It is time for the Bellator summer series to kick off this weekend, this year’s featuring a light heavyweight tournament spread over the three shows in three months. BFC 71 starts the series June 22nd at the Mountaineer Casino in Chester, WV with an undercard webcast on Spike.com and a live broadcast of the main card on MTV2.
UFC vet Travis Wiuff may not be the most exciting fighter in mainstream fans’ opinion but he is one of the most effective light heavyweights with only one loss in the past three years (or thirteen fights). In a non-title fight Wiuff already defeated BFC champion Christian M’Pumbu and followed it up with a win over Anthony Gomez, both by unanimous decision. Wiuff’s opponent is arguably more well-rounded than the ground-and-pound Wiuff but he is coming off a loss to M’Pumbu in the LHW quarterfinals of the tournament which M’Pumbu won.
Arguably the most interesting prospect in this tournament is Zelg Galesic, the fighter known as “Little Cro-Cop” who is mainly known for his career at middleweight. Galesic’s sole Bellator fight so far was a loss to Alexander Shlemenko in the quarterfinals of the 2011 middleweight tournament but he has since picked up a KO of Doug Marshall in SFL at light heavyweight. Atilla Vegh however is considered an underdog to mainstream fans however his 25-4 record including five wins in a row most recently with a split decision over Dan Spohn indicate this will be no easy fight.
Filling out the tournament Richard Hale takes on Beau Tribolet and Roy Boughton faces Emanuel Newton.
Also of note on this show is the BFC debut of Strikeforce/EliteXC vet Brett Rogers. After losing to Josh Barnett in the Strikeforce HW grand prix last June Rogers picked up a loss to Eddie Sanchez in TFC and a “no contest” to Todd Allee in February dipping Rogers to 11-4-1 overall. Now the former star takes on 15-1 Kevin Asplund, a respected up-and-comer on a fifteen-fight win streak who just hasn’t faced someone the stature of Rogers to be truly tested.
LW: E.J. Brooks vs. Joey Holt
MW: Chris Goldbaugh vs. Kevin Zalac
FW: Neil Johnson vs. Brylan Van Artsdalen
HW: Jason Butcher vs. Duane Bastress
LHW: Tim Carpenter vs. John Hawk
LHW: Dan Spohn vs. Josh Stansbury
HW: Brett Rogers vs. Kevin Asplund
LHW: Roy Boughton vs. Emanuel Newton
LHW: Richard Hale vs. Beau Tribolet
LHW: Zelg Galesic vs. Attila Vegh
LHW: Travis Wiuff vs. Chris Davis