It’s a night of Bellator Tournament action as Bellator MMA returns to Southern California’s Pechanga Resort & Casino to host the Bellator Season 10 Middleweight Tournament Final as Brett Cooper faces Brandon Halsey, while Russian striker Andrey Koreshkov battles rising star Adam McDonough in a Bellator Welterweight Tournament Finals showdown. As always, both tournaments hold high stakes as the winners will move on to collect a guaranteed world title fight. “The New York Bad Ass” will also make his promotional debut as Phil Baroni will take on Karo Parisyan in a welterweight affair live on Spike TV.
“From top to bottom, we’re bringing a loaded card to our second home at the beautiful Pechanga Resort & Casino July 25th,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “We’ve got two spectacular tournament final fights that headline the show, two amazing semi-finals in our Light Heavy Weight tournament and a battle between two great names in MMA, with the Bellator debut of “The New York Bad Ass” Phil Baroni facing the resurgent and focused Karo “The Heat” Parisyan. And, on top of that we’ve got a loaded prelim card that features a crazy amount of talent. The Southern California market has been fantastic to us, it’s our home, and we are delivering a great card top to bottom.”
Combining for over 65 professional fights, Phil “The New York Bad Ass” Baroni will make his Bellator debut as he faces Karo “The Heat” Parisyan in a welterweight bout. In a battle of fan favorites, Baroni has recorded 10 victories by knockout and is looking to put on an explosive performance and make his mark under the Bellator banner against the always exciting Parisyan, who won three of his previous four fights.
“I’m so pumped to be back with Bellator, they have treated me great here and I’m proud to be back in the cage,” Parisyan said. “This is going to be a fun one. I’ve known Phil for a long time, we have a strong friendship, but this is business, and an absolutely huge fight for both of us. Everyone knows the only chance Phil has is to try and knock me out, but I know I bring more to the table. It’s going to be your standard standup guy vs. a judo guy, but you never know what can happen. I’m not under estimating Phil, and we both know how important of a fight is for both of us. Our futures are on the line here, and I’m taking this incredibly seriously.”
After defeating Mike Mucitelli by knockout in the light heavyweight opening round at Bellator 118, Liam McGeary returns to face Egidijus Valavicius. Valavicius claimed victory against Carlos Eduardo in the opening rounds, but will have his work cut out for him against McGeary who maintains a perfect 7-0 professional record. McGeary has won all four of his Bellator victories by first round finish, accumulating for less than four minutes of time spent in the cage.
With a dominate first round submission victory in the opening round, Philipe Lins will battle Kelly Anundson in the semifinals to complete the other half of the light heavyweight tournament bracket. Lins has a 9-0 professional record with seven wins coming by KO or submission and is looking for the finish against Anundson on July 25.
No stranger to the Bellator cage, Karl Amoussou will face Fernando Gonzalez in a welterweight bout. In a battle of finishers, Amoussou has recorded 12 of his 17 wins by KO or submission and will look to his previous Bellator experiences to hold off Gonzales, who recorded 14 finishes, 12 coming in the first round.
Former lightweight tournament finalist Saad Awad returns to the Bellator cage to fight fellow California native, Joe Duarte in a rematch of their 2011 battle that saw Durate collect a huge second round armbar victory. After falling to Duarte, Awad has improved to 15-6 with 13 finish wins and is looking for redemption on July 25th. With the vast improvements he’s made in his game and his experiences in the cage since their last meeting, Awad is confident his fight with Duarte will lend a different result this time around.
Entering the fight with back-to-back first round submission victories, Poppies Martinez will fight one of MMA’s top prospects in Bubba Jenkins on July 25th. With a 6-1 professional record, Jenkins has won five professional fights by KO or submission and will put his skills to the test against Martinez who has fought in 35 fights and recorded 18 submission wins throughout his career.
At 8-0, Russia’s own Dmitriy Sosnovskiy will make his Bellator debut against California native Manny Lara in a heavyweight battle. A four-time Bellator veteran, Lara is ready to fight in front of his home state fans, but will need to stop the solid punching power of Sosnovskiy, who has recorded four first round KO victories.
Coming off of a 56 second victory in his Bellator debut, Stephen Martinez will fight submission ace Sergio Rios. With an undefeated 7-0 professional record, Rios has recorded five first round submission wins and plans on using his strong submission skills against Martinez, who is riding a six-fight win streak.
After recording a first round knockout in his Bellator debut, Temecula’s own Virgil Zwicker will fight Linton Vassell. Zwicker has recorded nine knockout wins, but will face his toughest opponent yet in Vassell, who has won eight-consecutive fights and has won 11 of his 13 victories by KO or submission.
Rounding out the Spike.com card will be a heavyweight battle between undefeated Augusto Sakai and southern California’s Matt Frembling. Frembling has won his previous six fights and will rely on his strong striking to come away with a victory in his Bellator debut.
The full fight card can be found below.
Bellator Welterweight Tournament Final:
Adam McDonough (11-0) vs. Andrey Koreshkov (16-1)
Bellator Middleweight Tournament Final:
Brandon Halsey (6-0) vs. Brett Cooper (20-9)
Welterweight Feature Fight:
Phil Baroni (15-17) vs. Karo Parisyan (23-10)
Bellator Light Heavyweight Semifinal:
Liam McGeary (7-0) vs. Egidijus Valavicius (27-10)
Bellator Light Heavyweight Semifinal:
Kelly Anundson (8-2) vs. Philipe Lins (9-0)
Poppies Martinez (26-9) vs. Bubba Jenkins (6-1)
Fernando Gonzalez (20-12) vs. Karl Amoussou (17-6-2)
Joe Duarte (10-3) vs. Saad Awad (15-6)
Dmitriy Sosnovskiy (8-0) vs. Manny Lara (4-4)
Stephen Martinez (10-2) vs. Sergio Rios (6-0)
Linton Vassell (13-3) vs. Virgil Zwicker (12-3)
Augusto Sakai (6-0) vs. Matt Frembling (9-2)