by MMAWeekly.com Staff
Bellator Fighting Championships on Tuesday announced that its featherweight and middleweight tournament finals would head its Season Two finale on June 24 at the Fourth Street Live entertainment district in downtown Louisville, Ky.
Bellator 23 marks the promotion’s first foray into the Bluegrass State.
“If you’ve ever been to Fourth Street Live, I think you can envision what a spectacular and exciting event this is going to be,” said Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “We are extremely proud to be partnering with The Cordish Company to bring the Bellator brand of MMA to Louisville and the hundreds of thousands of MMA fans in the Greater Louisville area.”
The evening will feature two championship fights in Bellator’s ongoing Season 2 middleweight and featherweight tournaments.
In the first fight, world champion Greco-Roman wrestler and former NCAA all-American Joe Warren (4-1) will face undefeated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black-belt Patricio Pitbull (14-0) in the featherweight tournament finals. The winner will earn the title of No. 1 contender to reigning Bellator featherweight champion Joe Soto (9-0) and the chance to face Soto in a title fight later this year.
Then, in the middleweight tournament finals, 13-1 WEC veteran Bryan Baker looks to continue his seven-fight winning streak when he squares off with Russian striker Alexander Shlemenko (29-4). The winner will earn the title of No. 1 contender to reigning Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard (25-2-1) and the chance to face Lombard in a title fight later this year.
The Louisville card will also include six “Local Feature Fights” showcasing top up-and-coming fighters from Louisville, Cincinnati, and Southern Indiana with selected winners qualifying to compete at future Bellator events. Competitors will be announced over the coming weeks.
This is the final event in Bellator’s 12-week-long second season. Season 3 kicks off on Aug. 12 in Hollywood, Fla.