Jared Hess and Sean Loeffler have signed on for Bellator Fighting Championships’ second season middleweight tournament, the promotion announced Wednesday. Hess and Loeffler join Bryan Baker, Matt Major and Eric Schambari in the single-elimination 185-pound tournament that will unfold over Bellator’s 12-week season, which begins April 8 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
Hess, a Bellator season one finalist, bested Spanish standout Daniel Tabera and Yosmany Cabezas en route to last year’s tournament finals. Hector Lombard, a Cuban-born Olympic judoka, earned a fourth-round technical knockout over Hess after opening a cut over Hess’ eye.
“I’m looking forward to winning the tournament and getting a chance to face Hector again,” Hess said in Bellator news release. “I think it would be a much different outcome this time. My standup has improved by leaps and bounds since then. Add that to my wrestling and I think I’d have a distinct edge this time.”
The 27-year-old Loeffler will make his Bellator debut on a six-fight win streak, which includes a 30-second TKO over Sam Salas at a Gladiator Challenge event in February and a first-round submission victory over Steve Schneider at a South Bay Promotions show last August.
Bellator’s second season will broadcast live on Fox Sports Net on Thursday nights (check local listings for times). The promotion will also air on Telemundo with a weekly one-hour highlights show and a half-hour version on NBC as part of its Saturday late-night lineup.