Blagoi Ivanov displayed an impressive skill set at Bellator 52. | Photo: Keith Mills
The Bellator Season 5 heavyweight tournament started in October, and it will continue in October.
Following the quarterfinals at Bellator 52 in Lake Charles, La., the promotion announced that the heavyweight tournament would continue Oct. 29 at Bellator 56 at the Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan.
In the semifinals, unbeaten sambo world champion Blagoi Ivanov will meet Mike Hayes, while knockout artists Eric Prindle and Ron Sparks square off across the bracket.
Bellator 56 will be headlined by promotional welterweight champion Ben Askren defending his title against Season 4 welterweight tournament champion Jay Hieron.
The 24-year-old Ivanov, a native of Sofia, Bulgaria, now based in Las Vegas, earned entry into the semifinals with a positively destructive thrashing of late replacement Zak Jensen in the quarterfinals. The unbeaten sambist put Jensen away in the second round with a gruesome guillotine choke that left him unconscious along the fence.
Hayes, of Redmond, Wash., advanced with a well-earned split decision win over former Bellator heavyweight tournament runner-up Neil Grove. Though he took damage to his right eye and left leg, Hayes' superior work rate on the feet and grappling skills earned him the nod and semifinal berth.
The once-beaten Prindle, fighting out of Prescott, Ariz., overcame a threatening first round against Abe Wagner to dominate the final 10 minutes of their quarterfinal bout, earning the unanimous nod with his clubbing, thudding punching power.
Sparks, 36, had the easiest night of the semifinalists at Bellator 52, as “The Monster” knocked Mark Holata unconscious in just 84 seconds.