CHICAGO, Ill. (December 16, 2011) - After a Season 5 Bantamweight Tournament that saw Brazilian phenom Eduardo "Dudu" Dantas secure a title shot against reigning Bellator Bantamweight Champion Zach Makovsky, eight of the world's top 135 pounders are back for Bellator's sixth season, eager to claim a title shot of their own.
Bellator will begin its sixth season Friday, March 2 LIVE on MTV2 and in commercial-free HD on EPIX.
"Our Season 5 Bantamweight Tournament was stacked with world class talent, but this one may be ever stronger," said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. "There is not an easy fight anywhere in this group and we have a couple of surprise announcements coming soon that will take this to the next level."
While all eight tournament participants have yet to be announced, the field is beginning to take shape. Fresh off a finals appearance in last season's tournament, Alexis Vila will return to the Bellator cage for another shot at a tournament championship. "The Exorcist" became a fan favorite after delivering a stunning knockout to Joe Warren at Bellator 51, and will look to provide nightmares to the competition this season.
Bellator tournament veteran, Ed "Wild" West is back and looking to avenge his split-decision loss to Eduardo Dantas with a long tournament run. In his last 11 fights, West has only two blemishes on an otherwise impressive record. The losses came at the hands of World Champion Makovsky and the aforementioned Dantas, and West knows winning the tournament will guarantee a rematch and a chance to pay back one of the two world-class fighters.
"I'd love to fight Dantas again," West said. "Either guy would be fun, but I'd love to get another shot at Dantas. I'd never look past this tournament, and I know the field is going to be really tough, but that fact is certainly present, and I'm ready to get started."
Nova Uniao product Marcos Galvao will try his hand at another Bellator tournament after suffering a controversial split-decision loss to Alexis Vila at Bellator 55. Many thought Galvao, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, controlled the pace during his fight with Vila, but the judges felt differently and "Loro" will be looking to finish his opponents during his Season six tournament run.
Two promising Brazilians will be looking to make an impression as Luis "Betao" Nogueira and Rodrigo Lima have both been confirmed for the Season 6 tournament. Lima makes his Bellator debut compiling a perfect 9-0 record, including seven finishes.
Announcements on the three remaining participants will be coming shortly, as well as tournament pairings for the highly anticipated tournament.