For this semifinal match up, we have the former champion Lyman Good taking on the undefeated Judo Olympian Rick Hawn. Both of these guys went the distance in their quarterfinal fights and gave us a good 15 minutes to assess their current fighting styles at this stage in their careers.
Rick Hawn vs Lyman Good
Lyman Good was able to dominate the striking game in the Lozano fight through the use of a stiff jab and constant pressure. While he didn’t necessarily dominate the first round through effective striking, he was keeping Lozano on the edge of the cage and winning the round through aggression and cage control. That all changed in the second round after a close exchange when they were seperating from the clinch. Lozano kept his head up and ended up getting battered in his left eye. The damage that Lyman was able to do to that left eye changed the entire course of the fight. From then on, Lozano was unable to accurately determine the range of his strikes and started throwing Hail Mary shots and submission attempts while Good kept his distance, stalked, and methodically picked Lozano apart.
Rick Hawn had a similar standup battle with Chris Wallhead. He kept up the pressure, stayed in the pocket, and used a very fast hooking jab to score on Wallhead. All in all, his striking was extremely impressive, especially his defensive head movements. He never left his head up, but always ducked his chin while throwing and rolling his head on the exits. This made it nearly impossible for Wallhead to connect on Hawn. In addition, Hawn used plenty of leg kicks, body combinations, and constant pressure to aggressively take the rounds with not only aggression and cage control but effective striking.
In this match up, Good will hold the size and reach advantage (just like Wallhead did). However, Hawn’s defensive head movement, explosive power, and willingness to keep up the pressure and stay in the pocket could frustrate the former champion. Plus, Hawn has never shown to have a weak chin, so it is unlikely that a lucky power shot from Good is going to end the fight. Instead, look for Hawn to stay in close, constantly moving, and pick at the larger Good over the course of three rounds.
Edge: Rick Hawn
There is no doubt that Rick Hawn will be the dominant fighter in the clinch. While Lyman Good was able to control Lozano against the cage with his size and strength, entering the clinch on the Olympic judoka is a recipe for getting thrown around the cage. While we didn’t see nearly has much Judo throws in the Wallhead fight, Hawn was still controlling the clinch and did get a good throw in round three when Wallhead went for a takedown (and it was lightning fast). Conversely, a desperate Lozano was able to hip throw Good in the final round of their fight, which points to Hawn having a large advantage in the clinch if Good decides to press the action and go there.
Edge: Rick Hawn
Lyman Good has good MMA takedowns, but it is unlikely he is going to be able to takedown the quicker Rick Hawn. Wallhead attempted several takedowns on Hawn and was easily stuffed or thrown everytime. Good had far more success against Lozano, but again, Lozano was in desperation mode at that point and couldn’t really see out of his left eye.
Edge: Rick Hawn
If this fight goes to the ground, the person in top control will have a definitive advantage. Since Hawn will more than likely be the one of top, he have have the slight advantage on the ground. While Good has good reversals and a wicked rear-naked choke, Hawn has a BJJ black belt and a Judo base that makes him very hard to shake or put on his back.
Edge: Slight one for Rick Hawn
Paths to Victory
Rick Hawn will have a size and power disadvantage, but the Wallhead fight was a good prototype for the game plan he needs to have against Good. He needs to use his superior speed and explosive striking to stay in close against Good and pick him apart. At the same time, he needs to be constantly moving and using his head movement to stifle any powershots from the larger former champion. From there, he just needs to use his Judo base to either stuff any takedown attempts, or put Good on his butt every time he presses for the clinch. If he can do that while dominating the cage with aggression and control, this fight is his for the taking.
Lyman Good is going to have a much tougher time winning this fight. He is going to want to use his range and power to suffocate the faster Hawn, but he can’t rely on the clinch and a dirty boxing game to control each round. That puts him at a distinct disadvantage. He can attempt to use his reach to keep Hawn at bay and batter him with power shots from a distance, but Hawn was more than willing to stay in close to Wallhead, and will more than likely move in on Good as well. However, Good could simply assume that he was going to end up on the ground at some point and work towards getting a sweep or reversal and taking Hawn’s back. It won’t be easy, but it may be better than trying to strike with the faster and more explosive Judo fighter.
Setting the Line
This fight will more than likely be fairly close. Both guys have dangerous standup, some sort of takedown skills (whether that is Judo or Western wrestling), and both are very adept on the ground. That being said, Rick Hawn’s dominating Judo skills, coupled with his impressive striking style (courtesy of Mark Dellagrotte) and explosive speed make him the favorite. As such, the lines for this fight should be Rick Hawn at -160 and Lyman Good at +160.