Bellator Fighting Championships on Thursday announced it will once again travel north of the border to Casino Rama in Ontario for Bellator 57 on Nov. 12. The night will feature the finals of Bellator’s Season 5 Welterweight Tournament, with the winner earning $100,000 and a guaranteed shot at the Bellator Welterweight Title. Bellator 57 will also mark the return of Bellator women’s champion Zoila Gurgel as she takes on Brazilian submission ace Carina Damm in a non-title affair.
Also, husband and wife have a chance of fighting on the same card as Damm, who is married to Bellator Season 5 welterweight Luis “Sapo” Santos, could have a chance of watching her husband vie for the tournament championship that night if Santos gets by Ben Saunders at Bellator 53 on Oct. 8 at Buffalo Run Casino & Resort in Miami, Okla.
“We had a tremendous night of fights at our last event at Casino Rama, and I’m excited for another magical night on Nov. 12 LIVE on MTV2, EPIX in HD and The Score in Canada,” said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney.
Two of the top welterweights in the sport will square off to determine who has truly earned a title shot for the Bellator welterweight championship. The tournament field currently stands at four, with Saunders taking on Santos and “The Cleveland Assassin” Chris Lozano fighting Douglas Lima at Bellator 53. Two will make it to Bellator 57, and be fighting for $100,000 and the chance to be called “champion.”
Gurgel will look to keep her spotless Bellator record intact as “The Warrior Princess” holds a perfect 5-0 record with Bellator, including a championship victory over the previously undefeated Megumi Fujii. While Gurgel secured the split-decision victory, she admits she was still a one-dimensional fighter at that point in her career.
“I haven’t fought for a few months, but in my down time I feel like I’ve finally become a real mixed martial arts fighter,” said Gurgel. “It was never a secret that my ground game was lacking and I liked to stay on my feet. That just isn’t the case anymore, and my training has made me a much more complete fighter.”
Both women will have very strong corners as Gurgel is married to former UFC fighter Jorge Gurgel and Damm’s husband is the aforementioned Santos.
With both fighters having live-in coaches, Gurgel admits that having a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in her corner and her home has helped her career immensely.
“Jorge is one of the best coaches in the sport,” said Zoila of her husband. “Mentally and physically, he just gets it, and I listen to him so closely. He’s an amazing individual, and has helped me across the board.”
Damm will have plenty of experience in her corner as well with husband Luis “Sapo” Santos.
“I train with Luis every day, and he has brought my Muay Thai skills to a whole new level,” Damm said. “It’s been a dream to train with Luis, and he has made me a better fighter.”
“She is an amazing fighter,” Santos said. “I would have never dreamed for my wife and I to both be fighting for Bellator, so this really is a great chance for us.”
The night will also see Nova Scotia native Roger “The Hulk” Hollett make his Bellator debut against Ohio’s own John Hawk in a light heavyweight affair. A true finisher, Hollett will be looking to move his win streak to five, and should have the hometown crowd behind him for the explosive match-up.
Bellator 57 airs live on MTV2 and The Score in Canada as well as in commercial-free HD on EPIX, starting at 7 p.m. ET. The first fight of the night will begin at 5 p.m. ET and will be streamed free and around the world live on Spike.com. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com and the Casino Rama Box Office.