including a quick knockdown by uppercut in the first round and another knockdown in the fifth round via spinning back kick to the Askren's midsection.

The third round seemed to be the harder round to determine a clear winner. Hence, the split decision and the end to Hieron's 10-fight win streak.

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