Bellator Sets ‘Summer Series’ Featherweight Tourney Matchups

By: Chris Nelson
May 23, 2011
Two days after concluding its fourth season, Bellator Fighting Championships on Monday announced the quarterfinal pairings for its “Summer Series” featherweight tournament.

The Chicago-based promotion’s latest 145-pound bracket will kick off June 25 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla. The MTV2-televised Bellator 46 will include all four quarterfinals in the featherweight field.

One of Bellator’s most high-profile free agent signings, Marlon Sandro (Pictured; file photo), will make his promotional debut against countryman Genair da Silva, known on the Brazilian circuit as “Junior PQD.” Sandro, the former featherweight champ of Japan’s Sengoku organization, has won three of his last four starts via knockout, while “Junior” has won five in a row.

“I am coming to the United States to become a world champion,” Sandro stated in a release. “I see Bellator as the place to really make a name for myself here in the U.S. I’m here to put on great fights, entertain the fans, and fight my way to the Bellator featherweight world championship.”

Second-season lightweight tournament winner Pat Curran will return to featherweight following a five-round decision loss to Bellator 155-pound king Eddie Alvarez in April. Curran, who had won four in a row prior to meeting Alvarez, will take on five-time Bellator vet Luis Palomino, himself a winner of three straight.

British standout Ronnie Mann will clash with Adam Schindler in another quarterfinal matchup. After eking out a 25-minute split decision over Douglas Evans in September to claim the Shark Fights featherweight title, Mann made his Bellator debut on April 23, dominating Josh Arocho for a unanimous nod. The Texan Schindler has won six straight, including a two-minute rear-naked choke submission of Kierre Gooch under the Strikeforce banner.

The last of the opening round pairings features fourth-season tournament participant Nazareno Malegarie squaring off against Arizonian Jacob Devree. Malegarie, an Argentinian who fights out of Brazil, was 19-0 with 17 finishes before running up against eventual tourney finalist Daniel Straus in March. Devree is also once-beaten, holding a mark of 10-1, with rear-naked choke wins in four of his last seven outings.

Additionally, Bellator’s June 25 card will feature a local middleweight tilt between Josh Samman and Mike Bernhard, and a women’s attraction pitting Jessica Aguilar against Carla Esparza. Also set for action against an opponent to-be-named is recent heavyweight signing Tony Johnson Jr.

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