Bellator kicks off its 101st MMA event tomorrow, and it is lined with a lot of great lightweight prospects and veterans. Also, in the main event another bantamweight tournament semifinal takes place when Joe Warren and Nick Kirk. It seems like a weird thing considering that Warren was knocked out in practice no more than a month ago. Plus with two knockout losses in his last four fights it may seem that Warren’s chin is gone, but even though this is the main event it is not the most intriguing fight on the card.
The card opens with a match between returning veteran Rich Clementi who retired after being submitted in November of last year. His original opponent had to pull out and was replaced by Ricardo Tirloni who ha snot had the best luck in tournaments. In the three tournaments he has entered he has only made it past the opening round ounce. The winner of this fight will face the winner of the bout between Saad Awad and Martin Stapleton.
Awad made a name for himself last year when he entered the tournament as a late replacement. He made waves as he knocked out his first two opponents on the way to the final. Awad feels cheated as the final was stopped between rounds in a very awkward fashion, and that means Stapleton will have an angry heavy handed Awad to deal with. Of course, there is a whole other side of the tournament to deal with.
Will Brooks was the favorite to win the tournament last year, but he was knocked out in the first round in his bout with Saad Awad. He rebounded with a win this July against Cris Leyva, and now he faces off with long time veteran John Alessio. After being dropped from the UFC for the third time, Alessio has had one fight where he was poked in the eye and it was called a No Contest. This may be Alessio’s last chance at glory in this tournament.
Another former UFC veteran is in this tournament too with Marcus Davis looking for another shot at glory as well. At the age of 40, Davis has gone 5-1 in his last six bouts with his only loss being a split decision. He faces rising Russian star Alexander Sarnavskiy who sits at 23-1 in his professional career. Sarnavskiy is a finisher with only four of his 23 wins going to decision. The heavy hands of Davis await him in this fight though.