When Paul Daley signed with Bellator earlier this year and debuted with an easy knockout win over Rudy Bears in July, it seemed safe to assume he would be included in the promotion's next welterweight tournament.
In fact, he was quoted as saying "I have my sights set on winning the tournament and winning that Bellator title" upon his signing.
But when Bellator announced their field of eight for their fall tournament that kicks off September 28 at Bellator 76 in New Jersey, Daley was noticeably absent, as was Ben Saunders, Douglas Lima, Bryan Baker, David Rickels and several other Bellator welterweight mainstays.
In their place: a group of newcomers, a former champion and several veterans without the name value of the usual suspects.
The most interesting fight involves former Bellator 170-pound champ Lyman Good (12-2) entering his third tournament where he will fight Jim Wallhead in the quarterfinals. Wallhead (23-6) returns to Bellator after two BAMMA appearances where he picked up wins over Frank Trigg and Joey Villasenor respectively.
For the other three quarterfinal fights, click after the jump.
In the second quarterfinal, World Scouting Report No. 1 welterweight and undefeated Andrey Koreshkov (10-0) makes his tourney debut against Jordan Smith. Koreshkov has won both of his two Bellator undercard fights by T/KO and has finished all ten of his fights. Smith (17-3-1) is a puzzling inclusion as his last fight was a 22-second KO loss at the hands of the aforementioned Rickels.
Tim Welch (9-3) makes his Bellator debut, riding a three fight win streak. To no surprise, he's a finisher (4 T/KOs, 5 submissions) as most of their unknown signees are. He faces fellow Bellator rookie Michail Tsarev (23-2), a winner of ten straight with finishes in all of them.
The other quarterfinal features veteran Marius Zaromskis (18-6-0-1), he of the two recent Bellator wins over Waachiim Spiritwolf, against Nordine Taleb (8-1), he of two straight non-tourney Bellator wins.
Heavyweight Tournament Set For October
Earlier this month, Bellator announced two matches for their next heavyweight tournament, set to start on October 5th at Bellator 75.
In the first quarterfinal, they will attempt to make Eric Prindle (7-2-0-1) vs. Thiago Santos (10-1-0-1) happen again. Their November 2011 heavyweight tournament final fight was stopped in less than 90 seconds after a low blow by Santos rendered Prindle incapacitated.
The two were then rescheduled for March, but the fight was moved back once due to an injury and then canceled after a second attempt was foiled following Santos' inability to make weight.
In the second quarterfinal, former Strikeforce talent Brett Rogers (12-4) returns to the Bellator cage against Ruslan Magomedov (9-1), making his promotional debut on a four-fight win streak. Rogers debuted in June with a second round TKO win over Kevin Asplund.