Toby Imada (above) will meet Patricky Freire one week earlier than expected. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
The bill for Bellator Fighting Championships 39 is now set, as the promotion Tuesday announced the full nine-bout lineup for Saturday’s show.
While the majority of the card shaped up as expected, there was one late addition. Previously thought to go down at next week’s Bellator 40, a lightweight tournament semifinal between two-time runner-up Toby Imada and heavy-handed Brazilian Patricky “Pitbull” Freire has been shifted to this Saturday’s main draw.
Bellator 39 goes down April 2 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., and will be headlined by a lightweight title bout between champion Eddie Alvarez and second-season tournament winner Pat Curran. Also featured will be a welterweight tournament semifinal pitting unbeaten Olympic judoka Rick Hawn against former titleholder Lyman Good. Additionally, UFC veteran Ben Saunders will make his Bellator debut against Massachusetts-based veteran Matt Lee.
Highlighting the undercard will be a pair of lightweight tilts showcasing former Zuffa talent, as WEC veteran Dave Jansen meets Team Alpha Male product Scott McAfee, and one-time UFC competitor Matt Veach will lock horns with the undefeated Rene Nazare.
A product of the Philadelphia Fight Factory, Alvarez ranks among the best in the world at 155 pounds. A veteran of BodogFight, EliteXC and Dream competition, Alvarez has won six straight fights since succumbing to a Shinya Aoki heel hook on New Year’s Eve 2008.
“I need to live up to my own expectations. More than any fight in my career, I just want to completely dominate,” said Alvarez in a release. “It has nothing to do with Pat; it’s just what I feel like I have to do, regardless of whom I’m fighting, in order to earn my rank of No. 1 in the world. I won’t be happy with anything less than complete and total domination.”
Curran rides a four-fight win streak of his own into his confrontation with the champion. The 23-year-old has finished half of his career victims and owns notable victories over Roger Huerta and the aforementioned Imada.
“I’ve been dreaming every night about this Bellator world championship fight with Eddie Alvarez. I think about it in the morning, all day, when I go to bed, and in my dreams,” said Curran. “I’m coming out there to shock the world. I’m going to stand right in front of Eddie, and I’m going to let my hands fly. I have all the confidence in the world that I can beat Eddie Alvarez, so now it’s up to me to go out there and do it.”