These first two weeks as a part of the Viacom family have been rather good to the Bellator Fighting Championships. They’ve enjoyed their highest ratings while presenting their star champions to the fight public. This weekend they have a different challenge as their fight card features names that would be unknown to some hardcore fans let alone the mainstream public.
The lightweight tournament is the focus of Bellator 87 and includes faces of fighters that will be hard to place for many. While there isn’t a title fight as the main event, a number of interesting and stylistically exciting fights have been created.
Patricky Freire looks to take steps towards a title shot at 155 and correct the mistakes that led to two losses in a row as he faces off against Guillaume Delorenzi. Freire has faced some of the best names available in Bellator but hasn’t been able to defeat them at this point. In 2012 he was stopped twice; knocked out by Eddie Alvarez and submitted by Lloyd Woodard, who is also in this season’s lightweight tournament.
Riding a five-fight win streak across four years, Delorenzi is looking to become the next big Canadian MMA competitor. At 28 years old he’s been active across region promotions in North America which has kept him from facing some of the top talent. The most prominent MMA name he’s faced was War Machine in 2009 who gave him his only loss to date.
Russia and Brazil will face off once again in the Bellator cage as Alexander Sarnavskiy will fight Thiago Michel Pereira Silva. In what will be both individuals third Bellator performance, they are looking to return to the winner’s side of the ledger. Sarnavskiy will put his submission based attack against Thiago’s violent striking that has awarded him 10 of 11 victories by some form of knockout stoppage.
David Rickels versus Lloyd Woodard is the third advertised lightweight bout and while it has been promoted as a slugfest, these two fighters have been known to use grappling to finish their bouts more often. A combined 13 of their 23 fights have ended by tap out, but that hasn’t stopped these two from being willing to stand in the pocket and exchange. Woodard was defeated by last season’s winner Rick Hawn while Rickels is making the drop down from fighting in the welterweight tournament.
This Thursday will be Bellator’s third time performing on their new home of Spike TV. The first two events were packed with the biggest names the promotion has to offer, so this show has a staunch test in front of them in order to keep the momentum going for the BFC.