Bellator will kick off its summer events schedule on Wednesday, June 19 with Bellator 96, which features a title fight and the start of a four-man light-heavyweight tournament.
The event takes place at WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla., and the night’s main card airs on Spike TV following prelims on Spike.com.
In the headliner, undefeated Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler (11-0 MMA, 8-0 BFC), who’s currently ranked No. 3 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie.com MMA lightweight rankings, meets recent tournament winner Dave Jansen (19-2 MMA, 6-0 BFC), a former WEC fighter who’s won six straight fights, all under the Bellator banner.
In the opening round of the 205-pound tournament, former Strikeforce champion Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal (9-2 MMA, 1-1 BFC) looks to rebound from an upset loss to Emanuel Newton in a previous tournament when he meets Seth Petruzelli (14-7 MMA, 1-1 BFC), who was bounced from a tourney by Jacob Noe in his most recent outing.
On the other side of the bracket, big-show vet and former Strikeforce champ Renato “Babalu” Sobral (37-10 MMA, 0-1 BFC), whose previous Bellator tourney run ended with a vicious KO loss to Mikhail Zayats, meets Jacob Noe (11-2 MMA, 2-1 BFC), whose nine-fight win streak also came to an end with a tourney defeat to Zayats.
Bellator 96's main card kicks off with a welterweight bout between War Machine (12-4 MMA, 0-0 BFC), who returns from a 17-month layoff to legal and injury issues, to fight Blas Avena (8-6 MMA, 1-0 BFC), a WEC vet who recently made his Bellator debut and knocked out Lenny Lovato.
Bellator 96's preliminary-card bouts will be announced in the coming weeks.
The latest Bellator 96 card now includes:
MAIN CARD (Spike TV, 10 p.m. ET)
- Champ Michael Chandler vs. Dave Jansen – for lightweight title
- Muhammed Lawal vs. Seth Petruzelli – light-heavyweight tournament opening round
- Jacob Noe vs. Renato Sobral – light-heavyweight tournament opening round
- Blas Avena vs. War Machine
For the latest on Bellator 96, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Michael Chandler)