California-based promotion Bellator MMA announced early Tuesday that two more bouts have been added to next month’s Bellator 162 card as the event gradually takes shape.
Japanese knockout artist Hisaki Kato will square off against A. J. Matthews in a middleweight encounter that will bolster the event, which goes down Oct. 21 at FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tenn. In addition to that duel, lightweights Ryan Couture and Goiti Yamachi will lock horns to round out the main card, which will air live on Spike.
Kato burst onto the American MMA scene with a shocking highlight reel knockout of muay Thai specialist Joe Schilling at Bellator 139. “The Japanese Musketeer” replicated the feat against “Stitch ‘Em Up” at Bellator: Dynamite 2 in a kickboxing bout, which bookended a win over Yuta Watanabe and a knockout loss to Melvin Manhoef.
Matthews, meanwhile, is in need of a win after having lost his last two. “The Mercenary” had scored two straight knockouts in the Bellator cage, but his impressive streak came to a halt when Anatoly Tokov took him out in Rizin. Matthews is coming off a decision loss to Ben Reiter at Bellator 156 in June.
Couture won four straight bouts after being released by the UFC, but the Las Vegas resident was knocked out by Patricky Freire at Bellator 148 in January and is aiming to get things back on track. Standing in his way is Yamauchi, one of the deadliest men on the ground. The Japanese submission savant had won 14 of 15 — 10 via submission — before losing on points to Bubba Jenkins at Bellator 151 in March.
Bellator 162 will be headlined by a middleweight clash between former Bellator champion Alexander Shlemenko and Kendall Grove while heavyweights Bobby Lashley and Josh Appelt will collide in the co-feature. Bellator also revealed that Ricky Rainey will stand opposite Gilbert Smith in a preliminary bout.