Bellator 121: Prindle vs. Thompson takes place tonight from the WinStar Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. The show was intended to stage a rubber match between featherweight champ Pat Curran and top contender Daniel Straus, but Curran was forced to withdraw with a strained calf muscle. A pair of heavyweight sluggers in Eric Prinde and James Thompson have been selected to replace the featherweight duo in the main event.
Eric "The American Soldier" Prindle (8-5), a former military sniper who reps Erik Paulson's CSW team, has had a rough go since exchanging fight-ending low blows with Thiago Santos in 2011-12. Prindle was on the receiving end of the first incident at Bellator 59, and the bout was ruled a No Contest. Ironically, when Prindle returned the favor with a misplaced axe kick at Bellator 75, he was disqualified for the foul. The DQ-loss was one of Prindle's four consecutive defeats inside the Bellator cage, though, smack dab in the middle of that slide, he accrued a win via 1st-round KO over Vince Lucero in a smaller promotion.
Hulking Brit James "The Colossus" Thompson (19-15) will make his promotional debut opposite Prindle. Post-Pride FC, Thompson has rebounded from a horrid stretch in which he dropped eleven of thirteen bouts and will enter the cage on the heels of four wins (Colin Robinson, Bobby Lashley, Bob Sapp and Mariusz Pudzianowski) and one No Contest (Pudz via judging mishap).
Both main-eventers are 6'5" tall, cut to make the 265-pound heavyweight limit and are notably disinclined to grapple. The scrap is likely to be contested on the feet and, if both remain standing and lucid after the opening stanza, Prindle's struggles in the cardio department will be just as much of an X-factor as his durable chin (one TKO loss) against the very hittable Thompson (11 career losses via TKO). Expect anything, everything or nothing of note to transpire in this one.
Another Pride-era acquisition will make his promotional debut at Bellator 121 in Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (14-12), whose career apex came early in the form of back-to-back upsets via vicious KO over two of Pride's finest in Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ricardo Arona circa 2007. The Cameroonian Judoka draws Terry Davinney (10-7) in a light-heavyweight feature fight, and both competitors will look to snap a two-fight skid.
The opening round of this season's Light-Heavyweight Tournament makes up the rest of the main card: undefeated prospects Philip Lins (8-0) of Nova Uniao Kimura and 24-year-old James Austin Heidlage (8-0) square off on one side while battle-hardened Lithuanian Egidijius Valavicius (26-10) meets Carlos Eduardo (11-3), who suffered a 2008 KO loss to Jon Jones, on the other side of the bracket.
Bloody Elbow will host live discussion and results for the event, along with a live and free stream of the preliminary card at 7:00 p.m. ET. The full lineup follows below.
BELLATOR 116 (Spike TV at 9:00 p.m. ET)
Eric Prindle vs. James Thompson
Terry Davinney vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou
Austin Heidlage vs. Philipe Lins -- LHW Tournament bout
Carlos Eduardo vs. Egidijus Valavicius -- LHW Tournament bout
Preliminary Card (Bloody Elbow and Spike.com at 7:00 p.m. ET)
Stephen Banaszak vs. Treston Thomison
Cortez Coleman vs. Joe Vedepo
Kelly Anundson vs. Rodney Wallace -- LHW Tournament bout
Jamelle Jones vs. Ray Sloan
Bubba McDaniel vs. Matt Jones
Steve Garcia vs. Cody Walker
Guillermo Martinez Ayme vs. William Florentino