by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com Ricco Rodriguez, Yoshiyuki Yoshida At Bellator 31
By Ken Pishna/MMAWeekly.com
Two former UFC fighters are set to make their Bellator debuts when the promotion lands at the L’Auberge du Lac Casino Resort in Lake Charles, La., on Sept. 30.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez (44-11) has been on a rebuilding binge. He was once considered one of the more promising heavyweights in the world, but fell into the “what could have been” category before his recent re-emergence. Rodriguez will make his first start for Bellator against Dave Herman, riding a nine-fight winning streak that includes seven bouts already in 2010.
Eight years Rodriguez’s junior, Herman (16-2) is widely considered a top heavyweight prospect of today. He was riding a three-fight winning streak before being derailed by Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou in May. He’ll look to get one of the biggest wins of his career when he faces Rodriguez.
Another former UFC fighter making his Bellator debut on the same night is Yoshiyuki Yoshida, who will be facing upstart Chris Lozano, also making his Bellator debut.
Yoshida (11-5) is making his first start since receiving his walking papers from the UFC. He holds wins over Dan Hardy and Akira Kikuchi, but only managed a 2-3 record in the Octagon. He’ll look to rebound from back-to-back losses against Lozano.
Yoshida will be the toughest test of Lozano’s career. The youngster is a knockout specialist, however, winning all four of his professional fights by knockout with no blemishes on his record.
Both bouts were announced during the telecast of Bellator 28 on Thursday night.
Two bouts also expected on the Bellator 31 fight card, but not yet announced, are the semifinal bouts of the Season 3 Women’s 115-Pound Tournament. Megumi Fujii (21-0) squares off against Lisa Ward (14-5), while Jessica Aguilar (9-3) faces Zoila Frausto (8-1).