Bellator 76 Set For October 12 In Windsor; Alvarez vs. 'Pitbull', Season 7 Featherweight Tourney Official
As Bellator prepares for its seventh and final season on MTV2, the promotion has finalized its upcoming Bellator 76 card that includes the highly anticipated lightweight showdown between Eddie Alvarez and Patricky "Pitbull" Freire, as well as the Season 7 Featherweight Tournament.
The event will broadcast live on MTV2 and in commercial-free HD on EPIX starting at 8 p.m. EST, as well as mun2 in Spanish language. The preliminary card will be streamed live and free on Spike.com.
After holding the Bellator lightweight title for over two years, Alvarez was submitted by reigning Bellator champion Michael Chandler is a consensus 2011 Fight Of The Year candidate. Alvarez quickly rebounded, as the Top 10 lightweight collected one of the most fulfilling wins of his career after earning a long awaited win over submission ace Shinya Aoki at Bellator 66. With momentum on his side, Alvarez is primed for an explosive showdown at Bellator 76.
“After hearing Bellator wanted to put this fight together, I really don’t think they could have made a better matchup for the fans to enjoy,” Alvarez said. “Pitbull has proven to be a legitimate threat in the past and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
For "Pitbull", the explosive Brazilian lightweight and former Bellator lightweight tournament finalist is no stranger to the big finish, with knockout wins over MMA veterans Rob McCullough, Toby Imada and Kurt Pellegrino. After suffering a small fracture to his left arm at the hands of Lloyd Woodard, Freire is ready to re-enter the Bellator cage and collect the biggest victory of his already impressive career.
“October 12 is going to be a big test for me, but I’m very happy for this fight, and the opportunity Bellator is giving me to fight someone like Eddie Alvarez,” Pitbull said in a release. “I can’t put into words the emotion I’m feeling from thinking about this fight. I’m a warrior, and I always fight for pride. I want this fight, and I’m going to give the fans a show.”
With competitors from Russia, Canada, Brazil and the United States, the Bellator Season 7 Featherweight Tournament features a worldwide collection of talent looking for their $100,000 Tournament Champion payday as well as a guaranteed title shot against reigning Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran.
“Eddie and Pitbull are two of the most explosive, dynamic Lightweights in MMA. This is a fight I’ve wanted to see for the last two years,” said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Our Featherweight Tournament features eight world class athletes with a combined 106-15 record that are always looking for the finish, so our fans in Windsor are in for a treat on October 12.”
Entering the tournament at a dominating 12-2, Mike Richman is looking to continue his winning ways with a victory over submission ace Jeremy Spoon. Known for his strong wrestling foundation, Spoon has amassed a 12-1 record and Richman isn’t taking the Oklahoma native lightly.
“I’ve worked incredibly hard to get to this point, and I’ve really elevated my game,” Richman said. “This tournament is a chance for me to make a statement and make a name for myself. Jeremy is a tough, gritty fighter but my plan all along has been to lay him out on a lawn chair, and move onto the next one. The featherweight division is just stacked, and there are four or five guys in the Bellator featherweight division that are ranked in the Top 10 in the world, so getting my title shot and getting a chance to compete against guys like Pat Curran, Daniel Straus and Patricio Pitbull is a big deal.”
After making headlines with his incredibly moving story on ESPN's "Outside the Lines,” Rad Martinez has earned his spot in the Bellator Featherweight Tournament with an impressive 2-0 record inside the Bellator cage, including a dominating knockout victory at Bellator 62. Martinez will certainly face the toughest test of his young career as he battles dominating Brazilian Nazareno “Naza” Malegarie in tournament action. Only 26, Malegarie has collected 20 finishes in his young career, and will be looking to end the fight early on October 12 from Caesars Windsor.
Currently riding a 12 fight win streak that includes finishes in his last four contests, Russian import Akop Stepanyan will make his United States debut as he battles Nova Uniao product Wagnney Fabiano. A proud owner of victories over John Gunderson, Fredson Paixao and L.C Davis, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt is eager to get back into the cage after nearly two years away from action.
Two Bellator newcomers will round out the Season 7 Featherweight Tournament as Shahbulat Shamhalaev will take on California featherweight Cody Bollinger. Only 21, Bollinger boasts a 13-2 record and is primed to make his mark inside the Bellator cage.
Bellator 76 main card:
Eddie Alvarez (23-3) vs. Patricky Pitbull (10-3)
Featherweight Tournament Quarterfinal: Rad Martinez (12-2) vs. Nazareno Malegarie (22-2)
Featherweight Tournament Quarterfinal: Akop Stepanyan (12-3) vs. Wagnney Fabiano (14-3)
Featherweight Tournament Quarterfinal: Mike Richman (12-1) vs. Jeremy Spoon (12-1)
Featherweight Tournament Quarterfinal: Shahbulat Shamhalaev (9-1-1) vs. Cody Bollinger (13-2-1)