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Bellator 96 adds heavyweight tournament; moves to three hours

Bellator is blowing the lid off with its return this June, now hosting two tournaments and a title fight. Get the details below.

Newport Beach, CA. (May 15, 2013) -As Bellator prepares for its long awaited Summer Series return, the full fight card has been completed as Bellator MMA returns to WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma Wednesday, June 19th live on Spike TV. The night will feature a Lightweight World Championship fight between reigning Bellator Champion Michael Chandler, as he defends his belt against Dave Jansen. The night will also feature the start of the Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Summer Series Tournaments, as well as the return of the always controversial War Machine.

The event will broadcast LIVE starting at 6 p.m. CST and feature three hours of action on Spike TV. The preliminary card will be streamed LIVE and FREE on starting at 5:00 p.m. CST. Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased at or by visiting the WinStar World Casino Box Office, with tickets starting at just $45 dollars.

Minakov enters the tournament undefeated at a perfect 10-0, including seven straight stoppage victories. Possessing a dominate ground game thanks to his extensive Sambo background and a developing striking arsenal, Minakov enters the tournament as one of the favorites and has his sights set on a Bellator World Title.

"I want everyone to know that I'm not here just to ‘take part' in a Bellator Tournament, but to win it all and become a Bellator Champion."

Minakov will have no easy test in the Semifinals of the Light Heavyweight Tournament as "The Monster" Ron Sparks returns to Bellator looking to punch his ticket to the Finals with a victory June 19th from WinStar World Casino. Sparks isn't looking to play head games coming into this fight, and knows Minakov will be well aware of what the Louisville native is bringing to the table.

"Everyone knows I'm looking stand in that cage and throw bombs, no questions asked," Sparks said. "I think the heavyweight tournament is going to be awesome. I am looking forward to it being a four-man tournament. It will give the fighters more opportunities to fight and I want my shot at the title."

The other side of the bracket will feature fan-favorite and Bellator veteran Rich Hale as the Arizona native battles the imposing Brazilian Vinicius "Spartan" Queiroz. Hale burst onto the scene with inverted triangle win over Nick Fekete in 2011 and his continued his assent up the heavyweight ranks.

"I am really looking forward to the heavyweight tournament and my training has been going great," Hale said. "I've been working hard and making adjustments to the game plan to come in and get the heavyweight belt."

"This event is insanely stacked, and it's the reason we are making this a jam packed three hour show," Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. "With a Lightweight Title fight, Mo, Babalu, War Machine and the start of our heavyweight tournament, this is going to be an amazing show start to finish on Spike."

Following the event, Spike will air the premier of Fight Master: Bellator MMA, which features 32 of the best welterweight fighters on the planet as they compete for a spot in the Bellator MMA Tournament and a $100,000 prize.

Bellator MMA Main Card:

Bellator Lightweight Title Fight: Michael Chandler (11-0) vs. Dave Jansen (19-2)
Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament: King Mo Lawal (9-2) vs. Seth Petruzelli (14-7)
Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament: Renato "Babalu" Sobral (37-10) vs. Jacob Noe (11-2)
Bellator Heavyweight Tournament: Vinicius "Spartan" Queiroz (6-3) vs. Rich Hale (21-5)
Bellator Heavyweight Tournament: Vitaly Minakov (10-0) vs. Ron Sparks (8-1)
Welterweight Feature Fight: War Machine (12-4) vs. Blas Avena (8-6)

Bellator MMA Preliminary Card:

Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Brandon Halsey (3-0) vs. Mike Brown (3-1)
Bantamweight Feature Fight: Justin McNally (1-1) vs. Steven Artoff (5-1)
Lightweight Feature Fight: Keith Miner (5-4) vs. Damon Jackson (4-0)
Bantamweight Feature Fight: Mike Maldonado (4-0) vs. Jason Sampson (10-1)
Catchweight Feature Fight: Brandon Girtz (8-2) vs. TBA (0-0)
Middleweight Feature Fight: Keith Berry (14-10) vs. Cortez Coleman (9-3)

For more information, visit, follow Bellator on Twitter @BellatorMMA, follow Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney @BjornRebney and check out Bellator on Facebook at

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