Bellator’s ninth season will launch Saturday, Sept. 7, when Bellator 99 takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
The event’s Spike TV broadcast will showcase the welterweight final of “Fight Master: Bellator MMA” and is topped by a middleweight title clash between reigning champion Alexander Shlemenko and Season 8 tournament winner Doug Marshall.
The main draw also features the start of the Season 9 middleweight tournament, as well as the return of former featherweight champion Joe Warren, who takes on Nick Kirk in the bantamweight tournament quarterfinals. The evening’s preliminary card streams live on Spike.com beginning at 6 p.m. ET, while the three-hour main draw telecast kicks off at 8 p.m. ET.
“‘The Baddest Man on The Planet’ is back with Bellator, and I’m already counting down the days until Sept. 7,” Warren said in the official release. “I know what it feels like to have that Bellator belt wrapped around your waist, and I want it back. I’ve got Nick Kirk standing in my way to start the tournament; he’s a tough guy, but nothing is going to get in my way if it means getting back that belt.”
Shlemenko, 29, has not lost in more than two years and rides a 10-fight winning streak into his first title defense. A 54-fight pro and two-time Bellator tournament winner, “Storm” captured the middleweight belt this past February, when he knocked out Maiquel Jose Falcao Goncalves to win the vacant strap at Bellator 88.
Marshall, 36, has gone undefeated since joining Bellator last year, knocking out Andreas Spang in the Season 8 tournament quarterfinals before taking a split decision from Sultan Aliev in the round of four. “The Rhino” then earned his crack at the title with a first-round stoppage of the durable Brett Cooper, knocking out “Fudoshin” with a flurry of punches this past April at Bellator 95.