Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie will renew a rivalry forged in the formative years of the Ultimate Fighting Championship when Bellator MMA travels to Houston on Feb. 19.
The bout was announced on Friday night. Bellator’s next tent-pole event is scheduled to take place at the Toyota Center in Houston and is will also feature a co-headliner pitting Kimbo Slice against Dhafir Harris.
“Few can understand the magnitude of importance that this fight personally is to me. Rounding out my career as a professional fighter has to be done with the right fighter. For two years, we have been searching for the right fight with the right fighter,” Shamrock wrote on his blog. “This important bout had to be with a meaningful UFC Hall of Famer like a Dan Severn or Royce Gracie. We have been in discussions with Bellator for over a year to make this Gracie fight a reality, and it has finally happened.”
Gracie and Shamrock first locked horns at UFC 1 on Nov. 12, 1993, with Gracie submitted his foe with a rear-naked choke 57 seconds into the opening frame. The two rivals locked horns again at UFC 5 less than two years later, battling to a draw over the course of an epic, 36-minute encounter.
Slice, who rose to prominence as a backyard brawler whose fights were documented on YouTube, returned to MMA after a five-year hiatus to dispatch Shamrock via first-round technical knockout at Bellator 138 this past June. The Miami native is 5-2 over the course of professional career and also owns wins over James Thompson, Houston Alexander and David “Tank” Abbott.
Dhafir Harris, better known as “Dada 5000,” followed in Slice’s footsteps as a Florida-based street fighter. His exploits as both a competitor and promoter in the Miami scene were documented in the film “Dawg Fight.” Harris’ professional MMA background is less extensive, as he owns a 2-0 record on the regional scene and hasn’t competed since February 2011.