Vinicius Spartan out of heavyweight tournament with knee injury, Rich Hale now faces Ryan Martinez

The semifinal round of the Bellator heavyweight tournament will begin tomorrow night at Bellator 96 and the organization has made a change to one of the semifinal bouts due to an injury. Bellator 96

Bellator MMA Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney announced on Twitter that Vinicius “Spartan” Quieroz has been forced to pull out of his tournament fight against Rich Hale and replacing Spartan would be Ryan Martinez.

“Ryan’s a huge potential player in our HW division,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “We had him slotted for our next HW tournament, but paid him to be here and make weight as if he was going to fight, just for this reason.  And, his back to back camps with Mo and Roy have him ready for tomorrow night’s fight.” has been able to confirm that Spartan pulled out of the fight with a knee injury and it’s unknown how long he will be out of action.

Martinez (9-2) was the alternate tournament fighter and has gone 2-1 in Bellator. He is a training partner of UFC heavyweight Roy Nelson and Bellator light heavyweight Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal. He has won back to back fights and his most recent win came at Bellator 93 in March when he defeated Travis Wiuff by knockout in 18 seconds.

“I’m looking at this opportunity as a blessing,” Martinez said. “Rich is a very qualified and tough guy, but I’m ready. I’ve been training with King Mo and Roy Nelson over the last few months, so I basically went through a normal training camp and haven’t stopped training. This is a huge chance for me, and I’m ready.”

The current Bellator 96 card is below:

Main Card: (Spike TV – 8 p.m. ET)
Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal (9-2, 1NC) vs. Seth Petruzelli (14-7) *
Renato “Babalu” Sobral (37-10) vs. Jacob Noe (11-2) *
Rich Hale (21-5) vs. Ryan Martinez (9-2)  **
Vitaly Minakov (10-0) vs. Ron Sparks (8-1) **
War Machine (12-4) vs. Blas Avena (8-6)

Preliminary Card: ( – 6 p.m. ET)
Justin McNally (1-1) vs. Steven Artoff (5-1)
Brandon Girtz (8-2) vs. Derek Campos (10-3)
Brandon Halsey (3-0) vs. Joe Yaeger (5-1)
Jeremiah O’Neal vs. Raphael Butler (5-0)
Keith Miner (5-4) vs. Damon Jackson (4-0)
Mike Maldonado (4-0) vs. Chavous Smith (2-3)
Keith Berry (14-10) vs. Cortez Coleman (9-3)
Jarrod Card (13-6) vs. Chas Skelly (10-0)