Alessio Sakara will continue to anchor Bellator MMA’s expansion into Italy when the promotion holds its next card in the European country on Dec. 1.
The California-based organization announced Tuesday that Sakara will face Kent Kauppinen at RDS Stadium in Genoa, Italy in the Bellator 211 headliner. The card will be a mixed affair, as Gabriel Varga will defend his featherweight title against Shan Cangelosi in kickboxing co-main event.
The card will mark Bellator’s sixth trip to Italy. The promotion has previously traveled to Rome, Florence and Turin. Bellator 211 will air on Paramount and DAZN at 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT.
According to a release, the event will be sanctioned by Federazione Italiana Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Savate, Shoot Boxe e Sambo (FIKBMS), which is recognized by the Italian Olympic Committee and is affiliated with the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO).
“Working with a reputable federation or commission has always been a high priority for us wherever we hold events,” said Bellator President Scott Coker in a release. “Having FIKBMS oversight in Italy ensures that we are continually being held to high standards in terms of fair competition, athlete safety and other regulatory matters. They provide both legitimacy and transparency, which are paramount to the success of our international shows and organization as a whole.”
Sakara, a native of Rome, has made all four of his Bellator MMA appearances on Italian soil. Most recently, the 37-year-old American Top Team representative scored a first-round technical knockout against Jamie Sloane at Bellator 203 on July 14 in Rome. “Legionarius” is 3-1 with the promotion and 20-12 with two no contests over the course of a career that included a 15-bout stint in the UFC.
Kauppinen enters the matchup on a two-bout skid. The Englishman made his promotional debut at Bellator 200 on May 25, falling to Walter Gahadza via second-round submission. Kauppinen owns a 10-4 career mark.