Bellator 52 Preview

September 29, 2011
This Saturday, Oct. 1 reinforce the cage doors and don’t blink. Bellator heavyweights make their first appearance of Season 5 at Bellator 52 from Lake Charles, Louisiana, live on MTV 2 and in HD on Epix 2 at 9/8c. Headlining the quarterfinals are Season 3 finalist Neil Grove and Mike Hayes. The last one standing in the eight-man tournament will earn a shot at undefeated Bellator champion Cole Konrad. Having already fought Konrad, one of the headliners is especially motivated for a second chance at Bellator gold. Grove, who at 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds is accurately nicknamed “Goliath,” made it to the finals of Bellator’s first heavyweight tournament and fell short to two-time NCAA wrestling champion Konrad. In July, Grove returned to his winning ways and picked up his 11th win by knockout. With a more well-rounded skill set in his arsenal, Grove is primed for a second run at the belt. Standing in his way is Hayes, a proven finisher who has ended 11 of his 15 victories before the final bell. A relentless competitor, the Washington native has never been finished in his pro career.

The quarterfinals also feature a battle between Sambo champion Blagoi Ivanov and the once-beaten Thiago Santos. Ivanov made his Bellator debut in March and kept his unbeaten record intact with a first round knockout victory. Santos enters the bright lights for the first time with an impressive 8-1 record. Eric Prindle and Abe Wagner collide in another quarterfinal bout. Prindle entered the Bellator cage for the first time last April and notched an impressive stoppage victory, marking his sixth finish in seven victories. Wagner was best known for his appearance on Season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter before he met Tim Sylvia earlier this year. He needed only 32 seconds to stop the former UFC heavyweight champion and enters Bellator on the heels of another first-round stoppage in his most recent outing. The broadcast opens with a fight guaranteed to bring fireworks, as Ron Sparks clashes with Mark Holata. The undefeated Sparks has finished six of his seven fights the first round, including four in the first minute of the fight. Holata is no stranger to quick fights and has earned his two Bellator wins in an average of 61 seconds. Four fighters will advance to the semi-finals and will move one step closer to a title shot.

Before the heavyweight tournament begins on MTV 2 and on Epix 2 in HD, brings you two hours of feature fights. The stream begins at 7 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. PT and features the highly anticipated MMA debut of Cosmo Alexandre. The devastating striker and Muay Thai champion enters the cage for the first time against Louisiana native Josh Quayhagen. Also on the prelims is a battle between two featherweight tournament veterans Bryan Goldsby and Genair da Silva. Rounding out the undercard are two heavyweight fights, as Zak Jensen takes on Josh Burns and Liron Wilson battles undefeated Justin Frazier.