Yahoo: Catching up with Bellator: Locations, matchups and a heavyweight

Clark Kent

<B>News Bot</B>
Sep 11, 2006
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03-01-2010 11:23 AM:

Bellator's season premiere is April 8, and if you're not excitedabout their upcoming tournaments, you will be by the end of this post.They've been on an announcement spree. Here are the highlights.

Signings:Bellator has picked up lightweight Carey Vanier, middleweight EricSchambari, featherweights Shad Lierley and Eric Marriott, welterweightsRyan Thomas and Brett Cooper and re-signed Wilson Reis.

But their biggest signing -- both literally and figuratively -- is heavyweight Cole Konrad. When I spoke with Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebneyin January, he mentioned that the promotion plans on expanding toheavyweight and light heavyweights, and Konrad is an excellentaddition.

He's not only Brock Lesnar's training partner, butKonrad was a two-time national champion wrestler for the University ofMinnesota. (Lesnar had one national championship.) A strong andpowerful wrestler, his skills should transfer well to MMA, where hisrecord is 2-0.

Another heavyweight during that same time? CainVelasquez. Konrad beat Velasquez in the semifinals of the 2006 NCAAchampionships.

Matchups: Bellator also announced the opening bouts for their welterweight and featherweight tournaments.

Welterweight:Ben Askren (3-0) vs. Ryan Thomas (10-3); Dan Hornbuckle (19-2) vs. SeanPierson (9-4); Jacob McClintock (6-0) vs. &ldquo;Judo&rdquo; Jim Wallhead (18-5)and Steve Carl (12-1) vs. Brett Cooper (12-5)

Featherweight:Joe Warren (2-1) vs. Eric Marriott (17-2); Georgi Karakhanyan (12-1-1)vs. Bao Quach (17-9-1); Wilson Reis (9-1) vs. Shad Lierley (5-2) andPatricio Pitbull (12-0) vs. William Romero (5-0)

Also, anon-tournament bout between former UFC fighter Josh Neer and season onelightweight champion Eddie Alvarez some time in May.

Locations:For many of you, Bellator is coming to a theater or arena near you.(That includes me!) The promotion is headed to Kansas City, Mo. (April29, June 24, August 26, 2010 and October 14), Chicago (April 15 andAugust 19), Boston (May 6 and October 21) and Florida (April 8). Datesand locations will continue to be announced, so continue to check withCagewriter for more information.

Yahoo! Sports.
Cagewriter is an MMA blog edited by Steve Cofield.