Doug Marshall is looking for another shot at Bellator gold. | Keith Mills/Sherdog.com
The opening round of Bellator’s Season 10 middleweight tournament will kick off March 28 at Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah, as former title challenger Brett Cooper takes on UFC veteran Kendall Grove at Bellator 114. One week later, another ex-championship contender will be in action when Doug Marshall collides with Season 8 tournament alum Dan Cramer at Bellator 115 at Reno Events Center in Reno, Nev.
Cooper, 26, saw a six-fight winning streak snapped by Marshall in the Season 8 final but nevertheless challenged for the Bellator strap after “The Rhino” withdrew from his title opportunity due to injury. Though “Fudoshin” went the distance with champion Alexander Shlemenko in their Sept. 7 rematch, he ultimately came up short on the scorecards, falling via unanimous decision to the Russian.
Grove made a successful Bellator debut this past October, when he outpointed Joe Vedepo at Bellator 104. “Da Spyder” posted a 2-2 record last year, beginning 2013 with defeats to Jesse Taylor and Michal Materla before stopping British talent Danny Mitchell on June 29.
Marshall, 37, brutally knocked out Cooper to win the Season 8 draw but was forced out of his planned Sept. 7 conflict with Shlemenko with a broken hand. “The Rhino” eventually met “Storm” on Nov. 22, succumbing to a vicious body attack in a first-round technical knockout loss at Bellator 109.
Nine years younger than his opponent, Cramer saw a three-fight winning streak snapped by Cooper in the Season 8 semifinals nearly one year ago. Prior to that setback, “Cosmo” outpointed four-time tournament veteran Brian Rogers at Bellator 89 to advance in the Season 8 draw.