A new era of Bellator is set to be ushered in a few weeks from now when the organization makes its debut on Spike TV, introducing MMA to a new audience while also providing a bigger stage for longtime fans to continue enjoying the promotion’s product. The first card of Season 8 is set for January 17 and, as expected, it will feature three light heavyweight tournament fights in addition to a pair of title-bouts (Pat Curran-Patricio Freire/Michael Chandler-Rick Hawn).
Bellator released the complete bracket for the 205-pound field today with things set in such a way the final could very well feature former Strikeforce champion Mo Lawal facing either Renato Sobral or Seth Petruzelli.
The trio of tilts scheduled for Bellator 85 are Sobral-Mikhail Zayats, Petruzelli-Jacob Noe, and Emanuel Newton-Atanas Djambazov. Lawal competes a week later where he’ll face Przemyslaw Mysiala.
“There is a burning rage inside me ready to explode up out of me, and all over my opponent,” said Petruzelli in a prepared statement of his fight, throwing in some of his trademark humor. “Jacob will be covered in my rage. If you’re sitting in the front row be careful, because no one is safe from my rage.”
The 14-6 Petruzelli is coming off a knockout win over Ricco Rodriguez in August, while Noe is 8-1 and on a six-fight winning streak.
In another major match-up, Sobral (37-9) is a former Strikeforce title-holder who also owns past wins over a number of notable opponents such as Chael Sonnen and Mauricio Rua. That being said, he should have his hands full against streaking Russian Zayats who has beaten ten of his nineteen opponents by way of submission.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE/BELLATOR