by MMAWeekly.com Staff
Bellator Fighting Championships announced Tuesday that welterweight prospect Tyler Stinson will have a second shot at Bellator tournament action this Thursday night, officially replacing a non-medically cleared Rory Markham. Stinson will take on Iraq war veteran Steve Carl in a bout that will serve as a qualifier for Bellator’s Season 4 welterweight tournament. The 175-pound catchweight fight will be part of Bellator 26, taking place at the Kansas City Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City.

Stinson, a Kansas City native, has come a long way since winning a Bellator Season 2 open tryout in his hometown earlier this year. This will be the 24-year-old’s third appearance under the Bellator banner. He was a late addition to the Season 2 welterweight tournament replacing an injured Sean Pierson. He lost his quarterfinal match-up with eventual tournament finalist Dan Hornbuckle.

“Tyler’s skills and development as a fighter have consistently impressed me. He was preparing for a qualifier scheduled a month from now, but Tyler is always in fighting shape and was totally prepared to take this fight,” said Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Both of these guys have put on great fights for us and I expect nothing different on Thursday night.”

Stinson has gone 2-0 since the loss to Hornbuckle, including a rear naked choke victory over Leonardo Pecanha in which he also broke the Brazilian’s jaw at Bellator 22 in Kansas City last June. Stinson brings an impressive 18-6 professional record to the fight with 12 of those victories coming via KO or TKO. A veteran of the Midwestern MMA circuit, Stinson is undaunted by the short notice.

“When I got the call, I was more than ready to jump on the opportunity. I‘ve been having to do short notice my whole career. It’s a good matchup for me,” said Stinson. “My striking is going to come into play and he is going to have a tough time dealing with that.”

Consequently, Stinson’s opponent this Thursday will also be looking to avenge a Season 2 loss to Hornbuckle. Prior to the Season 2 welterweight tournament semi-final defeat Carl held an impressive seven-fight win-streak. Carl’s budding mixed martial arts career is just four years old, but he already has notched 10 wins with six victories coming by way of submission.

Bellator did not reveal what the medical issue was with Markham.