Bellator MMA is in the home stretch of their eighth season as the organization will begin to wrap up their first season on Spike TV over the next three weeks.
Every season, Bellator takes a week off and that happened this past week as the “Road to the Championships” was shown on Thursday night. The show was hosted by Bellator commentator Jimmy Smith and it was a preview of the tournament final bouts that will take place over the next couple of weeks.
The first of five tournament finals to take place over the next three weeks will take place on Thursday night as the long awaited season seven lightweight final will finally take place as Dave Jansen will face Marcin Held.
The fight was originally scheduled to take place at Bellator 84 but the fight had to be re-scheduled since the athletic commission would not led Held compete at the casino, due to his age. The fight was then booked for Bellator 92 on March 7th, but Held suffered a minor injury and the fight will now headline Thursday night’s card. The winner of the bout will be guaranteed a lightweight title shot and could be the next opponent for current lightweight champion Michael Chandler.
Upcoming heavyweight bouts for spots in next tournament?
Along with the lightweight final, the Bellator 93 card will feature two heavyweight fights with Brett Rogers meeting Eric Prindle and Travis Wiuff moving up to the heavyweight divsion to face Ryan Martinez.
On the Bellator website, they are listed as heavyweight feature bouts. Even though he seems logical that the winners would get a spot into the next tournament, sources have told me that these are not considered tournament qualifying bouts.
With Bellator not having a deep heavyweight division, I would imagine that the winners of the upcoming heavyweight bouts will land spots in the next tournament.
Bellator will likely announce the next heavyweight tournament in the coming months and fighters that would appear likely to appear in the tournament could include Rich Hale, Thiago Santos and Josh Appelt.
Lightweight and Light Heavyweight Finals set for Bellator 94
Earlier last week, Bellator made it official as the lightweight and light heavyweight finals will take place at Bellator 94 on March 28th from Tampa.
According to the Bellator press release, the Bellator 94 card will only have three fights on the main card and the main event will be the lightweight final between Saad Awad and David Rickels.
The preliminary card will feature two women’s bouts and one of the bouts will feature Jessica Aguilar, who is considered the top women’s 115 pound fighter in the round. With Aguilar being a top fighter, it was surprising to see that Bellator has her on the preliminary card and not on the main card on Spike TV.
Season Eight Finale set with title fight and tournament finals
The season eight finale will take place on April 4th at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City and the main card on Spike TV will have a title fight and two tournament finals.
Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran will make his second title defense of 2013 as he is challenged by season seven tournament winner Shahbulat Shamhalaev.
The card will also see the featherweight final as Frodo Khasbulaev meets Mike Richman and the middleweight final between Doug Marshall and Brett Cooper. Along with those three fights, the preliminary card is stacked with local fighter and former Bellator welterweight champion Lyman Good.
I will be at Bellator 94 and Bellator 95 and will have pre and post fight interviews with the fighters and Bellator MMA Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney. After Bellator 95, the organization will take a small break before returning for the Summer Series, which will begin in June.