Fight fans listen up, Bellator MMA is headed back to New Mexico for the third time this year. This year has been a monumental year for Bellator MMA and the New Mexico MMA scene’s partnership as the top promotion has brought very solid fight cards for the February and July events. Bellator 91 and 97 featured title fights, notable promotional superstars and several high-profile local match-ups.
This time should be no different; however a rumored main card has not yet been released. We can rule out the participation of Eddie Alvarez, Michael Chandler, Pat Curran, King Mo, Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz due to their scheduled bouts a few weeks later at Bellator MMA’s first ever attempt at pay-per-view. We could get treated to title fights involving Heavyweight Champion Alexander Volkov, Middleweight Champion Alexander Shlemenko or Bantamweight Champion Eduardo Dantas.
What we can be sure of is the Bellator MMA will once again pack the undercard full of local New Mexico talent. The buzz has already started and some of the area’s biggest names have already made their way to the rumor mill. These following fights and fighters have yet to be confirmed and are not tips from any source or outlet.
Many who follow the regional scene know that this past year, the Orthrus Promotion’s Triple-A-MMA events work off a gimmick labeled “Win To Get In”. Twice this year, the show has hosted events where the featured bouts include an incentive that the winner will get a shot at the following Bellator MMA show. Amongst the winners were Javier Palacios, Felipe Chavez and Steve Garcia.
This time around it will be “North vs. South” winners Ray Borg and Josh Lanier making their way to the Bellator MMA cage. FIT NHB’s Borg (5-0) is coming off of a main event win over the savvy Angelo Sanchez. Borg was impressive in the outing showcasing mastery in his wrestling game en route to a unanimous decision. It will be interesting to see if he will compete once again at 135-pounds or his natural fight weight of 125-pounds. It will also be interesting to watch the match making, whether the promotion wants to build him up or immediately give him a challenge.
From the same event, Lovato Total Fitness fighter Lanier (4-7) will also be back in action. “Big Country” fought back at Bellator 91 where he suffered a knockout loss after being very competitive in the first round with his heavyweight foe. This time around, it will be expected that Lanier fights either in the Light-heavyweight or Middleweight division. No opponent has really entered the rumor mill as to who he may face off with but it can be expected an opponent from one of the surround gyms can be expected; a middleweight from Judgement MMA or light-heavy from Mean 1 MMA could be in order.
While Angelo “The San-I Warrior” could not best his younger opponent in Borg months back, he will still get his chance to fight for Bellator MMA. Sanchez (12-4) was paired up back at Bellator 91 with Mean 1 MMA’s Kevin Croom. When injuries plagued the card, Sanchez was forced to work his way back in to Bellator MMA. He did so and is now rumored to face Bellator 97’s Mikey Barreras. Drawing blue chip prospect Bubba Jenkins in his first fight after a four-year hiatus, Barreras (5-6) will now have less ring rust to worry about heading into his Bellator 105 bout.
Speaking of prospects, Shawn Bunch (2-0) is expected back in New Mexico looking to capitalize off of a July win over Lovato Total Fitness fighter Russell Wilson. Bunch would look good early on before nearly dropping the third frame to Wilson with 10-8 scorecards. The wrestling prodigy is rumored to return to fight his original scheduled opponent from Bellator 97, Mean 1 MMA’s Steve Garcia. Wilson was able to land the fight with Bunch on one weeks notice after Garcia (1-0) was forced to pull out due to injury.
In what very well may be the highlight of the event, Judgement MMA’s Adrian Cruz is set to make his third Bellator appearance. Back at Bellator 91, Cruz (5-0) submitted Nick Gonzales in what was SWFight.com’s submission of the night and returned with an emphasis at Bellator 97 where he’d dominate Felipe Chavez en route to a TKO stoppage victory. He is one of the state’s top prospects and very well may get the step up in competition that many have been excited to see; it has been rumored that Cruz may be only one fight away from Bellator MMA’s bantamweight tournament and a bout with rumored opponent Joe Soto may do the trick.
Stay tuned to SWFight.com for more event coverage, fight breakdowns and analysis as the event draws near.