Bellator welterweight champ Ben Askren (11-0 MMA, 8-0 BFC) puts his title on the line against Andrey Koreshkov (13-0 MMA, 5-0 BFC) on Wednesday, July 31 as the promotion visits Albuquerque’s Santa Ana Center.
The event, which is expected to serve as “Bellator 97: Askren vs. Koreshkov,” is the second announced card for the company’s upcoming Summer Series.
Additionally, Bellator’s Season 8 welterweight tournament final takes place at Bellator 97 as finalists Douglas Lima (24-5 MMA, 6-1 BFC) and Ben Saunders (16-5-2 MMA, 7-2 BFC) finally meet after Lima’s broken hand forced a delay in the bout earlier this year. And featherweight Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (17-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) meets seven-time UFC veteran Rob Emerson (12-10 MMA, 0-0 BFC)
Askren enters the fight with a perfect career mark and hopes to defend his title for a fourth consecutive time.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back into that cage and putting on a show,” Askren stated in an official announcement. “I feel like I’ve continued to mature and get better in every one of my fights, and July 31st should be no different. I don’t think Andrey has any ability to stop my wrestling and ground attack, so this will be another successful title defense.”
Meanwhile, the 22-year-old Koreshkov gets his title shot after earning a Season 7 tournament victory with wins over the likes of Lyman Good, Marius Zaromskis and Jordan Smith.
“I’ll be 110 percent ready for this fight,” Koreshkov stated. “I’ll make sure that Askren’s tactics to put everybody in the audience to sleep won’t work this time. Instead, I’ll keep everybody entertained by putting him to sleep.”
As with all of Bellator’s Summer Series events, Bellator 97 airs on Spike TV, and the prelims stream on Spike.com. The evening’s main card starts at a special time of 7 p.m. ET (5 p.m. MT local time), and the prelims begin one hour earlier.
For more on Bellator 97, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Ben Askren)