Within days of “Bellator Kickboxing: Budapest,” the Scott Coker-led promotion hosted a press conference yesterday at the historic Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy to announce its next international extravaganza. The Viacom-owned fight company is returning to Italy with another combo-event featuring heart-pounding action from the Bellator MMA and Bellator Kickboxing brands, both taking place on Dec. 10 from the Mandela Forum in Florence. Both events will air on SPIKE, and exact broadcast details will be revealed at a later date.
“Bellator 167” will boast Italy’s most popular and beloved mixed martial artist, Alessio “Legionarius” Sakara (18-11, 2 NC) who takes on Mexican-American slugger Joey “The Mexicutioner” Beltran (17-13, 1 NC) in a light heavyweight headlining matchup.
Meanwhile, “Bellator Kickboxing: Florence” features an anticipated female flyweight rematch between Dutch striking ace Denise “Miss Dynamite” Kielholtz (45-3) and the woman who defeated her this past June, Gloria Peritore (11-1-1) for the inaugural Bellator Kickboxing Female Flyweight World Championship. Additionally, Italian superstar striker Giorgio Petrosyan will be making his Bellator Kickboxing debut and other Bellator Kickboxing superstars Raymond Daniels, Kevin Ross and Joe Schilling are also likely to compete on the card against opponents to be named later.
“International expansion was a major goal for us in 2016, and I feel that we’ve really nailed it thus far,” said Bellator President Scott Coker. “After the incredible success of our first event in Italy this past April where we packed the Pala Alpitour with over 14,000 people, we knew that we wanted to return for a second go-round before the end of the year. With our great partner Carlo DiBlasi and his team at Oktagon, we are looking forward to another epic event on December 10.”
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“Our partnership with Bellator is producing incredible results, so as to double the stages in Italy and start a European course that has seen us protagonists in recent days in Budapest,” said Oktagon President Carlo DiBlasi. “I am sure that Florence will respond to the appointment on December 10 and will not be disappointed by the spectacle that the best fighters in the world will bring on Mandela forum ring.”
Not to be confused with current pop sensation “Alessia Cara,” Italy’s favorite mixed martial arts superstar Alessio Sakara returns to the Bellator MMA fray fresh off an emphatic finish of Brian Rogers at “Bellator 152: Pitbull vs. Souza.” Known for his knack for the spectacular, “Legionarius” will be making his second appearance for the Viacom-owned promotion in his home country, a locale he’s undefeated in throughout his career as a professional, a run that began in 2002. A longtime member of the world-renown “American Top Team,” there’s no doubt that Sakara comes to the cage looking to finish, ending the proceedings before reaching the judges’ scorecards in 14 of his 18 wins; a similar record to his opponent on Dec. 10.
Having competed across multiple weight classes from heavyweight down to middleweight, the man fondly referred to as “The Mexicutioner” always comes ready to go toe-to-toe. A six-fight Bellator MMA competitor, Beltran has competed against the elite in multiple promotions and weight divisions, facing names like: “Rampage” Jackson, Kendall Grove, Emanuel Newton, and Stipe Miocic. Now, the 34-year-old San Diego native returns to light heavyweight, looking to add to his impressive total of 14 finishes in 17 wins as a professional. A veteran of Strikeforce, as well as the UFC, it’s surprising Beltran hasn’t previously crossed paths with Sakara, but all that changes when the cage door closes in Florence.
The streaking Dutch striker Denise Kielholz had her progress temporarily slowed when she was upset by Peritore at “Bellator: Dynamite 2” this past June. A 27-year-old native of Sicily, Italy, Peritore has won titles such as the ISKA & WTKA Amateur World Kickboxing Champion and IASKA Amateur World K-1 Championship. The first meeting between these two ladies was a tightly contested and technical, with both competitors picking their spots wisely over the course of three rounds. The ante has been upped the second go around though, with the news that a freshly minted Bellator Kickboxing belt will be waiting for the victor.
Updated “Bellator 167” Card:
Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Alessio Sakara (18-11, 2 NC) vs. Joey Beltran (17-13, 1 NC)
Updated “Bellator Kickboxing: Florence” Card:
Female Flyweight World Title: Denise Kielholtz (45-3) vs. Gloria Peritore (11-1-1)