The 205-Pound Weight Class To Kick Off Bellator's Summer Series

By Raphael Garcia

With so much mixed martial arts action going on this weekend it will be hard for some people to catch everything that is going on. While some of us spend part of our weekend running around popular night spots in our area, others will stay in to watch every punch and knee thrown. When looking at upcoming events, it’s important to remember that MMA exists outside of the UFC, and if you can catch Bellator Fighting Championships as they kick off their second Summer Series, you should do so. They are the number two organization in North America, but they have become known for putting on some exciting events.

Going down in Chester, West Virginia, BFC 70 will feature the start of the organization’s light heavyweight tournament, where the winner will face current champion Christian M’Pumbu somewhere down the line. Along with these tournament matchups, this event will showcase Bellator’s recent big name signing: Brett Rogers. The former Strikeforce heavyweight contender has been going through some very tough straits as of late, and is looking to return to the positive side of competition with a win over the 15-1 Kevin Asplund. The interesting part is that these two competitors were once teammates and had a major falling out that is centered around a house fire that occurred at Rogers’s home.

Rogers is 1-4-1 in his last six fights. Before being released by Strikeforce back in 2011, he competed against a number of the biggest names in the sport, as he took on Josh Barnett, Alistair Overeem, and Fedor Emelianenko. Each of these fighters found a way to stop Brett by either knockout or submission. His last win of importance — and even that can be disputed — was when he defeated Andrei Arlovski back in 2009. 

Asplund, on the other hand, is riding a 15-fight win streak. The Minneapolis, Minnesota native has been competing on smaller circuits since his debut nearly 10 years ago. Asplund hasn’t competed against anyone of note, so it will be interesting to see how he responds to being on television, and in front of the most prominent fighter he’s faced to date, regardless of his record.

The four light heavyweight quarterfinal bouts make up the rest of the main card. The 8-2 Roy Boughton will face the 17-6-1 Emanuel Newton. Zelg Galesic (11-6) will compete against the 25-4-2 Attila Vegh. Longtime journeyman Travis Wiuff (66-14) will fight against (10-3) Chris Davis. And Richard Hale (19-4-1) against Beau Tribolet (7-1) will round out the tournament’s opening round. 

Wiuff is by far the most well-known of these fighters. With an extensive resume, he holds wins over Keith Jardine, Travis Fulton, Jeff Monson, and has even defeated the current BFC 205 champion M’Pumbu, back in 2011 in a non-title bout. Davis, however, was defeated by M’Pumbu in the opening round of the last 205 tournament held by Bellator, and looks to advance into the semifinals and beyond.

Boughton is competing in his first Bellator tournament, and in just the 11th fight of his young career. The Cesar Gracie BJJ student had the opportunity to face and defeat Murilo “Ninja” Rua in 2010, before being defeated by Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou the next year. His opponent, the California native Newton, is riding a five-fight win streak that includes a victory over former UFC fighter Rodney Wallace.

Croatian native Galesic is making his second appearance for Bellator after losing to Alexander Shiemenko in the opening round of last year’s middleweight tournament. The Taekwondo black belt has also faced MMA stars Ronaldo Souza and Kazushi Sakuraba. His opponent Vegh is just 26 years of age, but has 31 professional fights on his ledger. He is 7-1-2 in his last ten fights, and has racked up a variety of wins by KO and submission while competing in Europe.

Richard Hale is looking to rebound from losing to M’Pumbu in the finals of last year’s 205-pound tournament. He’s 4-1 while competing for Bellator, and 16 of his 19 wins come by either knockout or submission stoppage. His opponent, Beau Tribolet is riding a seven-fight win streak since losing his first professional bout in 2008. However, this will be the first time this Bellator newcomer steps into the circular cage.

While BFC 70 will feature many names that may not be known by mainstream fans, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tune in live, or catch the action by DVR. Bellator has consistently put on action-packed fights, and looking at the resumes that these fighters will bring into the main card, you can expect some highlight reel finishes this Friday night.

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