By Mike Calimbas, Editor | Photos by Tami Valentine
King Mo and War Machine Return; Five Texans Featured on Local Undercard
THACKERVILLE, OK, June 19, 2013 – Bellator kicks off their 2013 Summer Series light heavyweight tournament on SPIKE TV tonight after weigh-ins made the event official last evening at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
The season 9 tournament opener at Bellator 96 features Muhammed Lawal in the main event against UFC vet Seth Petruzelli. “King Mo” will look to bounce back from his last loss in this one as he looks to make his way deeper into the tournament after getting KO’d in the semi-final of the last edition by Emanuel Newton.
Also appearing tonight in tournament action is Renato “Babalu” Sobral. He too will be looking to rebound from a KO loss in last fight vs. Mikhail Zayats this past January and will look to do so in the tournament against Jacob Noe.
Meanwhile, Bellator 96 also features the opening round of the heavyweight tournament as well with Ryan Martinez taking on Richard Hale and undefeated Vitaly Minakov taking on Ron Sparks.
Last but not least on the SPIKE TV main card will be the long-awaited return of War Machine. WAR was last seen fighting here in Texas when he TKO’d former Austin resident Roger Huerta way back at UWF 1 in November 2011. He’ll be taking on WEC veteran Blas Avena in non-tournament action for his Bellator debut.
As for Texans in action, the lone star state has a heavy presence on the Bellator 96 undercard with no less than five Texans set to compete.
Leading off will be DFW’s Derek Campos (10-3) who’ll look to notch his second straight win versus Minnesota native Brandon Girtz (8-2). Next up, 35 year old Palestine native Jeremiah O’Neal (12-21) faces off against another Minnesotan in Raphael Butler (5-0).
Up next will be a battle of Dallas-based fighters when Octagon MMA’s Damon Jackson (5-0) locks horns with Team Mohler’s one-handed sensation Keith Miner (5-4) in both men’s Bellator debuts.
Finally in the last bout of the prelims, undefeated Azle native Chas Skelly (10-0) makes his own Bellator debut as he takes on as he takes on North Carolina native Jarrod Card (13-6) in a bid to go eleven and zero in his MMA career thus far.
You can watch the preliminary card and see all these Texans in action starting at 6PM/5PM Central on www.bellator.com.
See the full card and weigh-in results below.
Bellator 96 Card and Weigh-in Results
Muhammed Lawal (205.2) vs. Seth Petruzelli (204.8)
Renato Sobral (204.4) vs. Jacob Noe (206)
Vitaly Minakov (246) vs. Ron Sparks (264.6)
War Machine (170) vs. Blas Avena (170)
Rich Hale (240.1) vs. Ryan Martinez (263.8)
Chas Skelly (145.9) vs. Jarrod Card (145.7)
Cortez Coleman (185.6) vs. Keith Berry (190)
Mike Maldonado (135.8) vs. Chavous Smith (137.7)
Damon Jackson (154.8) vs. Keith Miner (155.8)
Raphael Butler (261) vs. Jeremiah O’Neal (260.5)
Brandon Halsey (205) vs. Joe Yager (205.5)
Brandon Girtz (155.7) vs. Derek Campos (159.2)
Steven Artoff (138.8) vs. Justin McNally (135.4)