The semi-final fight of Bellator’s heavyweight grand prix is set for this October. The tourney has been a great success for the promotion, leading to multiple dream fights.
Off the back of this positive reception, Bellator revealed in June that they would recycle the tournament format, this time with their welterweights.
Ariel Helwani first reported the match-ups on Twitter today (Monday). Bellator later confirmed the slate. The first round bouts are as follows:
- Douglas Lima vs Andrey Koreshkov
When Bellator announced the tournament’s line-up, fans and the media immediately began speculating about this trilogy bout. Lima and Koreshkov are two of the best 170 pound fighters on the planet. They have clashed over the welterweight title twice before leaving them at one win each. This is a great fight.
- Paul Daley vs Michael ‘Venom’ Page
This is a long awaited all British grudge match. Daley and Page have been trading barbs for some time now but when Daley flirted with the idea of free agency, it looked unlikely that the bout would materialise.
However, the promotion worked tirelessly to keep ‘Semtex’ on-board. Fans can look forward to fireworks in the Bellator cage.
- Neiman Gracie vs Ed Ruth
Two developing prospects square-off in this bout. Neiman Gracie is a relatively fresh face on the MMA scene but his run in the Bellator welterweight ranks has been very successful so far. All but one of his wins are by submission, hardly a surprise considering his lineage.
Ed Ruth is a monster grappler himself with a collegiate wrestling background. We could see a grappling masterclass here.
- Rory MacDonald vs Jon Fitch
‘The Red King’ is one of the best MMA fighters in the world and currently holds the Bellator welterweight championship. Many would believe MacDonald will storm through the tournament with ease, however, Fitch is a crafty veteran.
The journeyman has a wealth of experience having been in there with a whose who of the division, including George St-Pierre. This could be the kind of war that MacDonald is famous for.
The first fight of the tournament takes place on September 29th. That card sees MacDonald challenge for Gegard Mousasi’s middleweight title in the headline bout.
Source: Ariel Helwani