The season ten featherweight tournament field has been announced by Bellator and the opening round bouts will take place at Bellator 110 on February 28th in Connecticut.
Bellator announced the field in a press released on Friday afternoon and the opening round bouts are Diego Nunes vs. Matt Bessette, Mike Richman vs. Desmond Green, Daniel Weichel vs. Scott Cleve, and Goiti Yamauchi vs. Will Martinez.
Bellator 110 takes place on February 28th from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut and will be headlined by the opening round bouts in the season ten light heavyweight tournament.
Nunes (18-5) was signed by Bellator last year and was one of the quarterfinalist in the season nine featherweight tournament. He was defeated by eventual tournament winner Patricio Pitbull in the quarterfinals, and it was his second straight defeat.
Bessette (12-4) initially entered Bellator in 2012 and has won all three of his fights in the organization. He is currently on a four fight winning streak and his most recent win came at Bellator 98 against Nick Piedmont. He won the fight by knockout in the first round and it was his second career win to come by knockout.
“I am always excited to fight for Bellator,” Bessette said. “To be chosen to compete in the Toughest Tournament In Sports is life changing and I am happy to be given this opportunity. If I am preparing to fight the best at all times, I’ll always be ready come fight night and I have been ready for months now. Connecticut is home and Mohegan Sun will be on fire when I am in the cage on February 28th.”
Richman (16-3) will be entering his third Bellator featherweight tournament and was a finalist during the season eight tournament last year. After losing in the final to Frodo Khasbulaev, he returned at Bellator 106 and defeated Akop Stepanyan by TKO in the first round.
“If feels great to be back in the tournament,” Richman said. “No questions asked, I’m coming hard this tournament. Des Green is a tough grinder and he thinks he will take me down and keep me there, I guess we will have to wait and see. He won’t see my speed, but he will feel my power.”
Green (9-2) was a quarterfinalist in the season nine tournament and was eliminated by Fabricio Guerreiro. He returned to the cage less than two months later and earned his first Bellator victory by defeating Angelo Sanchez by TKO in the second round.
Cleve (14-3) made his Bellator debut last season and defeated Isaac DeJesus by TKO in the second round at Bellator 102. It was his sixth straight victory and has won ten of his last eleven fights. He holds a victory over current UFC fighter Abel Trujillo and feels he is ready for this tournament.
“I’ve been working hard getting ready for this tournament and I feel more than ready,” Cleve said. “I almost feel like I can go into this fight with nothing to lose. I think that my speed and ground game will be my biggest asset. Weichel is very experienced and I have to be ready for a war.”
Weichel (31-8) was signed by Bellator in September and he is currently on a three fight winning streak. He has only lost once in his last nine fights and holds a victory over Khasbulaev and current UFC fighter Dennis Siver.
Martinez (8-2-1) has been in Bellator since 2012 and has won his first four fights in the organization. He is coming off a submission victory Bellator 108 against Kevin Roddy and five of his last six wins have come via submission.
“I am excited beyond belief to be able to participate in the featherweight tournament,” Martinez said. “I feel like I have all of the pieces in place to make a successful run at the title. Goiti is a great fighter and the toughest opponent I have faced yet. We both love to finish fights as quick as possible. I would love to end this fight with a first round submission, but I am ready for a three-round war.”
Yamauchi (16-1) was a fighter on TheMMAReport.com “Prospects to watch in Bellator” last year and has won both of his fights in the organization. Both of his wins in Bellator came in the first round and his last four wins have come in the opening round, with three of them being my submission.
Bellator 110 will broadcast live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Spike TV and the preliminary card will be streamed live and free on Spike.com beginning at 7 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. PT. Tickets for the event are on sale now at Ticketmaster.com, Bellator.com or by visiting the Mohegan Sun Box Office.
The current Bellator 110 card and featherweight tournament bracket is below.
Quinton Jackson (33-11) vs. Christian M’Pumbu (18-5) *
Muhammed Lawal (11-3, 1NC) vs. Mikhail Zayats (22-7) *
Diego Nunes (18-5) vs. Matt Bessette (12-4) **
Mike Richman (16-3) vs. Desmond Green (9-2) **
Daniel Weichel (31-8) vs. Scott Cleve (14-3) **
Goiti Yamauchi (16-1) vs. Will Martinez (8-2) **