Sportfight Champ Official for Bellator’s 205-Pound Tournament

By Mike Whitman Feb 18, 2011
Sportfight heavyweight champion D.J. Linderman (Pictured) will make the cut to 205 pounds in order to compete in the inaugural Bellator Fighting Championships light heavyweight tournament. The promotion on Friday made Linderman’s participation in the Season 4 draw official.

“Da Protégé” joins Daniel Gracie, Nik Fekete and Chris Davis in the pool of announced competitors. Bellator is expected to announce the involvement of Raphael Davis and Tim Carpenter shortly.

For his Bellator debut, Linderman -- who has fought as heavy as 261 pounds -- must shed considerable poundage in order to qualify for a shot at the tournament crown. The 26-year-old rides a three-fight winning streak heading into the tournament quarterfinal. After besting Rolando Graham and American Top Team product Mario Rinaldi, the 27-year-old captured the Sportfight heavyweight title in July, earning a five-round decision over Daniel Stewart.

“I want to improve my game all around,” Linderman said in a release. “I want to improve my cardio, my strength and my quickness. Being a heavyweight that’s dropping down to light heavyweight has its advantages. I feel like I will be better than ever at light heavyweight.”

The winner of Bellator’s 205-pound tournament will be awarded $100,000 and declared the promotion’s first-ever light heavyweight king. Tournament quarterfinals are expected to kick off at Bellator 38 on March 26.

“I’ve never competed in a tournament like this before, so I’m really excited to take part in this one with Bellator,” Linderman said. “I know this tournament will have a bunch of great fighters, and they’re going to try to put everything they have out there, and so will I. I’m looking to make a name for myself to the millions of fans that will be watching on MTV2.”
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