A pair of Bellator MMA Summer Series tournament finals will take place at this summer’s Bellator 97 event, as Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal (10-2 MMA, 2-1 BFC) meets Jacob Noe (12-2 MMA, 3-1 BFC) and Vitaly Minakov (11-0 MMA, 2-0 BFC) faces Ryan Martinez (10-2 MMA, 3-1 BFC).
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed with Bellator officials that the four Bellator 96 victors will compete at the promotion’s next event, which takes place July 31 at Santa Ana Center in Albuquerque, N.M.
Lawal and Noe meet in a light heavyweight tourney final, while Minakov and Martinez square off to conclude the heavyweight tourney. There was initially some concern that Noe may have broken his hand in a Bellator 96 win over Renato “Babalu” Sobral, but he was cleared by doctors after the event and will compete at Bellator 97.
Bellator 97 is headlined by a pair of championship contests as lightweight kingpin Michael Chandler faces David Rickels and welterweight title holder Ben Askren meets Andrey Koreshkov. As with all of Bellator MMA’s Summer Series events, the night’s main card airs on Spike TV, while prelims stream on Spike.com.
The full televised lineup for the stacked card has yet to be announced, but MMAjunkie.com confirmed current plans call for a three-hour main-card broadcast.
Lawal punched his ticket to the final with a devastating first-round finish over Seth Petruzelli in the semifinals of the four-man tournament. He now meets Noe, who upset MMA veteran Sobral with a third-round TKO.
Meanwhile, Minakov steamrolled through Ron Sparks, needing just 32 seconds to notch a TKO win. He’ll meet Martinez, a last-minute replacement for Brazilian Vinicius Queiroz, who pulled off a surprise knockout win over Rich Hale to book his finals slot.
The current lineup for Bellator 97 includes:
- Michael Chandler vs. David Rickels – for lightweight title
- Ben Askren vs. Andrey Koreshkov – for welterweight title
- Muhammed Lawal vs. Jacob Noe – Summer Series light-heavyweight tourney final
- Ryan Martinez vs. Vitaly Minakov – Summer Series heavyweight tourney final
- Rob Emerson vs. Patricio Freire
For the latest on Bellator 97, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Vitaly Minakov)