(PRESS RELEASE) Newport Beach, CA. – The Toughest Tournament in Sports continues as The Finals of the $100,000 Lightweight and Light Heavyweight Tournaments will be decided as Bellator MMA returns the Sunshine State March 28th from The University of South Florida’s Sun Dome live on Spike TV, as well in Spanish language on mun2. The night will also feature the Florida return on fan favorite and World’s #1 ranked 115 pounder Jessica “Jag” Aguilar.

Tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, by visiting the Sun Dome Box Office and at all Ticketmaster outlets including Wal-Mart. Ticket prices range from $30 – $120.

Only 24, “The Caveman” David Rickels enters the Lightweight Tournament Finals with his sights set on that $100,000 Tournament prize. Known for his tenacious, grinding style, Rickels is fully aware of what his challenger brings to the table.

“I’ve got all the respect in the world for Saad,” Rickels said. “The guy has two huge knockouts in this tournament, but not too many men have been able to stand with the Caveman, and that’s not going to change March 28th.”

Calling Awad’s two knockouts “huge” may be an understatement, as the California native has spent just 74 seconds inside the Bellator cage this season with first round finishes over Guillaume DeLorenzi and Will Brooks. With both challengers bringing a frenetic pace to the cage, fireworks should be in order March 28th.

The Light Heavyweight Finals are set as a pair of giant slayers enter the cage as Mikhail Zayats, the proud owner of a TKO victory over MMA legend Babalu Sobral battles “The Hardcore Kid” Emanuel Newton, who punched his ticket to the finals with a spinning back fist victory over tournament favorite King Mo.

“I shocked the world once, and I’ll do it again March 28th,” Newton said. “After this tournament, everyone is going to know who Emanuel Newton is, and I’m going to be coming for that belt.”

For Aguilar, the 14-4 submission ace brings an impressive resume into the Sun Dome with victories over Megumi Fujii, Carla Esparza and Lisa Ellis. With a five-fight win streak in place, the veteran Aguilar is looking to keep the momentum going with a victory over Patricia Vidonic March 28th.

“Bellator is my home and I can’t wait to get back into the cage in front of all my friends, family and fans and continue to show the world I’m the best female fighter on the planet,” Aguilar said.

The full card for Bellator MMA’s March 28th event is below:

MAIN CARD:
Lightweight Tournament Finals: David Rickels vs. Saad Awad
Light Heavyweight Tournament Finals: Emanuel Newton vs. Mikhail Zayats
Welterweight Feature Fight: Luis Melo vs. Trey Houston

PRELIMINARY CARD:
Featherweight Feature Fight: Joe Taimanglo vs. Shah Bobonis
Female Feature Fight: Felice Herrig vs. Heather Clark
Female Feature Fight: Jessica Aguilar vs. Patricia Vidonic
Heavyweight Feature Fight: Rob Horton vs. Augusto Sakai
Lightweight Feature Fight: Bruno Carvalho vs. Edson Berto
Welterweight Feature Fight: Ivan Devalle vs. Rory Shallcross
Lightweight Feature Fight: Patrick Cenoble vs. Tony Fryklund
Welterweight Feature Fight: Julien Williams vs. Kenny Moss

(PRESS RELEASE) Newport Beach, CA. – After a dominating run through The Toughest Tournament In Sports with three knockouts in his three tournament fights, explosive Russian striker Shahbulat Shamhalaev has earned his title shot and will battle reigning Bellator Featherweight World Champion Pat CurranThursday, April 4th inside Atlantic City’s Revel Casino live on Spike.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com and by calling 800-745-3000. The Main Card will broadcast LIVE starting at 10 p.m. EST on Spike, as well as in Spanish language on mun2. The preliminary card will be streamed LIVE and FREE on Spike.com, with doors to event opening at 6:30pm EST.

“When Daniel went down with his injury, I reached out to Shahbulat and his manager to see if he was ready for this fight, and without hesitation his answer was yes,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “After watching Shahbulat’s run through our last tournament, I couldn’t think of a better fight to end our season than Curran-Shahbulat on April 4th.”

After a hand injury forced Daniel Straus off the card, Shamhalaev steps in after collecting three knockout victories en route to a $100,000 Tournament prize and a title shot against the top ranked Curran. Armed with a devastating right hand and some of the quickest hands in the sport, “The Assassin” is ready for a quick turnaround April 4th.

“All the work I’ve put in has been for this moment, and I couldn’t be happier to give all the Atlantic City fans a show on April 4th,” Shahbulat said. “Pat Curran is a really tough competitor, but I know what I have to do to get the belt and become Bellator’s new Featherweight Champion.”

Widely regarded as one of the top two  featherweights in the world, Curran brings a dominating 18-4 record into his latest title defense, including victories over Patricio Pitbull, Marlon Sandro, Roger Huerta, and Mike Ricci. While the reigning Bellator Champ had his original sights set on Straus, Curran is well aware of the challenges at hand April 4th with Shamhalaev.

“He’s a great counter striker, as am I, and I see a lot of openings with Shabulat,” Curran said. “Shabulat brings one punch knockout power, and with my style, it’s going to be a swing for fences fight. This is my second fight this season, and I couldn’t ask for more. I love staying active, and Bellator has provided that for me.”

The night will also feature the return of New York native and former Bellator Welterweight World Champion as Lyman Good battles Renzo Gracie product and fellow New Yorker Dante Rivera. Both have strong followings in the Tri-State area and should have a strong show of support inside Revel.

Currently ranked as the world’s top ranked 125 pound female fighter, Jessica “Evil” Eye returns to the Bellator cage when she takes on Tiger Schulmann’s own Munah Holland on April 4th live on Spike TV. Eye is coming off the biggest win of her young career with a dominating performance over Zoila Gurgel and is looking to keep the momentum with another victory.

“As a woman in this sport you’re given very little, so that’s why when I fight we always need to deliver,” Eye said. “I think Munah is a great fighter and have always admired her striking ability, but I won’t let my admiration stand in front of my determination. This is my golden year, and this fight is just the beginning.”

The preliminary card will be highlighted with a middleweight showdown between New Jersey star Tom DeBlass and New York native Carlos Brooks as the two look to collect their first Bellator victory. After announcing his retirement in 2012, DeBlass has returned to the cage and will make his highly anticipated return April 4th inside Revel.

“I’m very excited to be fighting for Bellator right in my backyard,” DeBlass said. “All of my friends, family, students, and many fans will get to see me live. I’m coming back and making a statement, you can count on that.”

The full card for Bellator MMA from Revel on April 4th is below:

MAIN CARD:

Bellator Featherweight World Title Fight: Pat Curran vs. Shahbulat Shamhalaev

Bellator Middleweight Tournament Finals: TBD vs. TBD

Women’s Feature Fight: Jessica Eye vs. Munah Holland

Welterweight Feature Fight: Lyman Good vs. Dante Rivera

 

PRELIMINARY CARD:

Catchweight Feature Fight (140 lbs.): Jimmie Riveravs. Brian Kelleher

Welterweight Feature Fight: Sam Oropeza vs. Shedrick Goodridge

Lightweight Feature Fight: Phillipe Nover vs. Darrell Horcher

Middleweight Feature Fight: Tom DeBlass vs. Carlos Brooks

Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Liam McGeary vs. Anton Talamantes

Featherweight Feature Fight: Will Martinez vs. Michael Phillips

Featherweight Feature Fight: Brylan Van Artsdalen vs. Brett Martinez

This time last year, the thought of seeing women fight on the biggest stage in the world inside the UFC’s Octagon was a mere pipe dream, but that pipe dream became a reality when Ronda Rousey defeated Liz Carmouche in the main event at UFC 157 last weekend in what was the first women’s fight in UFC history. The bout garnered much mainstream attention, due in large part to Rousey, who is billed as the triple threat of women’s MMA: talented, beautiful, and charismatic. Rousey received the toughest test of her career against the former Marine Carmouche, but she was still able to lock in one of her patented armbar submissions to claim her seventh first round victim with the tendon-snapping hold in as many tries. Rousey cemented her spot atop the women’s 135-pound rankings, but the book is out on who the next challenger to her throne will be.

In the co-main event at UFC 157, light heavyweight Lyoto Machida earned a split decision over Dan Henderson in a No. 1 contender’s matchup that featured awkward exchanges for nearly the entire 15-minute length of the fight. Machida used his unorthodox karate style to keep Henderson guessing and mainly swinging at air, but Henderson was always pressing forward and landed a takedown in the third frame to make it close. Machida is now likely to earn a light heavyweight title shot with the win, potentially setting up a rematch between him and current champion Jon Jones. Former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber submitted Ivan Menjivar with a rear naked choke in the first round, snapping a 1-2 skid for the popular fighter. Other main card winners were Court McGee and Robbie Lawler, who successfully made his return to the UFC with an upset victory over Josh Koscheck via first round TKO.

On the preliminary card, winners were heavyweight Brendan Schaub, lightweights Mike Chiesa and Sam Stout, welterweights Kenny Robertson, Neil Magny, and Nah-Shon Burrell, featherweight Dennis Bermudez. End-of-night bonuses of $50,000 went to Lawler (knockout of the night), Robertson (submission of the night), and Bermudez and Matt Grice (fight of the night).

Bellator provides exciting card

Bellator put on one of its most entertaining shows in recent memory last Thursday night, as Bellator 90 featured a string of bone-jarring knockouts and exciting finishes. Welterweights Ben Saunders and Douglas Lima punched tickets to meet in the Season 8 tournament finals, as Saunders flattened Raul Amaya with a head kick knockout and Lima stopped Bryan Baker with a knockout punch. Light heavyweight Emanuel Newton made headlines with his spinning backfist knockout over heavy tournament favorite “King” Mo Lawal, and he’ll take on Mikhail Zayats in the tournament final, who submitted Jacob Noe with an armbar in the other semifinal. Featherweight Shah Shamhalaev capped off the night in fitting fashion, as he knocked out Rad Martinez with a punch in the second frame to earn a shot at Bellator’s 145-pound title down the line.

TUF 17 rolls on

The Ultimate Fighter 17 tournament rolled on during last week’s episode, as Kevin Gastelum upset early favorite Bubba McDaniel to advance into the tournament’s quarterfinals later in the season. The member of Team Chael Sonnen upset the Team Jon Jones fighter despite being outsized and drastically lacking in experience.

 

(PRESS RELEASE) Newport Beach, CA. – All eyes will be on Bellator March 21st as the Lightweight and Welterweight Tournaments are decided as submission ace and Polish phenom Marcin Held takes on Dave Jansen in the long awaited $100,000 Lightweight Tournament Final, while the final two Season 8 Welterweight participants square off for their guaranteed title shot, live on Spike TV.

Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased at TheColisee.com, the Androscoggin Bank Colisee Box Office or by phone by dialing 207-783-2009. Tickets range from $40-$125. The event will broadcast LIVE starting at 10 p.m. EST on Spike, as well as in Spanish language on mun2. The preliminary card will be streamed LIVE and FREE on Spike.com starting at 7:30 p.m. EST.

Only 20 and holding an impressive 15-2 record, polish phenom Marcin Held stormed through the opening rounds of the lightweight tournament, collecting explosive victories over Murad Machaev and longtime MMA veteran Rich Clementi. Known across the MMA landscape as one of the top submission artists in the sport, Held is a victory away from capturing his first Bellator Tournament crown and a guaranteed title shot.

For Jansen, the charismatic lightweight enters the Bellator Finals riding a five fight win streak and is fully prepared for the test that awaits him on March 21st, in what undoubtedly be the biggest fight of his career.

“I’ve had a lot of time to work on my game plan and really focus on this fight on March 21st,” Jansen said. “Marcin has the total package when it comes to submissions, so I know what I need to focus on to win this fight, and get a shot at the Bellator title.”

The night will also feature a collection of heavyweights, as Brett “Da Grim” Rogers returns to the Bellator cage to take on Eric Prindle. After suffering a broken arm in his fight with eventual Bellator Heavyweight Champion Alexander Volkov, Rogers is ready for a shot at redemption on March 21st.

“I am looking forward to getting back in the Bellator cage and a chance to fight on Spike TV,” Rogers said. “In my last fight I broke my forearm but I am fully recovered, training at American Top Team and this time the only thing breaking will be my opponent.  Now that I am at ATT I am a new and smarter fighter.”

Longtime veteran Travis Wiuff also returns, this time at heavyweight to battle Colorado native Ryan Martinez. Previously fighting at heavyweight, Wiuff is now at his more natural weight, and looking to continue his illustrious career that has seen him compile an astonishing 68-16 record.

The preliminaries will be headlined by Maine native and fan favorite Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis taking on Waachiim Spiritwolf in a welterweight affair. Davis has found a home in Bellator, and looking to put on a show against Spiritwolf in his promotional debut.

“Having the chance to fight for a promotion like Bellator in front of my friends, family and fans is a dream come true,” Davis said. “It’s great to find a new home and fight for one of the biggest promotions in the world.”

The full card for Bellator MMA from Lewiston, Maine can be found below:

MAIN CARD:

Lightweight Tournament Finals Fight: Dave Jansen vs. Marcin Held

Welterweight Tournament Finals Fight: TBD vs. TBD

Heavyweight Feature Fight: Ryan Martinez vs. Travis Wiuff

Heavyweight Feature Fight: Brett Rogers vs. Eric Prindle

 

PRELIMINARY CARD:

Welterweight Feature Fight: Waachiim Spiritwolf vs. Marcus Davis

Featherweight Feature Fight: Vince Murdock vs. John Raio

Welterweight Feature Fight: Ryan Sanders vs. Michael Page

Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Brent Dillingham vs. Mike Mucitelli

Middleweight Feature Fight: Luc Bondole vs. Joe Pacheco

Middleweight Feature Fight: Jason Butcher vs. Jack Hermansson

Middleweight Feature Fight: Dave Vitkay vs. Jesse Peterson

Lightweight Feature Fight: Jesse Erickson vs. Jon Lemke

(PRESS RELEASE) Newport Beach, CA. – After an incredibly successful Southern California debut on January 17thBellator MMA will bring a stacked night of fights to Temecula’s  Pechanga Resort and Casino on March 7th live on Spike TV. The night will showcase the Featherweight and Middleweight Tournament Semifinals as The Toughest Tournament in Sports continues, as well as a collection of Southern California’s best talent.

Tickets for the event start at just $40, and can be purchased by visiting Pechanga.comBellator.com, or by calling the Pechanga Box Office at 877-711-2946 or visiting between noon and 8pm daily. The event has an early start time as the first fight enters the cage at 5:00 p.m. with the LIVE worldwide television broadcast starting at 7 p.m. PST on Spike TV, as well as in Spanish language on mun2. The preliminary card will be streamed LIVE and FREE on Spike.com starting at 5 p.m. MST.

“Our sold out premiere event in Southern California last month showed that this market is a great one for Bellator LIVE on Spike,” said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney.  “To bring our second California event to the crown jewel of Southern California casinos, Pechanga is absolutely icing on the cake and to have such a loaded card just makes this that much better.”

The night will kick off with a Middleweight Tournament Semifinal as Southern California’s own Doug “The Rhino” Marshall returns to his roots as he looks to keep his knockout streak alive when he battles Sultan Aliev live on Spike. Known for pushing a frenetic pace and keeping his opponents on their heels, Marshall has his sights set on punching his ticket to the finals.

“Winning the tournament will validate me – again – and put me where I need to be, back at the top of the food chain, with a target on my back,” Marshall said. “Ain’t no more hunting – the game’s going to come to me. It’s going to be huge.”

After collecting a hard fought win over tournament and fan favorite Brian Rogers in the Bellator Middleweight Quarterfinals, Dan Cramer is set to face the heavy handed Brett “Fudoshin” Cooper, who has collected 11 knockouts in his 18 professional wins. Finally getting his chance to shine inside a Bellator Tournament, Cramer will look to keep the momentum going with a win on March 7th.

Featherweights collide as Mike “The Marine” Richman and Alexandre “PoPo” Bezerra are set to meet in a clash of two of the most explosive featherweights in the division. With a combined 29-2 record between the two, both veterans are looking to use their wealth of experience for a chance at the $100,000 Tournament prize.

Widely considered one of the best featherweights in the world, Marlon Sandro is ready to continue his quest towards a title shot as he takes on Russian submission artist Magomedrasul “Frodo” Khasbulaev live on Spike TV.

“I am so fortunate to have the chance to fight in the toughest tournament in the world,” Sandro said. “This is my opportunity to show the world what I can do and I am ready to finish at the top.”

The full card for Bellator’s March 7th event from Southern California’s Pechanga Resort & Casino can be found below:

 

MAIN CARD:

Middleweight Tournament Semifinal Fight: Sultan Aliev vs. Doug “Rhino” Marshall

Middleweight Tournament Semifinal Fight: Dan Cramer vs. Brett Cooper

Featherweight Tournament Semifinal Fight: Alexandre “Popo” Bezerra vs. Mike Richman

Featherweight Tournament Semifinal Fight: Frodo Khasbulaev vs. Marlon Sandro

 

PRELIMINARY CARD:

Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Rocky Ramierz vs. Brandon Halsey

Featherweight Feature Fight: Shad Smith vs. Aaron Miller

Heavyweight Feature Fight: Maurice Jackson vs. Manny Lara

Middleweight Feature Fight: Willie Parks vs. Keith Berry

Welterweight Feature Fight: Sabah Homasi vs. Ricky Legere

Featherweight Feature Fight: Eric Uresk vs. Cleber Luciano

(PRESS RELEASE) Newport Beach, CA. – As reigning Bellator MMA Light Heavyweight Champion Christian M’Pumbu prepares to defend his title against dominating Slovakian finisher Attila Vegh on February 28th, nine additional fights have been set as Bellator MMA travels to Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Santa Ana Star Center live on Spike TV.

Tickets for the event are on sale now and range from $25-$90. Tickets can be purchased at ComcastTix.comBellator.com or by visiting The Santa Ana Star Center box office. The event will broadcast LIVE starting at 8 p.m. MST on Spike, as well as in Spanish language on mun2. The preliminary card will be streamed LIVE and FREE on Spike.com starting at 6 p.m. MST.

The night will feature the Semifinals of Bellator MMA’s Lightweight Tournament as “The Caveman” David Rickels looks to keep the momentum going with a win over tournament newcomer Jason Fischer, who replaces an injured Tiger Sarnavskiy. With a combined 18-2 record between the two, both veterans are looking to punch their ticket to the Finals and capture their $100,000 Tournament prize.

The other side of the bracket will feature Chicago’s Will Brooks, who brings his spotless 9-0 record to the Bellator cage as he meets Saad Awad, who collected a huge quarterfinal victory with a vicious first round knockout earlier this season. For Brooks, the chance to continue through The Toughest Tournament in Sports and lock up his title shot is the only thing on the 26 year olds mind.

“This is what I’ve been working so hard for my entire career, and I just have to continue on this path and make my mark on the division and Bellator,” Brooks said. “Saad is a tough guy, but with my wrestling base and skills, I know what I have to do to get the win and just continue onto the Finals.”

Longtime Bellator veteran and Arizona native Ed “Wild” West is back and gunning for victory as he takes on Santa Fe’s own Josh Montoya in a bantamweight affair. A fan favorite wherever he fights, West is counting down the days until his Bellator return on February 28th.

“I just want to get back in that cage and remind everyone again what “Wild” West is all about,” West said. “I always like to put on a show, and nothing is going to change on February 28th.”

The night will also feature a collection of preliminary card action full of New Mexcio’s best talent, held in conjunction with Orthrus Promotions. 18-time world boxing champion Holly Holm will make her long awaited Bellator debut as the Albuquerque native will battle Katie Merrill at 135 pounds. Known across combat sports as one of the greatest female boxers of all time, Holm is looking to make a statement in her Bellator debut.

The full card for Bellator MMA from Albuquerque’s Santa Ana Star Center can be found below:

 

MAIN CARD:

Bellator MMA Light Heavyweight Title Fight: Christian M’Pumbu vs. Attila Vegh

Lightweight Tournament Semifinal Fight: Jason Fischer vs. David Rickels

Lightweight Tournament Semifinal Fight: Saad Awad vs. Will Brooks

Bantamweight Feature Fight: Ed West vs. Josh Montoya

PRELIMINARY CARD:

Women’s Feature Fight: Holly Holm vs. Katie Merrill

Lightweight Feature Fight: Blas Avena vs. Lenny Lovato

Middleweight Feature Fight: BrennanWard vs. Vadiano La Luz

Bantamweight Feature Fight: Russell Wilson vs. Felipe Chavez

Heavyweight Feature Fight: Josh Appelt vs. Josh Lanier

Bantamweight Feature Fight: Adrian Cruz vs. Nick Gonzalez

(PRESS RELEASE) Newport Beach, CA. – After suffering a hand injury in his Bellator Lightweight Quarterfinal victory, Tiger Sarnavskiy will be replaced in the Season 8 Lightweight Tournament by Michigan native Jason “The Finisher” Fischer. The Lightweight Tournament continues February 28th from New Mexico’s Santa Ana Star Center.

Tickets for the event are on sale and range from $25-$90. Tickets can be purchased at ComcastTix.comBellator.com or by visiting The Santa Ana Star Center box office. The event will broadcast LIVE starting at 8 p.m. MST on Spike, as well as in Spanish language on mun2. The preliminary card will be streamed LIVE and FREE on Spike.com starting at 6 p.m. MST.

If getting a chance to fight for a $100,000 Tournament prize wasn’t enough, Fischer will now have the chance to avenge the only loss of his young career as the submission ace will meet David “The Caveman” Rickels in semifinal action. The two met in November of 2012, with Rickels escaping with a unanimous decision win.

“This is a huge opportunity for me,” Fischer said. “I feel like I’ve put in a ton of hard work and this is the time for all that work to pay off. You never like to see any fighter go down with an injury, but when the phone call came in, I jumped at the opportunity. My loss to Rickels still bothers me, and I’m looking to wipe the slate clean with a big win on February 28th.”

The night will also feature the undefeated Will Brooks taking on the explosive Saad Awad for a spot in the Bellator Lightweight Tournament Finals, while reigning Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Christian M’Pumbu battles Attila Vegh for the title.

(PRESS RELEASE) Newport Beach, CA – After nearly five years in the making, Bellator MMA made its long awaited debut on Spike TV in January as  Bellator Featherweight Champion Pat Curran opened the night with a dominant win over star Brazilian striker Patricio Pitbull, reaching over 1.2 million viewers in the process. On April 4th, Bellator will close out its eighth season from Ovation Hall at Revel in Atlantic City, NJ as Curran once again puts his Bellator Featherweight Title on the line against relentless Daniel Straus live on Spike TV. The night will also feature the return of Tiger Schulmann products Lyman Good and Munah Holland, as well as the Bellator debut of New Jersey fan favorite Tom DeBlass.

Tickets go on sale Friday, February 8th at 10 a.m. at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com and by calling 800-745-3000. The Main Card will broadcast LIVE starting at 10 p.m. EST on Spike, as well as in Spanish language on mun2. The preliminary card will be streamed LIVE and FREE on Spike.com, with doors to event opening at 6:30pm EST.

Widely regarded as one of the top two  featherweights in the world, Curran brings a dominating 18-4 record into his latest title defense, including victories over Marlon Sandro, Roger Huerta, Mike Ricci, and Straus himself, as Curran collected a knock out win over Straus early in both of their careers. Even with the victory over Straus in his back pocket, Curran is well aware both fighters have grown tremendously over the last four years.

“This may end up being the most challenging fight I’ve faced up this point,” Curran said. “Daniel is going to make for a very tough challenge, but I know what I’m capable of. I feel like I’m always growing as a fighter, and the sky is really the limit for me. I’ve got the belt, and I’m not letting anyone take it away from me.”

Currently riding a five fight win streak into his April 4th showdown, Straus brings a suffocating fight style into the cage that always presents a unique challenge to his opponents. While that fact won’t change at Revel Resort & Casino, Straus is cognizant of the magnitude this title fight brings.

“Fighting for the Bellator Featherweight Title against Pat just signifies how my career has come full circle,” Straus said. “It was my loss to Pat that motivated me to become a better fighter. Now I get to see how much better I’ve actually gotten. Getting a chance to show my skills on Spike TV is a huge opportunity for me.  The stage keeps getting bigger and the viewers and eyes are growing.  I welcome the challenge to perform well in front of millions against one of the world’s best featherweights.  I feel I have a lot to provide in this fight and I intend on doing so.”

“We’re incredibly excited to be able to bring Bellator MMA to a world class venue like Revel,” said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. “This fight card is going to be a great way to close out our first season on Spike TV and I couldn’t think of a better place to host it than a classic fight town like Atlantic City.”

The night will also feature the return of New York native and former Bellator Welterweight World Champion as Lyman Good battles Renzo Gracie product and fellow New Yorker Dante Rivera. Both have strong followings in the Tri-State area and should have a strong show of support inside Revel.

Currently ranked as the world’s top ranked 125 pound female fighter, Jessica “Evil” Eye returns to the Bellator cage when she takes on Tiger Schulmann’s own Munah Holland on April 4th live on Spike TV. Eye is coming off the biggest win of her young career with a dominating performance over Zoila Gurgel and is looking to keep the momentum with another victory.

“As a woman in this sport you’re given very little, so that’s why when I fight we always need to deliver,” Eye said. “I think Munah is a great fighter and have always admired her striking ability, but I won’t let my admiration stand in front of my determination. This is my golden year, and this fight is just the beginning.”

The preliminary card will be highlighted with a middleweight showdown between New Jersey star Tom DeBlass and New York native Carlos Brooks as the two look to collect their first Bellator victory. After announcing his retirement in 2012, DeBlass has returned to the cage and will make his highly anticipated return April 4th inside Revel.

“I’m very excited to be fighting for Bellator right in my backyard,” DeBlass said. “All of my friends, family, students, and many fans will get to see me live. I’m coming back and making a statement, you can count on that.”

(PRESS RELEASE) Newport Beach, CA. – After nearly capturing his first Bellator MMA Welterweight Tournament crown, “The Beast” Bryan Baker will get another shot at glory when he replaces an injured Brent Weedman in the Season 8 Bellator MMA Welterweight Tournament on February 21st from Utah’s Maverik Center live on Spike TV. Baker will face “The Phenom” Douglas Lima, while Ben “Killa B’ Saunders takes on fellow Florida native Raul Amaya for a spot in the Welterweight Tournament Finals.

Tickets for the event start as low as $40 and can be purchased by visiting Ticketmaster.comBellator.com and the Maverik Center Box Office. The event will broadcast LIVE starting at 8 p.m. MST on Spike, as well as in Spanish language on mun2. The preliminary card will be streamed LIVE and FREE on Spike.comstarting at 6 p.m. MST.

Only 27, Baker brings a wealth of experience to the cage, compiling an 18-4 record in his impressive career including victories over Ben Saunders, Jeremy Horn, Joe Riggs and Matt Horwich. Already a veteran of The Toughest Tournament in Sports, “The Beast” is fully aware of what’s at stake.

“When I got the call, I was ready to rock & roll,” Baker said. “I look at this opportunity as an absolute blessing. With our new child in the picture, this is an opportunity to make my family proud, show everyone what I’ve been working on, and let The Beast go at it like he always does. Douglas is a strong, powerful guy but I’m going to use my reach advantage and show my strength. This is my destiny.”

“You never like to see anyone suffer an injury, especially a quarterfinal winner, but when we learned of Brent’s injury, Bryan was the first guy we had in mind, and like a true professional he jumped at the opportunity,” said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney.

The night will also feature a $100,000 Featherweight Tournament Finals fight between Utah’s Own Rad Martinez battles the dynamic Russian striker Shahbulat Shamhalaev, while King Mo battles “The Hardcore Kid” Emanuel Newton for a spot in the Light Heavyweight Finals.

Typically you’d think that a night filled with upsets would be exciting and have you on the edge of your seat, but the UFC 156 main card was anything but. Despite the fact that two fairly large upsets were pulled off in the form of two Brazilians who snatched potential title shots away, the main card was just mediocre. Four out of five main card winners were Brazilian, including featherweight champion Jose Aldo, who successfully defended his title against Frankie Edgar in a competitive bout. Aldo appeared to be on his way to a rout in the first two rounds, but Edgar remained resilient and won the next two rounds to make it even going into the fifth. Aldo showed his champion’s spirit, however, doing just enough to win the fifth round and defend his title. For Edgar, it was his third loss in a row – two for the lightweight title and one for the featherweight title. For their back-and-forth fight, Aldo and Edgar claimed the $50,000 bonus for “fight of the night.”

In the co-main event, light heavyweight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira potentially snatched a title shot away from former champion Rashad Evans, who had talked about the potential of dropping to middleweight to challenge champion Anderson Silva if he earned a win over Nogueira. The win was not to be, however, as Nogueira used superior boxing to outpoint Evans in a three round affair. The upset of the night came when Antonio Silva knocked out former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem in the third round. Overeem was next in line for a heavyweight title shot with a win, but Silva threw a wrench into those plans with yet another one of the monstrous upsets that have come to define his career. Silva earned the $50,000 “knockout of the night” bonus.

Other main card winners were welterweight Demian Maia and flyweight Joseph Benavidez. On the preliminary card, Bobby Green earned the “submission of the night” for his rear naked choke victory over Jacob Volkmann, and other preliminary winners were Evan Dunham, Tyron Woodley, Isaac Vallie-Flagg, Dustin Kimura, and Francisco Rivera.

Lightweights excite at Bellator 87

Bellator returned for yet another event last Thursday, and the lightweights took center stage during the 155-pound quarterfinals at Bellator 87. Despite a lack of star power on the card, the fighters delivered an entertaining event. Former welterweight David Rickels was able to defeat Lloyd Woodard in the main event, as he moved on to his first lightweight tournament semifinal. Other semifinalists are unbeaten American Will Brooks, late replacement Saad Awad, and Russian Alexander Sarnavskiy. Bellator returns this week with a middleweight title fight between Alexander Shlemenko and Maiquel Falcao.

Barnatt advances on TUF 17

On The Ultimate Fighter 17, Luke Barnatt became the first fighter to advance into the quarterfinals with his second round TKO win over Gilbert Smith. The 6’6” Brit was too lanky for the 5’9” Smith, who also appeared to be drastically outmatched in the skills department…the show returns this week with Uriah Hall in action.

Quick Hits

Despite rumors of the contrary, the UFC reported that main event winner Vitor Belfort didn’t fail his UFC on FX 7 post-fight drug test…UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture signed a deal with Viacom and will act as a coach on the upcoming Bellator reality show.

Rumor Mill

Daniel Cormier will likely earn the next title shot against his teammate Cain Velasquez with a win over Frank Mir at UFC on FOX 7, despite him saying he’d rather drop to light heavyweight to face Jon Jones…Lightweight No. 1 contender Anthony Pettis could drop to featherweight and be Jose Aldo’s next title challenger…with his win at Legacy FC 17, Dan Hornbuckle could sign with the UFC…with an overfull roster, the UFC will likely be cutting at least 2-3 fighters after each event for the next few months…Marcus Davis’ Bellator 93 opponent has been rumored to be Paul Daley…Insider source: contract for Rashad Evans vs. Anderson Silva was “already drawn up” prior to his loss to Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 156; Chris Weidman will now likely get the shot despite Silva’s desire to not fight the up and comer…Expect Bellator to hold at least one event in either Brazil or Russia this summer…The Canadian Score Fighting Series has likely folded, according to reports…Expect the UFC to add a 115-pound division as early as 2014.

By David McKinney (@MMAMcKinney)

ProFightingFans.com Editor