The Summer Series continues for Bellator MMA as the promotion returns to Albuquerque Wednesday, July 31st as the Santa Ana Star Center will play host to reigning Bellator Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren defending his title against Russian phenom Andrey Koreshkov live on Spike TV. The night will also feature the long awaited conclusion to the Bellator Welterweight Tournament Finals as Douglas Lima takes faces Ben Saunders in a second epic battle, while featherweights collide as Patricio Pitbull returns to battle Rob Emerson.
The event has a special early start time and will broadcast LIVE starting at 5:00 p.m. MST on Spike. The preliminary card will be streamed LIVE and FREE on Spike.com starting at 4:00 p.m. MST. Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased at ComcastTix.com or by visiting the Santa Ana Star Center Box Office with tickets starting at just $25 dollars.
Askren comes to Albuquerque sporting a spotless 11-0 record and is regarded as one of the best welterweights in the world. The former US Olympian has continued to impress during his illustrious career with Bellator, and will be looking to add another title defense to his resume with a huge victory on July 31st from the Santa Ana Star Center.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back into that cage and putting on a show,” Askren said. “I feel like I’ve continued to mature and get better in every one of my fights, and July 31st should be no different. I don’t think Andrey has any ability to stop my wrestling and ground attack, so this will be another successful title defense.”
Only 22, Koreshkov had a 2012 to remember as the Russian knockout artist was 5-0 over the year, including a tournament run that featured victories over Jordan Smith, Marius Zaromskis and Lyman Good.
“I’ll be 110% ready for this fight,” Koreshkov said. “I’ll make sure that Askren’s tactics to put everybody in the audience to sleep won’t work this time. Instead, I’ll keep everybody entertained by putting him to sleep.”
After two devastating knockout victories on his way to the Bellator Welterweight Tournament Finals, Douglas Lima is ready to collect his second Tournament Championship with a victory over Ben “Killa B” Saunders July 31st. Originally schedule for March of 2013, Lima suffered a fractured hand that delayed the fight, but is fully healed and ready to capture his $100,000 prize and shot at the Bellator Welterweight Championship.
“It’s an honor to fight a fighter like Ben again,” Lima said. “With the time off I’ve been able to fully heal to 100% and like always, will be looking to finish the fight early.”
For Saunders, the South Florida native is looking to avenge his 2011 Tournament Finals loss to Lima with a signature finish and finally achieve the title shot that has since evaded him.
“Quite simply, it’s about damn time Douglas and I get back into the cage,” Saunders said. “July 31st can’t get here soon enough. Can’t wait.”
The night will also feature the return of fan favorite and top featherweight Patrico Pitbull, as the Brazilian striker will battle California native Rob “The Saint” Emerson. After suffering just the second loss in his dominating career to the hands of reigning Bellator Featherweight Champion Pat Curran, Pitbull is eager to get back to his winning ways.
“I’m very motivated to get back in the cage, and I feel that I still haven’t left totally removed myself from my fight with Curran, a lot of me is still in the fight,” Pitbull said. “But it’s gone now and I have a tough opponent ahead, I’ll be going stronger for this next challenge and doesn’t matter how tough my opponents will be I will be stronger than I was! It’s great to know I’m back.”
“Our first event in Albuquerque was a huge success,” Rebney said. “With a Welterweight Title fight, the conclusion of our Welterweight Tournament, and a stacked fight card top to bottom, we’re looking at another huge night of fights July 31st live on Spike.”
For more information, visit Bellator.com, follow Bellator on Twitter @BellatorMMA, follow Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney @BjornRebney and check out Bellator on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BellatorMMA