The Bellator Light Heavyweight Title will be settled on Friday, March 21 from the Kansas Star Arena, live on Spike TV. The event will be headlined by the Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship as Attila Vegh defends his belt against “The Hardcore Kid” Emmanuel Newton as well as the opening rounds of the Bellator Lightweight Tournament, including Kansas’s own David “The Caveman” Rickels facing Brazilian Knockout artist Patricy Pitbull.
The event will broadcast live starting at 9 p.m. EST/ 8 p.m. CT on Spike TV. The preliminary card will be streamed live and free exclusively on Spike.com starting at 6 p.m. CT. Tickets for the event are on sale Friday, January 10 and can be purchased at www.kansasstararena.com or by visiting the Kanas Star Arena Box Office.
After suffering an injury, reigning Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Attila Vegh is now ready to defend his title and face Bellator Interim Light Heavyweight Champion Emanuel Newton. After a razor close decision and ruthless battle in their previous meeting in 2012, Newton experienced his sole defeat since 2009 after falling to Vegh. Newton is confident that with the adjustment he’s made in his game, this fight will lend a different outcome.
“I’m ready for redemption,” Newton said. “I really wasn’t ready at the time in my career to be a champion. It wasn’t something physically, mentally, and spiritually I was prepared for. I’m a totally different fighter now, and this is my time. I’m training hard, continuing to grow, and this is it. Now is the time. I’ve got a new contract with Bellator, Bjorn and I are happy, I’m going to be here for a long time and I couldn’t be happier. This is my home, and I’m going to be Champion.”
Putting his title on the line for the first time, Vegh holds an impressive 29-4 professional record and enters the fight with a nine-fight win streak and remains undefeated in the Bellator cage. Vegh plans on ending this fight with Newton as quickly as possible and won’t let anyone get their hands on his championship belt.
“I’m ready to get back into the cage, and defend my belt,” Vegh said. “Even though I won my last fight with Emanuel, I wasn’t happy with my performance in my last fight against Emanuel Newton. I was ready but things just didn’t go the way I planned. We are both different fighters since then, and it’s going to be a great fight.”
Kansas’s own David Rickels will fight in front of his home town faithful and face Brazilian knockout artist Patricky Pitbull in the Bellator Lightweight Tournament opening round. After defeating J.J. Ambrose with a brutal knockout from Kansas Star Arena last season, Rickels plans on giving his fans another explosive fight, but will have to get past the heavy hands of Pitbull who has recorded seven victories via knockout.
“I am extremely excited to get back in the cage,” Rickels said. “I like to stay busy in the fight game and Bellator has done that for me. Pitbull is a great opponent for a war, and I am going to teach the Pitbull how to lay down.”
Stepping into the Bellator cage for the first time Rodrigo Cavalheiro will face one of the top submission artists in MMA in the polish phenom Marcin Held. Only 21 years-old and a former Bellator Lightweight Tournament Finalist, Held will look to his previous experiences to take down Cavalheiro on March 21st.
“My biggest advantages over Rodrigo inside the cage will be my ground game and overall professional experience,” Held said. “I am going to make a big statement in this fight. I want to show that I can be dangerous standing and when I submit my opponent.”
After making his Bellator debut against Patrick Cenoble in November, UK native Terry Etim will face Derek Anderson. Etim has his sights set on getting back in the top-five rankings where he was less than two years ago, he will need to hold off Anderson, who maintains an undefeated 10-0 professional record with seven first round finishes.
“I am extremely confident and excited to have the opportunity to be in a tournament,” Anderson said. “I saw Terry’s previous fight and I was unimpressed.”
Rounding out the tournament bracket, Brandon Girtz and Derek Campos will meet for the second time after Campos won via decision at Bellator 96 in June. Coming off of two first round submission wins, Girtz will count on his submission tactics to defeat Campos and advance in the Toughest Tournament in Sports.
Light Heavyweight World Title:
Attila Vegh (29-4) vs. Emanuel Newton (22-7)
Bellator Lightweight Tournament Opening Round:
David Rickels (15-2) vs. Patricky Pitbull (11-5)
Marcin Held (16-3) vs. Rodrigo Cavalheiro (14-2)
Terry Etim (16-5) vs. Derek Anderson (10-0)
Brandon Girtz (10-3) vs. Derek Campos (13-3)