Mitrione-Kharitonov 2 headlines Bellator 225

Bellator will hold the first-ever MMA event at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. on Saturday, August 24 when Matt Mitrione (13-6, 1 NC) squares off against Sergei Kharitonov (28-6, 2 NC) in a heavyweight headliner.

Just six months after the pair of heavyweight sluggers first met, the rematch will take place just 75 miles south of Uncasville’s Mohegan Sun at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. The card will be overseen by the Connecticut Boxing Commission.

Hailing from Indianapolis, Matt Mitrione will once again lace up the gloves in a main event against Kharitonov after an inadvertent shot put an abrupt end to their first matchup at Bellator 215 this past February. The former Purdue University and New York Giant football standout is fresh off a strong run in Bellator’s Heavyweight World Grand Prix, where the knockout artist advanced all the way to the semifinal round after defeating Roy Nelson. With victories in four of his last five contests, including a highlight-reel first round knockout of Fedor Emelianenko, Mitrione will now focus on writing the second chapter of his story with Kharitonov.

Riding a seven-fight unbeaten streak, including four first-round finishes and three knockouts, Sergei “The Paratrooper” Kharitonov returns to the U.S. after an unfortunate end to the pair’s first meeting. Now, the Moscow-native will seek to add another name to his list of victories amassed in well-known promotions around the globe, such as Pride and Strikeforce, and against equally dominant fighters, including Roy Nelson, Fabricio Werdum, Andrei Arlovski, Murilo “Ninja” Rua and Alistair Overeem.

Quickly re-watch Mitrione and Kharitonov’s first meeting here.

 

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Complete card announced for Bellator 221

A total of 15 bouts for the anticipated Bellator 221: Chandler vs. Pitbull have been confirmed, as Bellator MMA returns to the “Windy City” and the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. this Saturday, May 11 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT for an event streamed exclusively on DAZN.

The star-studded card is headlined by a lightweight world championship bout pitting current 155-pound titleholder Michael Chandler (19-4) against Bellator featherweight world champPatricio “Pitbull” (28-4) in a heated grudge match, as Chandler attempts to become the first fighter ever to defeat both Pitbull Brothers, while Patricio attempts to become a rare simultaneous two-division champion.

In addition, the co-main event features former two-time Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima (30-7) and undefeated British phenom Michael “Venom” Page (14-0) in a Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix semi-final matchup that carries them into the finals and a chance at a hefty one million dollar bonus for the tournament winner.

Bellator 221: Chandler vs. Pitbull will stream live exclusively on DAZN, the fastest-growing sports streaming service in the world, at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com and globally on the Bellator Mobile App at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. Limited tickets remain available at the Allstate Arena box office, as well as Ticketmaster.com and Bellator.com.

Also competing on the main card is top featherweight prospect A.J. McKee (13-0), as he prepares to face the promotion’s former 145-pound champion Pat Curran (23-7) on the Crystal Lake, Illinois-fighter’s home turf. Also, former WWE champion Jake Hager (1-0), previously known as “Jack Swagger,” is set to make his second Bellator appearance, as he looks to build on his early dominance when he meets T.J. Jones (1-1). Rounding out the main card will be the always-entertaining Tywan Claxton (4-0), who looks to remain undefeated against James Bennett (4-1) of Milwaukee.

Preliminary action for Bellator 221: Chandler vs. Pitbull begins at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT and will see a featherweight contest that pits Chicago’s Adil Benjilany (5-1, 1 NC) against submission specialist Cris Lencioni (4-2), as well as the promotional debut of Greco-Roman wrestling prospect Chris Gonzalez (1-0).

Complete Bellator 221: Chandler vs. Pitbull Main Card:

Lightweight World Title Bout: Michael Chandler (19-4) vs. Patricio “Pitbull” (28-4)

Welterweight World Grand Prix Semi-Final: Douglas Lima (30-7) vs. Michael “Venom” Page (14-0)

Featherweight Main Card Bout: A.J. McKee (13-0) vs. Pat Curran (23-7)

Heavyweight Main Card Bout: Jake Hager (1-0) vs. T.J. Jones (1-1)

Featherweight Main Card Bout: Tywan Claxton (4-0) vs. James Bennett (4-1)

Preliminary Card:

Featherweight Undercard Bout: Adil Benjilany (5-1, 1 NC) vs. Cris Lencioni (4-2)

Lightweight Undercard Bout: Chris Gonzalez (1-0) vs. Charlie Radtke (2-1)

Bantamtweight Undercard Bout: Bryan Bautista (1-0) vs. Rob Fenicle (1-0)

Lightweight Undercard Bout: Adam Ward (18-11) vs. Amartuvshin Khuukhenkhuu (9-4)

Bantamweight Undercard Bout: Jose Leon (Pro Debut) vs. Christian Rodriguez (Pro Debut)

Bantamweight Undercard Bout: Askar Askar (9-0) vs. Taylor Moore (9-4)

Light Heavyweight Undercard Bout: James Bochnovic (9-4) vs. Robert Morrow (28-24-1, 1 NC)

Heavyweight Undercard Bout: Dave Latoria (Pro Debut) vs. Jason Belyew (0-1)

Featherweight Undercard Bout: Joey Diehl (12-9) vs. Jesse Bazzi (9-6)

Welterweight Undercard Bout: Scott Writz (2-0) vs. Josh Streacker (5-2)

 

Rory MacDonald: ‘I am not retiring from my professional MMA career’

Two title fights are confirmed for Bellator’s return to Madison Square Garden on Friday, June 14 – an event to be streamed exclusively on DAZN.

Bellator 222: Machida vs. Sonnen will see current Bellator welterweight world champion Rory MacDonald (20-5-1) put his title on the line in the semi-finals of the Welterweight World Grand Prix against the unbeaten Renzo Gracie-trained Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Neiman Gracie (9-0). In addition, Darrion Caldwell (13-2) will defend his Bellator bantamweight world title against Rizin Fighting Federation’s bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi (27-2) in a true “champion vs. champion” matchup, following a Horiguchi submission victory when the two met in Rizin’s ring this past December.

The event also includes two of the sport’s biggest names in Lyoto Machida (25-8) and Chael Sonnen (31-16-1) headlining the card in a light heavyeight bout, who will finally meet after years of parallel MMA careers. Additionally, a 175-pound catchweight contest between polarizing grappling ace Dillon Danis (1-0) and Max Humphrey (3-2) is scheduled, while Heather Hardy (2-1), fresh off two boxing wins in 2018 to remain undefeated at 22-0, is ready to return to the site of her mixed martial arts debut and bring her exciting style back to the Bellator cage against a soon-to-be-announced opponent.

Caldwell, a 31-year-old Rahway, N.J.-native and the current Bellator bantamweight champion, has emerged as one of the most well-rounded fighters in the world, collecting 10 victories since signing with Bellator in 2013. The 2009 NCAA D-1 National Champion wrestler from NC State boasts a resume that includes five first-round finishes, a 25-minute war against Eduardo Dantas to claim the world title and a textbook guillotine choke submission victory over Leandro Higo in his first career title defense last year. Caldwell will look to avenge his submission loss when he enters the cage against Kyoji Horiguchi in June at MSG.

Bellator welterweight world champion Rory MacDonald shared these words about his upcoming bout:

“I want to take the time to thank everybody who had the chance to see my fight last weekend and share that candid moment I had in the Bellator cage with John McCarthy.

“I felt an internal struggle during the fight I never experienced before. I have always enjoyed my time in the cage by expressing my techniques in full out combat against another top-level fighter, but this time I wasn’t enjoying it. It felt more like a job than the satisfaction I am used to feeling by being dominant and applying what I have practiced to defeat someone.”

“Even during my dominant moments, I felt I was completing a task and these feelings were a bit confusing to me because it’s new. I used to fight with anger I held within myself from pain I had experienced in my past. To be honest, I believe this comes from my heart changing as I’m walking a new life as a Christian. The Lord has given me peace and freedom from the pain that haunted me in my heart from my younger years. I would only satisfy myself for a short period of time from winning fights until the feeling would resonate in me again. So, now I don’t feel the same emotions I have in the past while competing.

“I still and will always have a passion for martial arts and do not believe, as a Christian, that it’s wrong for myself to compete in a professional sport that is violent. In fact, I’m happy to testify about being a Christian on this platform I’ve been given.

“To be clear, I am not retiring from my professional MMA career, I’ve always been true and honest in the sport and I spoke from the heart.

“As for my career at the moment. I am going to move forward in this tournament and compete boldly against Neiman Gracie in New York at MSG on June 14.

“Thank you for your support and all the kind messages I’ve received after this sentimental moment I had for all to see after 14 years of being in this sport.”

Neiman Gracie has laced up the Bellator gloves seven times in his nine-fight professional career, but no victory has been as impressive as his most recent win against Ed Ruth in the opening round of the Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix. With the submission win over Ruth, the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt has now submitted opponents in five straight contests, including a submission win over Dave Marfone that took place during Bellator’s inaugural event at MSG, Bellator NYC. Now, with championship gold on the line, Gracie looks to keep his streak alive and take home the upset victory in his hometown.

Photos: Bellator 216 weigh-in

Bellator 216: MVP vs. Daley takes place tomorrow Saturday, February 16, at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The event will air live on DAZN at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Complete Bellator 216 Weigh-in Results:

Welterweight World Grand Prix Matchup: Michael Page (170) vs. Paul Daley (170)

Heavyweight Co-Main Event: Mirko Cro Cop (234.5) vs. Roy Nelson (259.5)

Heavyweight Main Card Bout: Cheick Kongo (236) vs. Vitaly Minakov (240.5)

Welterweight Main Card Bout: Yaroslav Amasov (169.75) vs. Erick Silva (170)

Women’s Flyweight Main Card Bout: Valerie Loureda (123.5) vs. Colby Fletcher (122.25)

Preliminary Card:

Heavyweight Preliminary Bout: Tyrell Fortune (246.25) vs. Ryan Pokryfky (250)

Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Patrick Casey (155.75) vs. Nekruz Mirkhojaev (154)

Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius De Jesus (171) vs. Rodolpho Barcellos (169.5)

165-Pound Catchweight Bout: Kemran Lachinov (166) vs. Kastriot Xhema (165)

Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Reginaldo Felix (185) vs. Justin Sumter (185.5)

Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Jesse Kosakowski (168) vs. Rodolfo Rocha (170.5)

Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Demetrius Plaza (169.5) vs. Andrews Rodriguez (169.5)

Photos/courtesy: Bellator

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1.5 million viewers watched Ryan Bader defeat Fedor Emelianenko

Ryan Bader’s stunning first round knockout of Fedor Emelianenko, the greatest heavyweight in MMA history, was witnessed by 1.5 million viewers on Paramount Network last Saturday, January 26. 

Bellator 214: Fedor vs Bader, emanating from the Los Angeles Forum in Los Angeles, was highlighted by the finals of the year-long Bellator World Heavyweight Grand Prix. The stacked card also featured a shocking first-round knockout of rising star Aaron Pico by Henry Corrales that drew 1 million viewers and the professional debut of Jake Hager, who defeated J.W. Kizer via first-round submission, which also tallied 1 million viewers.

Overall, Bellator 214: Fedor vs Bader drew 784,000 viewers (9:00-11:44pm ET) to Paramount Network.

Other significant ratings/digital/social points for Bellator 214:

  • The most-watched Bellator event since Bellator 192on January 20, 2018.
  • The highest-rated Bellator event with adults 18-49 (.6) since Bellator 175 on March 31, 2017.
  • The highest-rated Bellator event with men 18-49 (.73) since Bellator 192.
  • The second most-streamed Bellator event ever (on various Bellator/Paramount mobile platforms).
  • The most-streamed Bellator prelimany card ever.
  • The Ryan Bader knockout was among the most engaged posts in Bellator social media history with over 4 million views on various social platforms including a record number of video views on      Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
  • The week leading into Bellator 214 delivered the second most growth for new followers to Bellator’s social platforms in franchise history.

The ratings do not factor in DAZN viewership.

Photo: Bellator

Bellator and DAZN announce on-air talent for Bellator 206

Bellator 206 will bring together an on-air all-star team including Mauro Ranallo and “Big” John McCarthy calling all the action cageside. Renowned sports broadcaster Jay Glazer will host the desk with expert commentary and analysis from Chael Sonnen and Josh Thomson. Mike Goldberg and Jenn Brown will provide behind-the-scenes updates and breaking news as roving reporters throughout the night. Veteran announcer Michael C. Williams will serve in his customary role as in-cage announcer.

Mauro Ranallo is a versatile and dynamic combat sports broadcaster well-regarded for his excitement, passion and knowledge of combat sports. His lengthy resume includes Showtime Boxing, WWE, Strikeforce, PRIDE, and has the distinction of being the first announcer to call boxing, MMA, kickboxing and professional wrestling. Ranallo joined the Bellator announce team in 2017.  A social activist, his recently released documentary, Bipolar Rock ‘N Roller was met with critical acclaim.

  “Big” John McCarthy was a renowned MMA referee spanning nearly a quarter century, officiating many of the biggest events in the sport’s history. Now McCarthy, in his first year as a broadcaster for Bellator, shares his wealth of knowledge and insight with a global television audience.

Acclaimed NFL Insider at FOX Sports, Jay Glazer will host Bellator’s coverage of Bellator 206. The veteran broadcaster is one of the most recognizable sports personalities on television and possesses a vast understanding of MMA along with owning the popular training facility Unbreakable Performance Center in West Hollywood, Calif. for top-level athletes.

Chael Sonnen, currently a semifinalist in Bellator’s World Heavyweight Grand Prix, is among the most popular and recognizable fighters and personalities in the sport. An All-American wrestler at the University of Oregon, the world-class grappler has fought the biggest names in the history of MMA, from “Rampage” Jackson to Anderson Silva to Jon Jones. A former contestant on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, he has provided MMA commentary for ESPN since 2014, including hosting the weekly show Ariel and the Bad Guy with Ariel Helwani.

Josh Thomson is a former Strikeforce lightweight world champion who joined Bellator in 2015, and won has two of his three fights with the promotion. The exciting and outspoken fighter, known as “The Punk,” also has a budding acting and on-air announcing career.

Mike Goldberg, a popular veteran sports announcer, joined the Bellator announce team in 2017. With over a decade behind the microphone, Goldberg is one of the most recognizable voices in all of MMA. His resume also includes calling nearly 1000 NHL games for the Vancouver Canucks, Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild, play-by-play for SEC, Big Ten, ACC college basketball and football and sideline reporter for the Chicago Bulls.

Jenn Brown joined Bellator in 2017 and is a two-time Emmy-award winner. A former Division I collegiate athlete for the University of Florida, the well-regarded on-air sports reporter has reported from the sidelines of the biggest college football and baseball games for ESPN. Brown was the first female correspondent for Inside the NFL and can be regularly seen covering both boxing and MMA. She spent eight years as a reporter and host for ESPN and sidelined the smash-hit show American Ninja Warrior.

Michael C. Williams has served as the in-ring voice of Bellator since 2010, covering events all over the globe. In is his 19th year as a ring announcer, the well-accomplished announcer has worked events ranging from boxing to marathons with prominent networks including HBO, Showtime, ESPN, Spike/Paramount Network, NBC and CBS, among others.

Mitrione-Bader set for October 12 in Connecticut

The semifinals of the 2018 Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix begin Friday, Oct.12 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. and will feature the return of exciting knockout artist Matt Mitrione (13-5) as he steps inside the Bellator cage against light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader (25-5), who continues his quest to become a two-division world champion.

The event will be broadcast on Paramount Network at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT and will stream LIVE on DAZN, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com and globally on the Bellator Mobile App. Additional bouts will be announced in coming weeks.

 Bellator: Mitrione vs. Bader kicks off the semifinals of Bellator’s 2018 Heavyweight World Grand Prix, which will crown a new Bellator World Heavyweight Champion. On the opposite side of the bracket, Fedor Emelianenko (37-5, 1 NC) is set to square off with Chael Sonnen (31-15-1) at a later date.

 Matt Mitrione entered Bellator’s Heavyweight World Grand Prix fresh off a first-round KO of Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator NYC this past June. Now, following a victory in his first-round matchup with Roy Nelson at Bellator 194, Mitrione advances to meet the always-dangerous Bader. Splitting his training between Indianapolis and Combat Club in South Florida, the Illinois native looks to be in the best shape of his career. Prior to his MMA career, Mitrione was a standout defensive end at Purdue University who subsequently earned his way into the NFL, playing six seasons as a member of the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings. He ultimately found his way into MMA where he became a high-level competitor, defeating the likes of the late Kimbo Slice, Derrick Lewis and Gabriel Gonzaga.

 Ryan Bader will make his fourth appearance for Bellator and the first since his 15-second TKO finish of “King Mo” Lawal at Bellator 199, which served as Bader’s first round pairing in the grand prix. Fighting out of Tempe, Ariz., Bader began his professional career by steamrolling the competition en route to a 12-fight unbeaten streak and winning one of the most competitive seasons of The Ultimate Fighter in 2008. “Darth” continued his path of dominance by collecting 15 victories over some of the 205-pound division’s top talent, including wins over former world champions “Rampage” Jackson, Rashad Evans and Phil Davis twice. The former two-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler from Arizona State University will look to become one step closer to being a current two-division Bellator champion on Oct. 12.

BELLATOR & DAZN SIGN MULTI-YEAR DISTRIBUTION DEAL

Bellator and DAZN, the world’s largest dedicated live sports streaming service and part of Perform Group, today announced a multi-year landmark distribution agreement.

The nine-figure deal will feature seven exclusive stacked fight cards per year on DAZN and another 15 that are simulcast across Paramount Network and DAZN. All fights will stream in any country where DAZN is available. As part of the platform’s global expansion, DAZN will launch in the U.S. and Italy in 2018, with the service already live in Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan.

 “The exciting new partnership with DAZN is a game-changer for Bellator,” said Bellator President Scott Coker. “The investment will enable us to continue expanding our roster with free agents that make sense, so we can put on PPV-worthy fight cards that fans want to see. Plus, on DAZN’s worldwide platform, our fights will be seen live for the first time to new audiences around the globe.”   

 “It’s simple; fans want to see great fighters in competitive fights so we’ve handed the keys to Scott Coker and his venerable team to go out and recruit even more top-level talent to further stack Bellator fight cards and build on their success,” said DAZN CEO James Rushton.  “With the combination of this investment and our recent announcement to bring more than 30 nights of boxing to the platform annually, DAZN will be a must-have for fight fans in the U.S.”

 “The DAZN partnership speaks to the incredible growth of Bellator into a global sports powerhouse and high-valued franchise in the Viacom portfolio,” said Kevin Kay, President, Paramount Network, TV Land and CMT. 

 The deal begins with an epic event on Saturday, Sept. 29 from SAP Center at San Jose. The card features a highly anticipated middleweight title fight pitting Gegard Mousasi (44-6-2) against Rory MacDonald (20-4), who is moving up a weight class for a title shot against the 185-pound champ, along with the fourth fight in the legendary rivalry between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (37-13) and Wanderlei Silva(35-13). 

 Also included on Sept. 29, will be the opening fight of Bellator’s first-ever Welterweight World Grand Prix, which will feature eight of the best welterweight fighters on the planet. The Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix will be a major component of the first year of the multi-year agreement between Bellator and DAZN.

The event will air live on DAZN at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Additional bouts will be announced in the coming weeks.  DAZN, which now streams 15,000 live events and 100 million hours of sports content globally each year, will be available in the U.S. this September with exact pricing and dates being announced this summer.

 Mousasi vs. MacDonald:

 Gegard Mousasi impressed in his promotional debut over former Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko, a win that earned him a shot at Rafael Carvalho, where 185-pound gold was on the line. Now, after a decisive victory against Carvalho at Bellator 200, Mousasi will defend his crown against Rory MacDonald, entering the bout with his current unbeaten streak at seven fights. “The Dreamcatcher,” who trains out of The Netherlands, holds one of the most impressive resumes in all of the sport, at one time winning the STRIKEFORCE light heavyweight title, as well as the DREAM light heavyweight and middleweight titles. 

 Over the last several years, “The Red King” Rory MacDonald has become the most popular Canadian mixed martial artist due to his classic stand-up wars and wins over some of MMA’s best in Paul Daley, Nate Diaz, Tyron Woodley, B.J. Penn and Demian Maia. Bellator’s welterweight champion joined the Viacom-owned promotion in 2016 and went on to defeat Douglas Lima for the welterweight title at Bellator 192. Now, the Tristar Gym-trained fighter sets his sights on winning gold in not one, but two separate weight classes. 

 “Rampage” vs. Silva:

 A six-fight veteran of Bellator, “Rampage” Jackson’s legendary career has seen him compete against some of the top names in the sport, generating a loyal army of fans along the way. The former PRIDE and UFC champion is the proud owner of many epic highlight reel slams and knockouts that he has racked up throughout his epic battles with the likes of Chuck Liddell, Dan Henderson, “King Mo,” Kevin Randleman and, perhaps most-notably, his trilogy with fellow Bellator athlete Wanderlei Silva, who he now meets at heavyweight on Sept. 29

 Wanderlei Silva’s wars with “Rampage,” Tito Ortiz, Mirko Cro Cop, Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson, Kazushi Sakuraba, Chuck Liddell and Michael Bisping remain some of the more memorable bouts in MMA history. “The Axe Murderer” is far from ready to close the book on his illustrious career, returning to action against a man he has already competed against three times before. In addition to the PRIDE middleweight title, Silva’s trophy case includes awards for “Fight of the Year” (2003, 2004, 2007), KO of the Year (2008) and multiple “Fight of the Night” awards. Most recently, the Brazilian native made his Bellator debut against Chael Sonnen in the main event of Bellator: NYC

 

Updated Bellator Fight Card:

Middleweight World Title Bout: Gegard Mousasi (44-6-2) vs. Rory MacDonald (20-4)

Heavyweight Feature Bout: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (37-13) vs. Wanderlei Silva (35-13)

Welterweight World Grand Prix First Round Bout

Haney: ‘The boxing world will see something they’ve never seen a 19-year-old professional boxer do’

Highly regarded undefeated lightweight Devin Haney will face the toughest test of his career in veteran Mason Menard in the 10-round main event of ShoBox: The New Generation Friday, May 11 live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT) from 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.

The 19-year-old Haney, who was a seven-time national junior amateur champion, has been considered a blue-chip prospect since turning professional at the age of 16 in Mexico.  Haney (18-0, 12 KOs) will face by far the toughest opponent of his career in his ShoBoxdebut against Menard (33-2, 24 KOs), a two-time ShoBox veteran whose only loss in nearly a decade came to current WBO Lightweight Champion Ray Beltran.

“The boxing world will see something they’ve never seen a 19-year-old professional boxer do,” Haney said. “I’m intimidating and I know it.  I’m thankful to SHOWTIME and Mason Menard for giving me this opportunity, unfortunately for him, he will get a chance to see first-hand what all the hype is about.  I’ve been sparring with former world champions like Jesse Vargas in preparation for this fight.  The fact that I’m fighting in the main event is bringing out the best in me.  It’s my time to show the world what I’m made of and I’m coming to make a statement in this fight.  Mason Menard is in trouble!”

The young and flashy Haney fights out of Las Vegas, where he has earned a reputation as a prodigy having sparred with Floyd Mayweather, Shawn Porter, Jessie Vargas and Rances Barthelemy.  He compiled an amateur record of 130-8 and received a special exception from the Nevada State Athletic Commission when he was just 17 years old to make his U.S. debut on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley III.

Haney, who is trained and managed by his father, William Haney, has been active since turning pro with nine fights in 2016 and seven in 2017. In his last fight on Nov. 4, he scored a fifth-round TKO against Hamza Sempewo in Atlanta.

Menard had an emphatic win in his ShoBox debut in 2016 with a brutal Knockout of the Year nominee of previously unbeaten Eudy Bernardo.  He returned later that year with a knockout victory of Bahodir Mamadjonov before facing Beltran on short notice.  Prior to the 2016 loss to Beltran, Menard’s only blemish was a 2008 defeat in just his third professional fight.

“It’s a privilege for me to be able return in a fight on national television again,” Menard said.  “My all-around game will be different.  I have a new team, a repaired shoulder and a different outlook on things.  Haney may be undefeated, but he’s never faced anyone like me.  If everyone expects me to fold against an untested prospect they are in for a big surprise.”

After facing Beltran, Menard changed trainers and is now based in Los Angeles with trainers John Pullman and Buddy McGirt.

Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Greg Cohen  Promotions, Devin Haney Promotions & Hard Hitting Promotions, are priced at $125 for VIP, $75 for ringside and $50 for general admission and are available at the 2300 Arena Box office or online at www.HardHittingPromotions.com.

 

Mitrione defeats Nelson; results and photos from Bellator 194

Bellator 194 took place on Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. In the main event, Matt Mitrione defeated Roy Nelson by majority decision. Mitrione moves on to the semifinals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix.

Also, Heather Hardy beat Ana Julaton by unanimous decision; Hardy and Julaton are expected to battle in a boxing match sometime in the near future.

Here are the results and photos from Friday night’s action:

Tywan Claxton (2-0) defeated Jose Perez (0-2) via TKO (elbows) at 3:39 of round two

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Vadim Nemkov (9-2) defeated Liam McGeary (12-3) via TKO (leg kicks) at 4:02 of round three

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Heather Hardy (2-1) defeated Ana Julaton (2-4) via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

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 Patricky “Pitbull” Freire (19-8) defeated Derek Campos (19-7) via TKO (punches) at 2:23 of round one

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 Matt Mitrione (13-5) defeated Roy Nelson (23-15) via majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28

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Pat Casey (1-0) defeated Tyler Hamilton (1-1) via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Kastriot Xhema (2-1) defeated Peter Nascimento (0-1) via TKO (punches) at 3:52 of round one

Marcus Surin (5-1) defeated Dean Hancock (3-2) via submission (arm-triangle choke) at 4:50 of round two

Jarod Trice (3-0) defeated Walter Howard (3-5) via majority decision (28-28, 29-27, 29-27)

Regivaldo Carvalho (5-2) defeated Tom English (6-9) via KO (punches) at :17 of round one

Michael Kimbel (1-0) defeated Geoffrey Then (0-2) via TKO (punches) at 1:03 of round one

Ross Richardson (1-0) defeated Ron Leon (0-1) via TKO (punches) at 1:41 of round two

Photos courtesy of Bellator