Bellator MMA will open its Season 9 from Connecticut’s own Mohegan Sun Casino Saturday, September 7 live on Spike. The night will showcase reigning Bellator Middleweight World Champion Alexander “Storm” Shlemenko putting his title on the line against Season 8 Middleweight Tournament Winner Doug Marshall and the opening rounds of Bellator’s Fall Season Middleweight Tournament. The event will also feature the live “Fight Master” Tournament Final, and the Bellator MMA return of “The Baddest Man on The Planet” Joe Warren, as the former Bellator World Champion will begin his journey through The Toughest Tournament In Sports in his quest for another Bellator Title.
After fighting his way to the Bellator Middleweight Tournament Final last season, Brett Cooper looks for redemption as he faces Las Vegas native Andreas “Sweet Swede” Spang. With a Tournament Finals appearance under his belt, Cooper knows what it takes to reach the finish line and is eager to make his way back to the finals.
“I’m always proud to compete for Bellator,” Cooper said. “My goal is same as last time, to win the tournament and get the belt. I have made improvements since my last fight and I’m looking forward to showing what I can do in front of the audience on Spike TV.”
No stranger to the Toughest Tournament In Sports, Dan Cramer will battle Perry “Filthy” Filkins, who steps into the Bellator cage for the second time in his professional career. Although Cramer displayed a strong performance during the Season 8 Tournament, he will need to get past heavy-handed Filkins, who has won five-consecutive fights, four from knockout.
“I am privileged to be fighting in another Bellator tournament and I am anxious to put my training to test,” Cramer said. “I started off strong in the Season 8 tournament and I had the chance to show people what I can bring to the cage and I will continue to prove that I am one of the top middleweights in the game.”
The Middleweight Tournament will round out with two veteran matchups featuring Brian “The Professional Predator” Rogers, who will face Denmark knockout artist, Mikkel Parlo. After both suffered semifinal defeats last season, these resilient middleweights are anxious to get back under the bright lights of Bellator.
“The middleweight division is arguably the most stacked division in Bellator and I am excited to once again be in the Toughest Tournament in Sports,” Rogers said. “I believe I am better than everyone in the division when I am 100 percent on my game. I have been inconsistent in the past with my performance, but I know without a doubt that I have more skills and abilities than anyone in the tournament.”
Jason Butcher looks to keep his undefeated record intact, but will have to hold off submission ace, Giva “The Arm Collector” Santana. Coming off of a submission win against Jack Hermansson in March, Butcher’s skills will be tested by the veteran in Santana, who has posted 16 wins from submission in his professional career.
“This Fall’s season is the most stacked season we’ve ever had and this special Saturday night, 3-hour kick off free on Spike TV is an amazing first act,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “This Middleweight World Title fight has fight of the year written all over it. Adding Joe’s return, the Fight Master finale and the opening round of the Middleweight tourney will be an incredible night of fights at Mohegan Sun.”
Bellator MMA Main Card:
Bellator Middleweight World Title Fight: Alexander “Storm” Shlemenko (47-7) vs. Doug Marshall (18-6)
Bellator Bantamweight Feature Fight: Joe Warren (8-3) vs. Nick Kirk (10-2)
Bellator Middle Weight Quarterfinal Fight: Brett Cooper (19-8) vs. Andreas Spang (8-3)
Bellator Middle Weight Quarterfinal Fight: Dan Cramer (10-4) vs. Perry Filkins (7-1)
Bellator Middle Weight Quarterfinal Fight: Brian Rogers (10-5) vs. Mikkel Parlo (9-1)
Bellator Middle Weight Quarterfinal Fight: Jason Butcher (6-0) vs. Giva Santana (18-2)