Bellator MMA will head to head to Oregon for the first time on Sept. 27, when the Viacom-owned promotion holds Bellator 101 from Portland’s Rose Garden.
The event will feature the opening round of Bellator’s Season 9 lightweight tournament, which will see Marcus Davis, Will Brooks, Saad Awad and Rob Sinclair take on Alexander Sarnavskiy, John Alessio, Martin Stapleton and Rich Clementi, respectively. The evening’s main draw airs live on Spike TV, while the preliminary card streams on Spike.com.
Nearly a 10-year pro, Davis made his Bellator debut earlier this year after a lengthy career in the UFC, fighting Waachiim Spiritwolf to a no-contest after accidentally kneeing his foe in the groin. Sarnavskiy, meanwhile, has tasted defeat just once in 24 pro outings. Following his Season 7 elimination at the hands of Clementi, the 24-year-old submitted Thiago Michel Pereira Silva in January to advance in the Season 8 draw before withdrawing from the bracket due to injury.
Brooks was handed his first loss in the Season 8 semis, suffering a 43-second knockout courtesy of Saad Awad. Prior to that defeat, Brooks had won nine straight fights. In Alessio, the prospect faces a seasoned pro with 15 years of fighting experience. The UFC veteran last competed in November, fighting Dave Mazany to a no-contest after sustaining a first-round eye poke.
After knocking out his first two tournament opponents, Awad saw his Cinderalla run in Season 8 halted by David Rickels, who scored a second-round technical knockout over Awad in the March 28 finals. Stapleton, meanwhile, rides an eight-fight winning streak into his Bellator debut. The Brit owns seven of his 12 wins by stoppage and has never been knocked out in 13 pro bouts.
Another English talent, Sinclair, 33, has won five straight fights heading into his Bellator debut, most recently edging UFC vet Andre Winner in a split decision at BAMMA 10. Clementi now returns to the cage after announcing his retirement last November on the heels of a second-round submission loss to Marcin Held at Bellator 81.
“I am so excited to have the chance to compete again,” Clementi said in the official release. “I made an official retirement a few months ago and was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. The last few years of competing, I’ve been running on four flat tires, but after being under treatment for the last three months, my body is responding well. Fighting is who I am, and the thought of not being able to do that was devastating. I am so excited to get back in the cage and show people what I am made of.”