Bellator Fighting Championships returns to the Bayou State on Friday, March 16 for Bellator 61 live from Bossier City at the Horseshoe Riverdome. The night will feature the long awaited rematch between “The American Solider” Eric Prindle and “The Big Monster” Thiago Santos to determine a winner from last season’s heavyweight tournament, as well a host of local talent from the Louisiana area.
Tickets for the event are now on sale. The event will also be broadcast live starting at 7 p.m. CST on MTV2 and in HD on EPIX. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. CST, with the first fight scheduled for 6 p.m. CST. The preliminary card, featuring the area’s top local talent will be streamed live and free around the world on Spike.com starting at 6 p.m. CST.
“Louisiana’s been an amazing home to Bellator. Our last two Louisiana events we’re spectacular sell outs, so bringing Bellator to Bossier City was an easy decision to make,” said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. “This Prindle-Santos fight has war written all over it and both of these guys have taken this huge fight very personally. March 16 should be a great night.”
Prindle meets Santos after last season’s heavyweight finals were declared a no contest as Santos delivered what was ruled an accidental illegal blow to the groin of Eric Prindle, which eventually halted the fight. The two will square off to determine who will earn the right to face current Bellator heavyweight champion Cole Konrad.
The night will also feature the quarterfinals of the Bellator Season 6 Middleweight Tournament. UFC veteran Maiquel “Big Rig” Falcao will make his Bellator debut against the dominant Norman Paraisy. Falcao enters Bellator with an astonishing 23 knockouts to his record and will look to keep that trend intact at Bellator 61.
In a matchup worthy of a Middleweight title fight, Brian “The Predator” Rogers battles Brazilian ace Vitor Vianna for a spot in the semifinals. For Rogers, the Ohio native wants to build off last season’s semifinals appearance and punch his ticket to a guaranteed title shot. Vianna put up a tremendous fight against eventual Middleweight Tournament Champion Alexander Shlemenko and is eager for another long tournament run.
Entering Bellator on a 14-fight win streak, explosive Russian Vyacheslav “Slava” Vasilevsky will be making his U.S. debut in a fight with Victor O’ Donnell. One of the most promising prospects in the world, “Slava” joins Bellator as two-time Sambo World Champion and will look to make his mark with Bellator.
Giva “The Arm Collector” Santana is back with Bellator and will be gunning for another victim when he takes on Bruno Santos. Always looking for the armbar, Santana has tapped 13 of his 17 career opponents with the hold.
“A lot of fighters like to go out there and try to knock their opponents out as soon as they can, and that’s the same way I am with my submissions,” Santana said. “For me, to tap a guy out is the same feeling as the knockout. When a punch lands and you know you knocked your opponent out, I feel the same feeling when I lock up a submission on my opponent. I know right away that he’s going to tap, and it’s a great feeling.”