Plans for Bellator’s fifth season are coming together. | Photo: Gleidson Venga
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Bellator’s fifth season is still almost three months away, but the company has nearly finalized the lineups for three of its four season tournaments, which kickoff Sept. 10.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney (Pictured Above, File Photo) confirmed with Sherdog.com that season five would feature tournaments at 135, 170 and 185 pounds to determine future title contenders, and the vast majority of participants are tentatively penciled in.
The bantamweight bracket will feature two Bellator current or past titlists, as inaugural champion Joe Soto will cut down to 135, as well as the man who beat Soto for the title, current champion Joe Warren. In 2006, Warren won the Greco-Roman wrestling world championship at 132 pounds.
“The talent we've assembled at 135 pounds is incredible,” said Rebney. “Joe Soto and Joe Warren are already world-class champions and we have some truly special talent for that tournament.”
The bracket will also feature former World Extreme Cagefighting champion Chase Beebe, WEC veteran Marcos Galvao, hot Brazilian prospects Luis “Betao” Nogueira and Eduardo Dantas, undefeated 1996 Atlanta Games freestyle wrestling bronze medalist Alexis Vila, and Bellator tournament veteran Ed West.
The welterweight and middleweight brackets both currently sport seven participants, with one man to be added to each. Rebney also confirmed that a heavyweight tournament would be featured in the season but was less developed at this juncture.
“There will definitely be a heavyweight tournament in season five,” declared Rebney. “But, we haven’t selected the fighters yet. There's a lot of fights coming up in this Summer Series, especially in Uncasville, [Conn.,] that will help determine that.”
The 170-pound pool will see the return of Bellator tournament veterans Rick Hawn, Dan Hornbuckle, Chris Lozano and Brent Weedman. They will be joined by UFC veteran Ben Saunders, surging Brazilian Luis Santos and red-hot former MFC welterweight champion Douglas Lima.
The middleweight bracket welcomes back former Bellator tournament winner Alexander Shlemenko, as well as veterans Bryan Baker and Jared Hess. Joining them are Croatian striking specialist Zelg Galesic, once-beaten Brazilian Vitor Vianna, and heavy-hitting Ohioan Brian Rogers.
A separate Bellator representative told Sherdog.com that “two or three guys” were possible as the final man for the 185-pound tournament; a hamstring injury to former Bellator champion Lyman Good has left them without any specific designs on the eighth welterweight.