Bellator rolls in to Portland, Oregon on September 27th with their 101st event. The main event features Joe Warren taking on Nick Kirk, and the main card has four Lightweight bouts that start off the season 9 Tournament. The winner of this tournament will earn a date with the winner of the Michael Chandler vs Eddie Alvarez bout that airs on the PPV in November.
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The main event comes with a lot of asteriks. Nick Kirk is 0-2 under the Bellator banner, and Joe Warren is in desperate need of ring time. Look for Warren to be a big favorite when the lines start popping up this week. Despite the shortcomings inherent in crossing over from wrestling at a late age, Warren is still a top shelf athlete and Bellator has a lot invested in his success after putting him in as a coach on their reality series.
UFC veteran Marcus Davis gets to face Russian Alexander Sarnavsky in the opening round of the lightweight tournament. Sarnavsky brings a solid 23-1 record to the table, with his lone loss coming to tourney fighter Rich Clementi. Davis is 5-1-1 since leaving the UFC and is likely going to have too much experience for the Russian.
Another tournament match features John Alessio taking on Will Brooks. Brooks is coming off a win after dropping his first ever career fight to Saad Awad, but in Alessio he is facing a guy with over 50 career fights.
The other bracket features Saad Awad taking on Martin Stapleton and veteran Rich Clementi faces late replacement Ricardo Tirloni. Awad returns after a loss in the season 8 tournament finals, while Stapleton is a British fighter on an 8 fight winning streak who is making his Bellator debut.
The undercard also features an interesting Lightweight bout when Poland’s Marcin Held takes on veteran Ryan Healy. Healy is the brother of UFC fighter Pat Healy, and at one point in his career was considered to be the better boxer of the two. Against Held, a submission specialist, he is going to need to get off with his hands and stay off the ground.
The tournament is wide open and it is anyone’s guess who will emerge as season 9 champ.