It came as a surprise to some that Paul Daley asked for his release from Strikeforce and then subsequently inked a deal with Bellator. They get their first opportunity to test out their latest investment this Friday in their second Summer Series event -- Bellator 72.
Daley (29-12-2) stayed busy in 2011, compiling a 3-2 record in Strikeforce, BAMMA and Canada's Ringside promotion. He returned to Strikeforce in March, dropping a split decision to Kazuo Misaki.
His welcome to Bellator is journeyman Rudy Bears. At 14-10, the 33-year-old hasn't put together more than a two fight win streak since 2009 and is 2-4 since 2011.
The event is headlined by the welterweight tournament finals featuring Bryan Baker vs. Karl Amoussou. Baker (18-3) dropped to 170 pounds after advancing to the 185-pound semifinals in 2011. He advanced to the finals with decision wins over Carlos Alexandre Pereira and Ben Saunders. Amoussou (15-4-2) submitted Chris Lozano in the quarterfinals and picked up a split decision win over David Rickels in the semifinals.
The winner gets a shot at undefeated Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren.
For the rest of Friday's main card and the date for when Bellator's final season on MTV2 will begin, click after the jump.
Friday's event will also feature the 205-pound semifinals with Emanuel Newton vs. Attila Vegh and Tim Carpenter vs. Travis Wiuff. Newton (18-6-1) submitted Roy Boughton to advance, while Vegh (26-4-2) submitted Zelg Galesic. Carpenter (9-1) also won via submission to advance and Wiuff (67-14) was the outlier of the group, beating Chris Davis by first round TKO.
The televised show's opening fight will be the third bout between Waachiim Spiritwolf and Marius Zaromskis. Zaromskis won their May rematch via 2nd round TKO after the fight was stopped following a nasty Spiritwolf cut. To that point, Spiritwolf had been dominant, making a third fight a no-brainer. The first fight (a November 2010 Strikeforce tilt) was ruled a no contest after Zaromskis accidentally poked Spiritwolf's eye after just six seconds of action.
The ever-popular Ben Saunders competes on the Spike.com undercard in a catchweight bout against Brian Warren.
Final MTV2 Season Kickoff
Bellator's final season on MTV2 before its 2013 Spike move kicks off on Friday, September 28 in Atlantic City, NJ. The promotion announced a 170-pound tournament with former champ Lyman Good in one of the slots. No other names were announced, but assume several of this Friday's competitors will find their way into that tourney.
Tickets range from a high of $165 down to a low of $52 -- the seventh event they've held at Caesars.