A welterweight title fight between Ben Askren and Karl Amoussou will top Bellator’s sophomore effort on Spike TV.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney made the announcement Tuesday during a media conference call. In addition to the 170-pound championship contest, Bellator 86 will also feature appearances from tournament vets Douglas Lima and Ben Saunders, as well as the Bellator debut of former Strikeforce champion Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal.
The Jan. 24 event takes place at Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla., located roughly 80 miles north of Dallas. The evening’s Thursday-night main draw broadcast airs live at 10 p.m. ET on Spike TV following a two-hour Impact Wrestling telecast. Bellator’s eighth season features tournaments in five weight divisions and kicks off the previous week with Bellator 85 at the UCI Bren Events Center in Irvine, Calif.
Unbeaten through his first 10 fights, Askren, 28, won Bellator’s welterweight title just over two years ago, outpointing then-champion Lyman Good at Bellator 33 after winning the promotion’s Season 2 tournament. “Funky” has since defended his title twice, edging Season 4 winner Jay Hieron last year before snatching a clear-cut unanimous verdict from Season 5 champ Douglas Lima this past April at Bellator 64.
Amoussou, meanwhile, captured the Season 6 tournament crown in July, when he pulled off a spectacular inverted heel hook against fellow finalist Bryan Baker at Bellator 72. “Psycho” has won his last four fights, topping Chris Lozano and David Rickels to advance in the Season 6 draw. The M-1 challenge alum owns nine of his 16 career victories via submission and has been stopped just once in his six years as a pro.