Bellator MMA is taking a page out of the playbook from Dana White's Contender Series, giving ten different fighters a shot at Bellator contracts.
The promotion announced via press release on Friday that 10 competitors will be added to the two upcoming events held in Hawaii in December. All 10 appeared for tryouts the organization held recently to see who could be in the running for a contract. The winners of these bouts will be eligible to earn multi-fight Bellator contracts, but it is not guaranteed that each victor will receive a contract. The fighters given this opportunity are: Benjamin Wilhelm (3-0), Braydon Akeo (3-0), Cheyden Leialoha (7-1), Hunter Ewald (0-0), Jamie Thorton (6-5), Kaylan Gorospe (0-0), Keoni Diggs (7-0), Pierre Daguzan (5-3, 1 NC), Scotty Hao (4-2) and Swayne Lunasco (0-0).
Akeo will be slotted on the main card of Bellator: Salute the Troops, and he will face former featherweight grand prix participant Tywan Claxton (5-1) in a 145-pound contest. Ewald, Pico, Daguzan and Thorton will all be squaring off against various opponents on the prelims.
On Bellator Hawaii the following day, former Contender Series combatant Leialoha will be opening the main card against fellow debutant Raufeon Stots (12-1) at bantamweight. Meanwhile, Lunasco and Gorospe will be meeting one another in their respective professional debuts in the bantamweight division. Diggs and Hao will also be squaring off at lightweight, while Wilhelm stands toe-to-toe with Hawaii's Kona Oliveira (1-2).
Bellator: Salute the Troops will take place on Dec. 20 at the Neil S. Blaisdell Arena in Honololu, where it will be headlined by a heavyweight clash between Josh Barnett and Ronny Markes. Bellator 236 goes down on Dec. 21 in the same arena, and a flyweight title fight between Ilima Lei Macfarlane and Kate Jackson serves as the main event.
Bellator: Salute the Troops Card Lineup:Josh Barnett vs. Ronny Markes
Toby Misech vs. Erik Perez
Alejandra Lara vs. Veta Arteaga
Tywan Claxton vs. Braydon Akeo
Cass Bell vs. Pierre Daguzan
Hunter Ewald vs. Jonathan Pico
Tiani Valle vs. Jamie Thorton
Bellator Hawaii Card Lineup:Ilima-Lei Macfarlane vs. Kate Jackson
A.J. McKee vs. Derek Campos
Neiman Gracie vs. Kiichi Kunimoto
Juliana Velasquez vs. Bruna Ellen
Raufeon Stots vs. Cheyden Leialoha
Swayne Lunasco vs. Kaylan Gorospe
Keoni Diggs vs. Scotty Hao
Nate Yoshimura vs. Chas Dunhour
Kai Kamaka III vs. Spencer Higa
Kona Oliveira vs. Benjamin Wilhelm
Dustin Barca vs. Brandon Pieper
Nainoa Dung vs. Zach Zane