Bellator Fighting Championships will debut on Spike TV with a pair of title fights, as Michael Chandler defends his lightweight championship against Rick Hawn in the Bellator 85 main event.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney announced the news during a Tuesday conference call, also revealing that the Jan. 17 main card will open with a featherweight title bout pitting reigning champion Pat Curran against Season 4 winner Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. The show takes place at UCI Bren Events Center in Irvine, Calif., and the evening’s two-hour main draw airs live at 10 p.m. ET following Impact Wrestling.
A welterweight tournament showdown between War Machine and Paul Daley was initially voted for by fans to open the show, but an injury to War Machine has delayed that booking. In addition to the bouts at the top and bottom of the card, Bellator 85 will also see UFC veteran Renato “Babalu” Sobral make his promotional debut in a tournament bout alongside Seth Petruzelli and Jason Lambert, and Season 8 will feature tournaments in five weight categories ranging from featherweight to light heavyweight.
Previously, Bellator aired Friday nights on Viacom sister network MTV2, but Thursday night will now be the promotion’s home moving forward on Spike TV. The organization had initially reserved a Jan. 10 date in Atlantic City to kick off its eighth season, but that plan was ultimately scrapped.