Bellator's seventh-season heavyweight tournament will begin on Oct. 5, promotion officials announced Friday, as Eric Prindle rematches Thiago Santos in the Bellator 75 headliner.
Former Strikeforce talent Brett Rogers also joins the tournament field, as “Da Grim” takes on once-beaten Russian Ruslan Magomedov from The Venue at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind. The event is expected to air live on MTV2, delayed on the west coast. The remaining two heavyweight quarterfinals were not revealed, but Bellator officials did announce that former WEC bantamweight titlist Chase Beebe will compete on the show's undercard.
Prindle and Santos met previously in the Season 5 heavyweight tournament final, but that contest was ended prematurely last November when Santos kicked Prindle in the groin. As the blow was ruled accidental, the fight was called a no-contest and rescheduled for Bellator 61 in March.
The fight was then postponed by a week after Prindle came down with flu-like symptoms. Bellator 62 would prove no luckier, however, as Santos failed to make weight and Prindle was awarded the Season 5 crown by default. Prindle would then fail in his attempt to capture the Bellator heavyweight title, submitting to Cole Konrad in 60 seconds on May 25. “Big Monster” has not competed since his November meeting with Prindle.
Rogers, 31, made a successful Bellator debut on June 22, earning a second-round doctor's stoppage over Kevin Asplund at Bellator 71. The victory marked Rogers' first win since October 2010 and followed losses to ex-UFC champion Josh Barnett and six-time Octagon competitor Eddie Sanchez.
Magomedov rides a three-fight winning streak heading into his showdown with Rogers. The heavyweight has already earned a pair of wins in 2012, outpointing onetime UFC titlist Ricco Rodriguez on March 23 before using a guillotine choke to submit previously unbeaten Ukrainian talent Igor Zadernovsky two weeks later in Moscow.