Carey Vanier (top) file photo: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
UFC veteran Rich Clementi will make his Bellator Fighting Championships debut against Carey Vanier in a lightweight duel at Bellator 28 on Sept. 9 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts in New Orleans. The match will serve as a “qualifier fight” for the promotion’s forthcoming Season 4 lightweight tournament.
Clementi has delivered three wins in his past four appearances. The 33-year-old Slidell, La., native last fought in June, when he submitted Glen Cordoza with a second-round triangle choke under the Cajun Fighting Championships banner. Clementi has secured more than half (19) of his 36 career wins by submission. Victories over former International Fight League champion Ryan Schultz, Sengoku veteran Sergey Golyaev and Melvin Guillard anchor his resume.
A semi-finalist in Bellator’s Season 2 lightweight tournament, Vanier succumbed to a second-round armbar against Toby Imada in May; the defeat snapped his seven-fight winning streak. A collegiate All-American wrestler who trains out of Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts in Albuquerque, N.M., Vanier has gone the distance only once in 12 professional appearances.
Meanwhile, Georgi Karakhanyan will collide with the unbeaten Chas Skelly in a key matchup at 145 pounds. The bout will serve as a “qualifier fight” for Bellator’s upcoming Season 4 featherweight tournament.
A proven finisher, Karakhanyan has delivered 11 of his 13 wins by knockout, technical knockout or submission. The 25-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt dropped a unanimous decision to Joe Warren in the semi-finals of Bellator’s Season 2 featherweight tournament two in May; it was his first defeat in more than two years. Karakhanyan, who trains out of the Millennia Mixed Martial Arts Training Center in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., has never been finished
Skelly, out of Keller, Texas, returned to the promotion in May, when he submitted Daniel Pineda with a second-round kneebar at Bellator 19. Unblemished as a professional, he has secured five of his seven victories by submission. Skelly, a state champion in high school, was a collegiate All-American wrestler at Oklahoma City University.