Bellator MMA's "Summer Series" debut got off to a rough start on Tuesday with five fighters missing weight for their fights on their first tries on the scale.
In the main event of Bellator 96, Muhammed Lawal (9-2 MMA, 1-1 BFC) looks to rebound from an upset loss to Emanuel Newton in his previous tournament outing when he meets Seth Petruzelli (14-7 MMA, 1-1 BFC) in the semifinals of the "Summer Series" four-man light heavyweight tourney. Both fighters were on target, with heavy favorite Lawal coming in at 205.2 pounds, while Petruzelli was 204.8.
In the other 205-pound tournament semifinal fight, former Strikeforce champ Renato Sobral (37-10 MMA, 0-1 BFC), whose previous Bellator tourney run ended with a vicious KO loss to Mikhail Zayats, meets Jacob Noe (11-2 MMA, 2-1 BFC), whose nine-fight win streak also came to an end with a tourney defeat to Zayats. Noe came in 0.2 pounds over at 206.2, while "Babalu" was 204.4. Noe was given two hours to make the weight and was able to shed the additional two-tenths.
In heavyweight tournament action, Vitaly Minakov (10-0 MMA, 1-0 BFC) meets Ron Sparks (8-1 MMA, 3-1 BFC) on one side of the bracket. Sparks will have a decent size advantage at 264.6 pounds to Minakov's 246. And on the other side, Rich Hale (21-5 MMA, 6-2 BFC) takes on Ryan Martinez (9-2 MMA, 2-1 BFC), who learned just today he'll get the bout after Vinicius Queiroz pulled out with a knee injury. Hale was 240.1, while Martinez came in at 263.8.
Also on the main card, War Machine (12-4 MMA, 0-0 BFC) makes his Bellator debut in a welterweight bout against Blas Avena (8-6 MMA, 1-0 BFC). Each was 170 on the dot for the fight.
On the prelims, four fighters missed their marks. Steven Artoff was 138.8 pounds for his bantamweight bout against Justin McNally; Derek Campos was 159.2 for his lightweight fight with Brandon Girtz; Chavous Smith was 137.7 for a bantamweight contest with Mike Maldonado; and Keith Berry was 190 for his middleweight matchup against Cortez Coleman. All four fighters were given two hours to cut the additional weight.
Two of those four were able to get down to their contracted limits. Artoff made 135.6 on his second attempt, and Smith hit 135.9. However, Campos could only get down to 157.2, and Berry shed 3.6 pounds to get to 186.4 – but still was too much. Both Campos and Berry will forfeit a portion of their fight purses to their opponents.
Bellator 96 takes place Wednesday at WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla. The three-hour main card airs on Spike TV following prelims on Spike.com.
The Bellator 96 weigh-in results included:
MAIN CARD (Spike TV, 7 p.m. ET)
Muhammed Lawal (205.2) vs. Seth Petruzelli (204.8) - light-heavyweight tournament opening round
Jacob Noe (206)* vs. Renato Sobral (204.4) - light-heavyweight tournament opening round
Rich Hale (240.1) vs. Ryan Martinez (263.8) - heavyweight-tournament opening round
Vitaly Minakov (246) vs. Ron Sparks (264.6) - heavyweight-tournament opening round
Blas Avena (170) vs. War Machine (170)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike.com, 6 p.m. ET)
Steven Artoff (135.6)** vs. Justin McNally (135.4)
Derek Campos (157.2)*** vs. Brandon Girtz (155.7)
Brandon Halsey (205) vs. Joe Yager (205.4)
Raphael Butler (261) vs. Jeremiah O'Neal (260.5)
Damon Jackson (154.8) vs. Keith Miner (155.8)
Mike Maldonado (135.8) vs. Chavous Smith (135.9)****
Keith Berry (186.4)***** vs. Cortez Coleman (185.6)
Jarrod Card (145.7) vs. Chas Skelly (145.9)
* Noe was 206.2 on his first attempt, but made weight on his second try.
** Artoff was 138.8 on his first attempt, but made weight on his second try.
*** Campos was was 159.2 on his first attempt, but could not make weight and forfeits a portion of his purse to Girtz.
**** Smith was 137.7 on his first attempt, but made weight on his second try.
***** Berry was 190 on his first attempt, but could not make weight and forfeits a portion of his purse to Coleman.