The first event of Bellator Fighting Championships’ 2012 Summer Series has a date, a venue and a host of light heavyweight contenders to occupy its next 205-pound bracket.
The promotion announced Monday that Bellator 71 will take place at the Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort in Chester, W. Va., on June 22 and will include the quarterfinals of the Summer Series light heavyweight tournament.
Seven of the eight competitors for the 205-pound field have already been decided: Roger Hollett takes on Attila Vegh; Richard Hale locks horns with Beau Tribolet; Marcus Vanttinen squares off with Philipe Lins; and Travis Wiuff (Pictured) will battle an as-yet-to-be determined opponent. The winner of the bracket earns a total of $100,000 and a title shot against current champion Christian M’Pumbu.
A Titans MMA representative, Hollett will carry a five-fight winning streak into his matchup with Vegh. The Canadian last appeared at Bellator 57, earning a split-decision victory against John Hawk. Vegh, a veteran of Poland’s KSW, is a 14-time Hungarian Kenpo karate champion. He has finished 19 of his 24 career victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission.
Hale has competed four times under the Bellator banner, defeating Nik Fekete, D.J. Linderman and Carlos Flores while falling to M’Pumbu in the Season 4 light heavyweight tournament final. Tribolet, a native of Phoenix, has been defeated just once in eight professional bouts. Most recently, he topped two-time UFC veteran Chase Gormley via first-round TKO in August.
A 24-year-old native of Porvoo, Finland, Vanttinen has been victorious in 12 of his last 13 outings. His lone defeat during that time came at the hands of fellow quarterfinalist Vegh via unanimous decision in May. Lins trains with the Nova Uniao Kimura camp and is unbeaten in five fights, with only one of those victories going the distance. He owns two notable triumphs over former UFC talent Antonio Mendes.
Wiuff already owns a victory over M’Pumbu, having secured a three-round verdict against the 205-pound title holder last October. The 81-fight veteran last appeared at Bellator 60, where he took a unanimous decision from Anthony Gomez.
The Bellator 71 main card will be broadcast on MTV2 beginning at 8 p.m. ET, while the preliminary bouts will be aired on Spike.com starting at 7 p.m. ET.