Four new bouts have been added to Bellator’s ninth-season premiere, as Bellator 98 will feature the next middleweight tournament quarterfinals.
The Sept. 7 event takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., and is headlined by a middleweight title showdown between reigning champion Alexander Shlemenko and Season 8 tourney winner Doug Marshall. The evening’s main card airs live on Spike TV, while the preliminary action streams on Spike.com.
Highlighting the Season 9 tournament will be Season 8 finalist Brett Cooper and three-time tournament veteran Brian Rogers, as they take on Andreas Spang and Mikkel Parlo, respectively. Additionally, Season 8 alum Dan Cramer will battle Perry Filkins, while submission specialist Giva Santana locks horns with unbeaten Jason Butcher.
Cooper, 26, advanced to the Season 8 tourney by besting Norman Paraisy and Cramer but saw his run halted in the finals by Marshall, who knocked out “The Caveman” on April 4 to earn his title shot. In Spang, he faces a 34-year-old who made his Bellator debut with a second-round knockout of Rogers last year. “The Sweet Swede” was beaten in each of his last two outings, however, dropping a decision to Maiquel Jose Falcao Goncalves before falling via TKO to Marshall in February.
Rogers now looks to right his ship after coming up short in his third tournament appearance, when he dropped a hard-fought unanimous decision to Cramer in the Season 8 quarterfinals. Parlo was also defeated in the opening round of the Season 8 draw, suffering his first career defeat at the hands of Sultan Aliev at Bellator 89.
After outpointing Rogers, Cramer saw his Season 8 run come to a close in the semifinals, when he was knocked out by Cooper in their Bellator 92 affair. Filkins, meanwhile, has not competed since November of last year, when he made a successful Bellator debut by outpointing Jonas Billstein.
Known as “The Arm Collector” for his expertise in snatching armbars, the 41-year-old Santana was eliminated by Bruno Santos in the Season 6 quarterfinals but returned to his winning ways last November, when he caught Brendan Seguin in a kneebar at Bellator 82. In Butcher, he faces an unbeaten 28-year-old who owns five of his six victories via submission. Butcher last competed on March 21, when he tapped Jack Hermansson with a triangle choke in 2:24.