Bellator’s heavyweight and light heavyweight Summer Series tournaments will conclude on July 31, when Ryan Martinez faces Vitaly Minakov and Muhammed Lawal meets Jacob Noe at Bellator 97.
The event airs live on Spike TV and is headlined by a lightweight title collision pitting reigning champion Michael Chandler against Season 8 tournament winner David Rickels. The event takes place at the Santa Ana Star Center in Albuquerque, N.M., and will also see Ben Askren defend his welterweight strap against unbeaten Season 7 champ Andrey Koreshkov.
The Summer Series tournament finals were decided on Wednesday night at Bellator 96, which took place at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla., and saw “King Mo” knock out Seth Petruzelli in the evening’s main event on Spike TV. Just prior to Lawal’s 95-second finish of “The Silverback,” Noe sent former UFC title contender Renato Sobral into retirement, picking up a third-round technical knockout over “Babalu” to advance in the 205-pound draw.
Meanwhile, Minakov wasted no time in punching his ticket to the heavyweight finals, as the unbeaten Russian pounded out Ron Sparks in just 32 seconds. Earlier, Martinez did the same to Rich Hale, taking his smaller opponent to the mat before crushing him with ground-and-pound to earn his spot in the championship round.