By Brian Woodman Jr.
Bellator MMA, the UFC’s primary competitor in the United States, will be holding another show at the Mohegan Sun casino and resort n Uncasville. This time, Bellator will compete more directly as the UFC is holding its on own show on the same night at the Foxwoods casino in Mashantucket.
The September 5 Bellator event will contain a main card that includes former pro-wrestler Bobby Lashley (10-2-0), Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal (12-4-0), Patrcio Pitbull (21-2-0), Pat Curran (20-5-0) and former UFC heavyweight Cheick Kongo (21-9-2).
But it is the large number of Connecticut-based fighters on the card that should generate interest.
Spokespersons for Bellator confirmed that none of the show’s on that evening’s card will be part of the tournament structure that the organization has formerly used.
The main card, which will air on Spike TV, includes a featherweight bout between Pitbull and Curran. King Mo will fight Tom DeBlass (9-2-0) in a light heavyweight bout. Lashley will fight Josh Burns (8-7-0) in a heavyweight bout. Another heavyweight bout will pit Kongo against Lavar Johnson (18-9-0).
But it is the preliminary card tentatively airing on spike.com that should interest Connecticut MMA fans.
Bellator tournament veterans Matt Bessette (13-5-0) of Hartford and Brennan Ward (9-2-0) of Waterford will fight that evening along with Groton’s Josh Diekman (14-5), who previously fought on two Bellator preliminary cards and is currently on a two-win streak.
Bessette, who fought in Bellator’s Season 11 featherweight tournament, will fight Scott Cleve (14-4-0). Ward, who won Bellator’s Season 10 middleweight tournament before losing to middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko (50-8-0) earlier this year, will fight Tamdan McCrery (11-3-0)
Bellator spokpersons stated that Diekman’s heavyweight fight with Mike Wessell (14-7-0) will open the event. They lauded Diekman’s wins, which they added have all been finishes, and Wessell’s eight knockouts (including six in the first round).
Other Connecticut fighters on the card include Andrew Calandrelli (6-4-0) of New Haven, Blair Tugman (5-5-0) of North Haven and Mark Griffin (3-3-1).
Calandrelli will fight Lucas Cruz (7-2-0) in a lightweight bout. Griffin will fight Mike Mucitelli in a light heavyweight bout. Tugman will fight Brandon Fleming (3-2-0) in a bantamweight bout.
Marvin Maldonado (1-1-0) who defeated Mico De Los Reyes (0-2-0) by a first-round armbar submission at Reality Fighting’s Jan.4 event at Mohegan Sun, will fight Rico Disciullo.
The rest of the preliminary card includes; Pete Rogers Jr. (1-1-0) and Phillipe Martins (0-1-0) in a featherweight fight; Perry Filkins (8-1-0) and Dan Cramer (10-4-0) in a middleweight fight; and Steve Garcia (4-0-0) and Kin Moy (4-0-0) in a bantamweight fight.
Nutmegmma.com will post further details on our site and blog as they become available.
(Editor’s note: all fighter statistics provided by Bellator MMA).