Champion Pat Curran is a little more than a week removed from his successful title-defense against Patricio Freire but won’t be getting a ton of time off, as Bellator is busy finding new 145-pound contenders and will come up with another one over the next few months. Earlier today, the company revealed brackets for the Season 8 Featherweight Tournament as well as the lot’s attachment to the February 7 lineup for Bellator 88.
On one side of the featherweight field, perennial favorite Marlon Sandro (23-4) will throw down with Akop Stepanyan (12-4), while Stepanyan’s fellow Russian Frodo Khasbulaev (18-5) fights Fabricio Guerrerio (17-1) in the other quarterfinal clash.
“There is nothing in this world I want more than the Bellator featherweight title and this is my road. I love Bellator with all my heart and I know my opportunity is now,” said Sandro in a prepared statment sent to media.
Meanwhile, in the other grouping, familiar faces who have tried to earn Bellator gold in the past and come up short like Mike Richman (13-2) and Alexandre Bezerra (14-2) will see action against Mitch Jackson (19-2) and Genair da Silva (13-4) respectively.
Richman made it clear he’s got a rude awakening waiting for newcomer Jackson when the two meet in the cage, stating, “I’m going to out class Mitch Jackson and show him he isn’t at my level. He’s going to sleep, and then I plan on finishing the rest of the field and getting my title shot and that $100,000 prize.”
The card is also scheduled to feature the crowning of a new middleweight champ when Alexander Shlemenko mixes it up with Maiquel Falcao.
PHOTO CREDIT – BELLATOR