CHICAGO, Ill. (October 10, 2011) - Bellator Fighting Championships announced today the promotion will return to Cocopah Resort and Casino in Yuma, Arizona for Bellator 55 on Saturday, October 22 LIVE on MTV2 and in commercial-free HD on EPIX starting at 9 p.m. ET.
The night's preliminary fights will be streamed LIVE and FREE around the world on Spike.com at 7 p.m. ET.
The night will feature the semifinals of Bellator's stacked Season 5 Bantamweight Tournament. The eight-man bracket was cut in half earlier in the season when Alexis Vila, Ed West, Eduardo Dantas and Marcos Galvao all punched their tickets to the semifinals with impressive victories.
Plus, Bellator Light Heavyweight champion Christian "Tonton" M'Pumbu chases his fourth consecutive TKO victory when he faces UFC and Pride veteran Travis Wiuff.
Bantamweight semifinalist Alexis Vila scored knockout of the night when he delivered a first-round KO to the self-proclaimed "Baddest Man on the Planet" Joe Warren in stunning fashion at Bellator 51. The former Cuban Olympian will take on Team Nova Uniao product Marcos Galvao, who secured his spot in the semifinals with a dominating performance over former WEC Champion Chase Beebe.
In the other highly-anticipated semifinal matchup, long time Bellator veteran Ed West takes on Brazilian phenom Eduardo "Dudu" Dantas. While West secured his win with an impressive decision victory, Dantas delivered an explosive flying knee to Wilson Reis that propelled the rising star to the semifinals at Bellator 55. You can watch Dantas' victory shot here: http://bit.ly/qnC2Oo.
In addition to a night filled with great tournament bouts, Arizona fighter Edgar Garcia makes his Bellator debut in front of a home crowd. A 2002 high school state wrestling champion, Garcia is a seasoned veteran with UFC experience. The 27-year-old Yuma fighter looks to ignite the Arizona crowd and earn his first Bellator win.
After capturing the Bellator Light Heavyweight title at Bellator 45, Christian "Tonton" M'Pumbu is back and will take on fellow light heavyweight Travis Wiuff in a non-title affair. M'Pumbu marched through the Season 4 Tournament field on his way to capturing the title, and will look to keep his keep the momentum going at Bellator 55. Wiuff, looks for win No. 65 of his impressive career when he takes on Bellator's best 205-pounder.
Season 4 Light Heavyweight Tournament Finalist Richard Hale will be back in action looking to secure his spot in a future tournament with a victory over Bellator veteran Carlos Flores. Hale made headlines at Bellator 38 with one of the greatest submissions in mixed martial arts history, an inverted triangle against Nik Fekete (Watch Here: http://bit.ly/dGZg89).
The night will also feature Brazilian lightweight prospect Ricardo Tirloni, who will make his promotional debut after compiling an impressive 13-1 record to begin his MMA career. Tirloni meets California native and submission specialist Steve Gable.
"We're thrilled to be returning to Cocopah Resort and Casino for our only Season 5 outdoor event," Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. "And the Bantamweight Tournament in Season 5 is stacked from top to bottom, so Arizona MMA fans will able to see a truly spectacular show. This gives our audience an unbelievable viewing experience."
The night will also host a number of local feature fights that will include premier talent from across the Southwest and be streamed LIVE on Spike.com.
For more information, visit Bellator.com, follow Bellator on Twitter @BellatorMMA or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Bellator