Not even an entire month after announcing plans to host multiple international events in 2016, Bellator MMA has come out with a date and location for its first foray across the pond. Bellator MMA President Scott Coker joined Oktagon Kickboxing President Carlo Di Blasi in Paris this afternoon to announce a co-promoted event set to take place on April 16 at the Pala Alpitour in Torino, Italy.
The event will feature both Bellator MMA and Oktagon Kickboxing bouts, with the Bellator MMA portion airing in the United States on SPIKE. Exact broadcast information and fight card will be announced in the near future.
“We are very excited to be working side by side with my friend Carlo Di Blasi and his team,” said Coker. “Carlo is a great ally, and someone who I admire for all of the amazing work he has done in combat sports throughout Europe over the past twenty years. We look forward to putting on an amazing show for the Italian people, and fans tuning in from around the world when we combine our efforts on April 16 in Torino”
“Oktagon has had incredible success building a loyal and committed fanbase throughout Europe over the past twenty years,” said Di Blasi. “I know that these fans are going to really enjoy the exciting brand of MMA that Bellator offers when we partner with them on April 16.”
In conjunction with the fight announcement, Bellator MMA has signed one of Italy’s most notable mixed martial artists, Alessio Sakara (17-11, 2 NC MMA / 8-1 Boxing), who is expected to fight at the event. Sakara has competed as a middleweight, but recently returned to light heavyweight, scoring a TKO victory just 1:32 into his last outing this past September. The tattooed striker has always performed well in front of his countrymen, going 6-0 in MMA and 6-1 in boxing when fighting in Italy, and looks to add onto that success next April.
Bellator has had a record-shattering year in 2015 with Coker at the helm, powered by several major events including Bellator: Kimbo vs. Shamrock, which generated 2.9 million viewers and Bellator: Dynamite 1, which set company records for attendance and gate. The event in Torino marks Bellator’s first-ever event overseas, but it won’t be the last. In addition to the Torino event, Bellator MMA has announced plans for additional international events in London and Israel slated for 2016.
Oktagon Kickboxing has been a mainstay in combat sports for 20 years now, officially founded in 1996. Under the watchful eye of Di Blasi, the promotion has put on some memorable matchups throughout the years with top fighters including Bellator welterweight Paul Daley as well as The Petrosyan brothers (Giorgio and Armen), Robin Van Roosmalen, Valentijn Overeem, Rico Verhoeven and Artem Levin.