Eight light heavyweights' quest for Bellator gold will begin in “The Mountain State.”
The Chicago-based promotion officially announced Tuesday the four quarterfinal bouts for Bellator 71 on June 22, which kicks off its 2012 Summer Series light heavyweight tournament from The Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in Chester, W.Va. In the opening pairings, journeyman extraordinaire Travis Wiuff meets Bellator tournament veteran Chris Davis; surging Slovakian standout Attila Vegh will battle former middleweight bracket participant Zelg Galesic; Cesar Gracie product Roy Boughton tangles with former Maximum Fighting Championship titlist Emanuel Newton and former light heavyweight tournament finalist Richard Hale squares off with fellow Arizonan Beau Tribolet.
The event, the main card of which will air live on MTV2, will also feature the promotional debut of Strikeforce veteran Brett Rogers, who signed with the promotion earlier this month. “Da Grim,” who has won just once in his last six bouts since his June 2009 knockout of Andrei Arlovski, will meet former Ambition MMA training partner Kevin Asplund, who has racked up 15 straight wins since losing his September 2002 debut.
Light heavyweight action marks the undercard, as well, as Bellator vets Tim Carpenter and John Hawk lace them up, alongside a 205-pound contest between Dan Spohn and Josh Stansbury.
The undercard also features the return of unbeaten former Missouri Tiger wrestler E.J. Brooks, who meets Joey Holt at 155 pounds. A middleweight contest between Jason Butcher and Duane Bastress and a featherweight scap between Brylan Van Artsdalen and Neil Johnson rounds out the card.
After its kickoff on June 22, the 2012 Bellator Summer Series will continue on July 20 at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla., headlined by the Season 6 welterweight tournament final between Bryan Baker and Karl Amoussou and the light heavyweight tournament semifinals. The series concludes on Aug. 24 at a venue yet-to-be-determined with the 205-pound tournament finale, the Season 6 bantamweight touranment final between Brazilians Marcos Galvao and Luis Alberto Nogueira, and a featherweight championship main event between champion Pat Curran and challenger “Pitbull” Patricio Freire.