As Bellator Fighting Championships prepares to invade Memorial Hall in Kansas City on October 29th, the fight card has been finalized with a number of preliminary fights featuring some explosive local talent sure to make the Kansas City faithful proud. Saturday will also feature the Kansas City return of Bellator Welterweight Champion Ben Askren, who puts his title on the line against former UFC veteran and Season 4 Tournament winner Jay Hieron. The Season 5 Heavyweight Tournament also marches on as semifinalists Ron Sparks and Eric Prindle battle it out for a spot in the finals, while Neil â€œGoliathâ€ Grove takes on Thiago Santos to move one step closer to a title shot against current Bellator Heavyweight Champion Cole Konrad.
Staying in the Halloween spirit, fans are encouraged to show off their best costumes on fight night as there will be two $500 prizes for best male and female costumes. Winners will be shown LIVE on MTV2 and EPIX2 and will be guests of honor at the Bellator 56 after-party in Memorial Hall after the event. The only way into the highly-anticipated after-party is to buy a ticket to Bellator 56.
A 2008 U.S. Olympian and former ESPY award nominee for Best Collegiate Athlete, Askren, the reigning Bellator Welterweight Champion, will put his title on the line for the first time since capturing the crown at Bellator 33 over then champion Lyman Good. While the fight may be the toughest test of his young MMA career, the University of Missouri product and two-time NCAA Division I national wrestling champion should feel right at home fighting in Kansas City.
â€œItâ€™s an unreal feeling knowing Iâ€™ll be fighting so close to Mizzou,â€ said Askren. â€œIt wonâ€™t affect me during the fight, I could beat Jay in his living room, but to be able to celebrate with all my friends and family after the win is going to be awesome.â€
Missouri native and long-time Bellator veteran Rudy â€œBad Newsâ€ Bears will square off against Kansas resident Marcos Navarro in a welterweight fight, while the undefeated Jeremy Spoon will look to keep his record spotless with a victory over former Featherweight Tournament participant Adam Schindler.
Light Heavyweight Dan Spohn will look to keep his momentum going in a scrap with Kelvin Tiller. Spohn left fans stunned with a nine-second knockout victory in his Bellator debut and will be looking for the same result Saturday at Memorial Hall. St. Louis native and undefeated lightweight E.J. Brooks will take on William De Souza, while Jacob Aiken will battle Jeimeson Saudino in a featherweight affair. Odessa, Missouri native Owen Evinger will fight Aaron Ely, who is making his Bellator debut and will be looking to impress. The night will round out with Derrick Ruffin battling Daniel Gallemore in a heavyweight fight sure to produce fireworks.