Bellator’s first Summer Series event of 2013 will feature the semifinals of the promotion’s four-man light heavyweight tournament, a source close to the event Wednesday told Sherdog.com.
Bellator 96 takes place June 19 at Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla., and will feature the return of “King” Mo Lawal as part of the 205-pound tournament draw. MMAFighting.com initially brought word of Lawal’s participation in the event, and Sherdog.com has verified that Renato “Babalu” Sobral is also slated to compete in the light heavyweight semis. Opponents have not been revealed for either man.
Bellator has traditionally hosted eight-man tournaments to crown title challengers, but the Viacom-owned promotion recently announced that three four-man brackets will be contested over the course of three Summer Series events this year. As a result, new title challengers in the heavyweight, light heavyweight and bantamweight divisions will be decided prior to the start of Season 9 this fall. Though dates and locations have not been announced for the July and August shows, all three Summer Series events will air live on Spike TV.
Lawal, 32, entered into the Season 8 light heavyweight tournament as the odds-on favorite, only to be knocked out by a slick spinning back fist from Emanuel Newton in the Feb. 21 semifinals. A former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, “King Mo” made his Bellator debut on Jan. 24, knocking out Przemyslaw Mysiala in the first round of their quarterfinal showdown at Bellator 86.
Sobral was ousted from the Season 8 quarterfinals by eventual finalist Mikhail Zayats on Jan. 17, suffering a first-round technical knockout to the Russian at Bellator 85. Another onetime Strikeforce 205-pound king, Sobral has lost three of his last five fights dating back to August 2009, when he relinquished the Strikeforce belt to Gegard Mousasi.