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Bellator targets late September for opening round of bantamweight tournament

Perhaps the most-anticipated offering from Bellator come Season 5 now has an official start date. Featuring a slew of prospects, an Olympic medalist, two former title-holders, and Bellator’s current featherweight champion, the field of 135-pound tournament participants will take the first step of their hopeful journey towards a $100,000 payday and shot at Zach Makovsky’s belt when things fire up on September 24 at Bellator 51.

The organization recently revealed the specifics, including quarterfinal match-ups, through an official press release.

Come showtime the four fights expected to take place in the opening round include former 145-pound champ Joe Soto facing 10-2 Brazilian Eduardo Dantas, submission specialist Marcos Galvao in action with former WEC king Chase Beebe in his sights, Season 3 bantamweight finalist Ed West against streaking grappler Luis Nogueira, and Bellator featherweight champ Joe Warren taking on undefeated Cuban Olympian Alexis Vila.

“To say our Season Five Bantamweight tournament is stacked is a gross understatement,” glowed Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney when asked about the group. “Warren-Vila is going to be absolutely explosive for as long as it lasts, and the inclusion of Dantas, Nogueira, Chase, Soto, Ed and Luis makes every single fight in this tournament a pick’em adventure. This should be an unbelievable tournament for our fans watching live on MTV2!”

A number of subplots also exist including a potential opportunity for Beebe, Soto, and Galvao to avenge previous losses to Warren as well as Nogueira having similar motivation in regards to Dantas who is responsible for the only loss on his countryman’s record.

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