Newport Beach, CA. (July 18, 2013) - Bellator MMA will return to Southern California's Pechanga Resort & Casino on Friday, September 13th as a Light Heavyweight battle between former World Champion Christian M'Pumbu and Vladimir Matyushenko headlines a night that will also feature the opening round of the Bellator Featherweight Tournament live on Spike TV. The night will also feature a loaded preliminary fight card featuring Southern California's top mixed martial artists.
The first fight of the night will begin at 4 p.m. PST and the LIVE national television broadcast on Spike TV starts at 6 p.m. PST, as well as in Spanish language on mun2. The preliminary card will be streamed LIVE and FREE on Spike.com. Tickets for the event start at just $50, and can be purchased by visiting Pechanga.com, Bellator.com, or by calling the Pechanga Box Office at 877-711-2946 or visiting between noon and 8 p.m. daily.
No stranger to big fights, Matyushenko is primed to make a statement in his debut appearance with Bellator as he battles former Light Heavyweight Champion Christian M'Pumbu. With a combined record of 44-12 between the two veterans, collecting a victory will be well deserved for either competitor.
"This is exactly what I wanted entering Bellator, a tough test right from the start," Matyushenko said. "I still have a lot of fights left in my tank, and this is the start of a new chapter in my career."
Two of Brazil's best featherweights collide as long time Bellator veteran Patricio Pitbull battles Diego "The Gun" Nunes in the opening round of the featherweight tournament. Nunes joins Bellator after a nearly six year run with the WEC/UFC, and is looking to get his first taste of the Toughest Tournament in Sports. Bellator Only 26, Pitbull continues to hold rank as one of the most dominating featherweights in the world with victories over Daniel Straus, Wilson Reis, and Georgi Karakhanyan and has his sights set on earning another Bellator Title Shot.
"In my last fight, I made Pat Curran back pedal for 25 minutes, and I know he has doubts if he won the fight," Pitbull said. "When it comes to this tournament, it won't be Diego or any other guy that will stand in my way for a shot at the belt. I couldn't think of a better place to start than with Diego. It's going to be a great fight."
"The Assassin" returns to the Bellator cage as Russian striker Shahbulat Shamhalaev will face fellow countrymen Akop Stepanyan for a spot in the semifinals of the Bellator Featherweight Tournament. No stranger to the tournament format, Shamhalaev punched his ticket to his title shot in Season 8 with a knockout filled tournament run capped off by a devastating finish against Rad Martinez. Knowing what it takes to climb the mountain that is the Bellator Featherweight Tournament is a fact not lost on Shamhalaev, and his skills will be on the full display from Pechanga Casino & Resort.
The Toughest Tournament in Sports will be rounded out with two intriguing matchups featuring rising Brazilian submission ace Fabricio Guerreiro, who looks to derail the plans of Bellator newcomer Des "The Predator" Green, while "The Juggernaut" Joe Taimanglo has his eyes on moving his winning streak to 10 with a victory over England's own Andrew Fisher.
"We had an absolutely packed house in March when we brought Bellator MMA live on Spike to Pechanga, and with this card I expect nothing but fireworks" Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney stated. "Matyushenko vs. M'Pumbu should be a wickedly exciting main event and will be a great compliment to the explosive start to our $100,000 Featherweight tournament. With names like Pitbull, Shamhalaev, Nunes and Guerreiro, this field is stacked."
Bellator MMA Main Card:
Bellator Heavyweight Feature Fight: Vladimir ‘The Janitor' Matyushenko vs. Christian M'Pumbu
Bellator Featherweight Quarterfinal Fight: Patricio Pitbull vs. Diego Nunes
Bellator Featherweight Quarterfinal Fight: Shahbulat Shamhalaev vs. Akop Stepanyan
Bellator Featherweight Quarterfinal Fight: Des Green vs. Fabricio Guerreiro
Bellator Featherweight Quarterfinal Fight: Joe Taimanglo vs. Andrew Fisher
For more information, visit Bellator.com, follow Bellator on Twitter @BellatorMMA, follow Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney @BjornRebney and check out Bellator on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BellatorMMA.