Marlon Sandro To Be A Part Of Bellator’s Season Eight Featherweight Tournament
MMA Junkie reports that Marlon Sandro (23-4 MMA, 6-2 BFC) will lead Bellator’s season eight featherweight tournament that begins at Bellator 88. The two-time tournament finalist will face Akop Stepanyan (12-4 MMA, 0-1 BFC).
The event takes place on February 7 at The Arena at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia. The main card airs on Spike TV at 10 PM ET after preliminary fights on Spike.com at 8 PM. The card also features Maiquel Falcao (31-7 MMA, 3-0 BFC) vs Alexander Shlemenko (46-7 MMA, 7-1 BFC) for the vacant middleweight title.
Sandro has been to the finals twice. At Bellator 48 he lost to current champion Pat Curran, who went on to win the belt. At Bellator 68, he lost to Daniel Straus via unanimous decision, who will face Curran later this year after Curran’s win over Patricio “Pitbull” Freire earlier this month. Sandro’s last win was over Dustin Neace in November. His four losses came to Curran, Straus, Michihiro Omigawa and Hatsu Hioki, and only Curran was by stoppage. Stepanyan lost his Bellator debut in October to Wagnney Fabiano in the first round in the season 7 featherweight tournament. It ended a 12-fight win streak. His career was 0-3 before the 12 fight run.
Sandro said: “There is nothing in this world I want more than the Bellator featherweight title, and this is my road. I love Bellator with all my heart and I know my opportunity is now.“
The winner of Sandro/Stepanyan will meet the winner of Fabricio Guerreiro (17-1 MMA, 0-0 BFC) vs. Magomedrasul “Frodo” Khasbulaev (18-5 MMA, 2-0 BFC). Guerreiro will make his debut after a five fight win streak, all of which were stoppages. Fifteen of his seventeen wins came by stoppage, including 12 submissions. Khasbulaev has won twice in a row, both of them stoppages. These include a 24-second TKO in his debut in October.
The other side of the bracket features Alexandre “Popo” Bezerra (14-2 MMa, 6-1 BFC) vs Genair da Silva (13-4 MMA, 2-1 BFC). Bezerra has won 9 out of his last 10 fights, his only loss was to Sandro in April during the season six featherweight tournament. Da Silva won three straight ever since losing in his debut in June 2011 to Sandro.
The winner will meet the winner of Mike Richman (13-2 MMA, 2-1 BFC) vs Mitch Jackson (19-2 MMA, 0-0 BFC). Richman was on a four-fight win-streak before a first round TKO loss to Shahbulat Shamhalaev in November. It was his first Bellator loss. Jackson is currently on a seven-fight win streak, all of which were submissions. 13 of his 19 wins were by submission.
The winner of the tournament gets $100,000 and a shot at the title.