Bellator will host its first four-man middleweight tournament beginning March 28 from Utah’s Maverik Center as Brett Cooper will battle Kendall “Da Spyder” Grove in the semifinal round, while Doug “The Rhino” Marshall will clash with American Top Team’s Dan “Cosmo” Cramer April 4 from the Reno Events Center. Both fights will be featured on the main card of Bellator 114 and 115 respectively.
Cooper returns to the Bellator cage after engaging in one of 2013’s best fights as the Long Beach native went five rounds with reigning Bellator Middleweight Champion Alexander Shlemenko in September of 2013. Cooper pushed Shlemenko to his absolute limits before the Russian icon was awarded a unanimous decision victory. For Grove, the Hawaiian born middleweight will be making his first run through the Bellator tournament after earning an impressive victory over Joe Vedepo at Bellator 104.
“Grove is a tough customer but I’m going to put him away,” Cooper said. “I really am pulling for Marshall in the other side of the bracket, so I can smash his face in the finals. And after that, the Russian has it coming too. I’m not looking past anybody in this tournament, it’s full of tough, skilled guys but whoever is in my way to the title is getting two basic food groups: leather and canvas.”
“I’m very excited to be a part of the next Bellator Middleweight Tournament,” Grove said. “These tournaments are an awesome way to fight the best guys in the division quickly and get that title shot. Cooper is a tough guy, but I’ll be ready on March 28.”
“The Rhino” stormed through the Bellator Middleweight Tournament with knockout victories over Andreas Spang and Brett Cooper as he made his way to his rightful title shot against Alexander Shlemenko. And while the Visalia, California native suffered his first loss inside the Bellator cage at the hands of Shlemenko, Marshall is ready for another long run through the Bellator tournament.
“The Rhino will be running through guys with brutal KO’s and giving the fans a show,” Marshall said. “I want to prove that my fight against Shlemenko was a fluke, and I’m ready to make another run through that tournament and get another title shot.”
Cramer returns to the Bellator after nearly a year away from the cage and is looking to get back to his winning ways. Only 28, Cramer brings his 10-4 record into his second appearance in a Bellator tournament.
“I am really excited to get back into the tournament,” Cramer said. “It is going to be an exciting fight and Doug and I are both sluggers. This is going to be a tough fight for both of us and will come down to who wants it more. ”