Bellator MMA returns to Albuquerque, N.M., on Wednesday, July 31, as the Santa Ana Star Center will play host to a Bellator Lightweight World Title fight. Defending Bellator Champion Michael Chandler puts his title on the line against David “The Caveman” Rickels, while Bellator Welterweight Champion Ben Askren will defend his title against Russian phenom Andrey Koreskov live on Spike, as well in Spanish language on mun2. The night will also feature the Light Heavyweight Tournament Final as King Mo faces the electric Jacob Noe, while Heavyweights collide as Vitaly Minakov battles Ryan Martinez in the Bellator Tournament Final. The Bantamweight Summer Series Tournament will also begin, as Rafael Silva will battle Rodrigo Lima, while Anthony Leone will take on Bellator newcomer Frank Baca.
The event has a special early start time and will broadcast LIVE starting at 5:00 p.m. MST on Spike. Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased at ComcastTix.com or by visiting the Santa Ana Star Center Box Office with tickets starting at just $25 dollars.
The night will showcase a stacked preliminary card featured on Spike.com, as former NCAA wrestling champion Bubba Jenkins will make his Bellator debut and looks to keep his undefeated record intact when he battles Albuquerque’s own Mike Barreras. The night will also feature the return of U.S. Olympic Wrestling qualifier Shawn Bunch, who looks to continue his journey into MMA as he takes on Steve Garcia in a bantamweight affair.
Fan favorite Will Brooks will also return to the big stage and battle New Mexico native Cris Leyva. After suffering just the first loss of his professional career in the Season 8 Lightweight Tournament Semifinal to Saad Awad, Brooks is ready to get back under the bright lights.
Eight of New Mexico’s premiere athletes will be featured on the preliminary card and all of the preliminary card fights will be streamed LIVE and FREE on Spike.com starting at 4:00 p.m. MST.
The full Bellator 97 fight card is listed below:
-Michael Chandler (11-0) vs. David Rickels (14-1)
-Ben Askren (11-0) vs. Andrey Koreschkov (13-0)
-King Mo (10-2) vs. Jacob Noe (12-2)
-Ryan Martinez (10-2) vs. Vitaly Minakov (11-0)
-Rob Emerson (12-10) vs. Patricio Pitbull (17-2)
-Cris Leyva (9-5) vs. Will Brooks (9-1)
-Rafael Silva (19-3) vs. Rodrigo Lima (11-1)
-Anthony Leone (12-5) vs. Frank Baca (16-2)
-Mike Barreras (5-6) vs. Bubba Jenkins (3-0)
-Javier Palacios (1-0) vs. Richard Jacques (1-0)
-Jeremy Kimball (9-3) vs. Keith Berry (15-10)
-Adrian Cruz (4-0) vs. Felipe Chavez (5-3)
-Steve Garcia (1-0) vs. Shawn Bunch (1-0)
-Cliff Wright Jr. (7-4) vs. Donald Sanchez (28-13)