Next Friday Bellator MMA begins their second year on Spike with their tenth season of epic tournaments to determine the title challengers. As usual there are many intriguing match ups and the favorites who are expected to rise among the participants.
Along with the normal tournaments bouts are tournament winners who have risen to challenge the champions for their belts. Being the various matches and tournaments as well as other developments that took place in between tournaments, I thought it would be appropriate to preview this season. I won’t be making any speculations as to individual matches because those will happen in my weekly predictions, this is a season outlook:
~ Tournaments ~
Bellator was finally able to find the perfect blend of tournaments last season with four eight man tournaments and one or two 4 man tournaments, which is also the number of tournaments they’re utilizing this season. The first and lightest tournament of note is the featherweight tournament with the opening round taking place on February 28 at Bellator 110 with match ups like UFC vet Diego Nunes against Matt Bessette, “the Marine” Mike Richman against Desmond Green, Daniel Weichel against Scott Cleve, and Will Martinez against Goiti Yamauchi.
At the same event will be the opening round of the light heavyweight tournament which is also the only four man tournaments featuring former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson against former Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Christian M’Pumbu and former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal against M-1 Challenge Winner Mikhail Zayats.
Then at Bellator 111 the following week, the opening round of the heavyweight tournament takes place with match ups like UFC vet Lavar Johnson against Bellator Heavyweight Summer Series 2013 finalist Ryan Martinez, Bellator Season 9 Heavyweight Tournament finalist Peter Graham against kickboxer Siala-Mou “Might Mo” Siliga, former Bellator Heavyweight Champion Alexander Volkov against Mark Holata, and Sengoku veteran Blagoy Ivanov against multiple weight class finalist Rich Hale.
The welterweight opening match ups at Bellator 112 are Nah-Shon Burrell against War Machine, Joe Riggs against Sam Opropeza, Jesse Juarez vs. Andrey Koreshkov, and Adam McDonough against Mark Scanlon while the lightweight opening round match ups at Bellator 113 are Patricky Freire against David Rickels, Marcin Held against Rodrigo Cavalheiro, Terry Etim against Derek Anderson, and Brandon Girtz against Derek Campos.
~ Title Fights ~
All of the belts will be defended at least once this season. Bellator Bantamweight Champion Eduardo Dantas will defend his title first against 2013 Summer Series Bantamweight finalist Anthony Leone at Bellator 111 and the winner of that match will face Joe Warren at Bellator 118. In the featherweight division, Featherweight Champion Daniel Straus will defend his belt for the first time in a rubber match with Pat Curran.
Then at light heavyweight, Bellator Champion Attila Vegh will face Interim Champion Emanuel Newton in a match for the unified title. Other title fights include Alexander Shlemenko defending his middleweight title against Brennan Ward, Heavyweight Champion Vitaly Minakov defending his title against Cheick Kongo, and Douglas Lima facing Rick Hawn for the vacant Bellator Welterweight Championship.
What do you think will happen this season in Bellator MMA? Feel free to leave a comment!