Bellator recently announced its return to Southern California’s Pechanga Resort & Casino for Friday, Sept. 13, but on Thursday revealed the headlining bout between Christian M’Pumbu and Vladimir Matyushenko.
They also announced the featherweight tournament quarterfinal pairings: Patricio “Pitbull” Freire vs. Diego Nunes, Shahbulat Shamhalaev vs. Akop Stepanyan, Fabricio Guerreiro vs. Des Green, and Joe Taimanglo vs. Andrew Fisher.
M’Pumbu (18-5-1) is a former Bellator light heavyweight champion, but has lost his last two fight. Coming off of the losses to Travis Wiuff and Attila Veigh, M’Pumbu faces no easy task getting back on track by being paired up with the grizzled veteran.
Matyushenko (26-7) has been fighting for 15 years, and is coming off of back-to-back losses himself, albeit to Ryan Bader and Alexander Gustafsson. Bellator 99 marks his promotional debut after having spent the past few years fighting for the UFC.
“This is exactly what I wanted entering Bellator, a tough test right from the start,” the 42-year-old Matyushenko said. “I still have a lot of fights left in my tank, and this is the start of a new chapter in my career.”
The first fight of the night will begin at 4 p.m. PST and the live national television broadcast on Spike TV starts at 6 p.m. PST, as well as in Spanish language on mun2.