Can “Tiger” Sarnavskiy roar his way to a Bellator title shot? | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Bellator’s Season 9 lightweight semifinals will be contested Oct. 25, promotion officials announced Wednesday, as Saad Awad will rematch Will Brooks and Alexander Sarnavskiy will meet Ricardo Tirloni at Bellator 105.
The semifinal pairings air live on Spike TV and take place at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, N.M. Additionally, the evening’s televised card will see Andreas Spang clash with Eugene Fadiora, while longtime kickboxing veteran Siala-Mou Siliga -- better known as “Mighty Mo” -- takes on tournament veteran Ron Sparks.
Just prior to the TV broadcast, the Bellator 105 undercard streams live on Spike.com and is highlighted by the third promotional effort from undefeated U.S. National and Pan-American wrestling champion Shawn Bunch, who battles Steve Garcia at 135 pounds.
Awad, 30, has won seven of his last eight bouts. After coming up short in the Season 8 tournament finals this past March, the Californian returned to his winning ways last month in the opening round of the Season 9 draw by submitting Martin Stapleton with a first-round rear-naked choke.
Brooks has won two straight fights since suffering a 43-second knockout at the hands of Awad in the Season 8 semis, first pounding out Cris Leyva in July and then outpointing John Alessio in the Season 9 quarterfinals to earn his return bout with Awad.
Sarnavskiy wasted no time in taking out Marcus Davis to earn his spot in the round-of-four, as “Tiger” floored the UFC veteran early in their Sept. 27 confrontation before submitting “The Irish Hand Grenade” with a rear-naked choke in 1:40. The Russian has lost just once in 25 pro outings and rides a four-fight winning streak into his clash with Tirloni.
Six years older than his upcoming foe, Tirloni, 30, halted a two-fight skid in his quarterfinal battle with Rich Clementi, which ended in a unanimous decision victory for the Brazilian at Bellator 101. Prior to that triumph, the 20-fight pro was outpointed by Dave Jansen and Will Brooks to end his runs in the Season 7 and 8 tournaments.