Ironically, heavyweight is one of the thinnest divisions in MMA despite boasting the largest athletes. In an ongoing quest to help develop new talent and create stars, Bellator has announced a four-man tournament attached to this year’s Summer Series featuring a few familiar names in addition to up-and-coming talent.
According to a press release from the promotion, the brackets will pit unbeaten Russian Vitaly Minakov (10-0) against the heavy-handed Ron Sparks (8-1) and put seasoned veteran Rich Hale (21-5) opposite 6’7” Vinicius de Queiroz (6-3). The quartet of competitors will all see action on June 19 at Bellator 96.
“I want everyone to know that I’m not here just to ‘take part’ in a Bellator Tournament, but to win it all and become a Bellator Champion,” said Minakov of the opportunity in front of him.
Opponent Sparks had similar sentiments to share, explaining, “Everyone knows I’m looking stand in that cage and throw bombs, no questions asked. I think the heavyweight tournament is going to be awesome. I am looking forward to it being a four-man tournament. It will give the fighters more opportunities to fight and I want my shot at the title.”
The event will also host a light heavyweight tournament featuring the likes of Mo Lawal and Renato Sobral, as well as a title-fight between lightweight champion Michael Chandler and submission specialist Dave Jansen.
Fans can catch the heavyweight action on Spike TV with things kicking off at a special start time of 7:00 PM EST.
PHOTO CREDIT – BELLATOR