As first reported by MMAjunkie.com (MMAjunkie.com
), Bellator 89 will take place at Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C., with a bantamweight title fight between champion Eduardo Dantas (14-3 MMA, 4-0 BFC) and tournament winner, top contender and former Dantas teammate Marcos Galvao (13-5-1 MMA, 4-2 BFC) in the main event.
Bellator officials on Friday announced the card, which also is expected to feature the start of the Season 8 middleweight tournament. Participants for that tourney have not yet been announced.
Bellator 89 will be the promotion's fifth event of 12 planned for its eighth season, which also will be its first on Spike TV after several seasons on MTV2. The main card will air live on Spike at 10 p.m. ET, which is the plan for all events of the upcoming season starting with Bellator 85 on Jan. 17. The promotion moves from a Friday home to a new Thursday time slot, getting a two-hour lead-in from TNA Impact wrestling on Spike. Prelims will air live on Spike.com at 8 p.m. ET.
Dantas won the bantamweight title by choking out Zach Makovsky this past April. He earned his shot at Makovsky by winning the Season 5 tournament with a stoppage of Wilson Reis and decision wins over Ed West and Alexis Vila.
But in August, he took a fight outside the promotion in his home country of Brazil and was knocked out by Tyson Nam in the first round.
Dantas was expected to face Galvao at Bellator 79 this past season, but had to drop off the card. Dantas and Galvao used to train together at the acclaimed Nova Uniao camp in Brazil.
"I feel great, and I'm ready to defend my belt," Dantas stated. "It seems like I've been away from the Bellator cage for a while, and I'm ready to face Marcos. I consider Marcos a friend, but all that goes away when we step into the cage."
Galvao dropped a close split decision to Vila in the semifinals of Bellator's Season 5 tournament, and Vila moved on to the final, where he lost to Dantas. But he came back strong in Season 6, where he licked his wounds and took decision wins against West and Travis Marx to reach the final against Luis Nogueira, whom he stopped in August with a second-round TKO to earn a title fight with his former training partner.
"Everyone is fine with it, and everyone knows what is at stake," Galvao stated. "We've known each other for a long time, but this is our job, and nothing will get in the way of that. We will shake hands before the fight, and we will shake hands after the fight, but it's going to be war when the cage door shuts."
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said he's excited about the backstory for the fight, as well as the fight itself.
"Eduardo and Marcos are two of the best bantamweights in this sport, and with the ties they both have to one of the best MMA camps in the world, this has the makings of an incredible fight," Rebney stated.
Bellator has four other title fights already scheduled for the start of Season 8. The featherweight and lightweight titles are on the line in the season-opening Bellator 85 event. Bellator 86 sees the welterweight title up for grabs. The vacant middleweight title will be filled at Bellator 88.