(Ron Sparks: All about the peace and love. / Photo via TheFightNerd.)
Bellator 52 goes down tomorrow night at the L’Auberge du Lac Casino Resort in Lake Charles, Louisiana, featuring the quarterfinals of the promotion’s second heavyweight tournament. We’ll be honest — the eight-man bracket isn’t exactly overflowing with star-power, and watching 265-pounders slug it out is always a mixed bag. But if Cruz vs. Johnson isn’t enough to satisfy your hunger for combat this weekend, you might as well DVR the MTV2 broadcast. (Do it right now, before you forget.) Here’s how the HW quarters shake out:
Now, some fun facts:
- Blagoi Ivanov is that dude who outpointed Fedor Emelianenko in combat sambo in 2008, back when beating Fedor at anything seemed like a very big deal. He’s now 4-0 with 1 no-contest in his MMA career, and won his Bellator debut in March by TKO’ing William Penn in one round.
- Ivanov was originally supposed to face Brazilian prospect Thiago “Big Monster” Santos, but Santos has just been scratched from the event due to visa issues. Stepping in for Santos will be Zak Jensen, who was originally slated for the prelims against Josh Burns. You may remember Jensen as the TUF 10 whipping boy who was death/” target=”_blank”>named in a wrongful death lawsuit after a botched bodyguarding assignment. In 17 professional fights, Jensen has only been out of the first round once.
- Speaking of TUF 10 vets, Abe Wagner will be making his Bellator debut in tomorrow night’s tournament. Since his stint on the reality show, Wagner has gone 3-2, with losses to Travis Browne and Aaron Rosa, and a somewhat notable victory over Tim Sylvia. His last victory was in July over Justin Grizzard, the palooka that McCorkle is fighting next.
- Wagner will be fighting Eric Prindle, a five-time All Army boxing champion and four-time Armed Forces boxing champion with a 6-1 pro MMA record. His Bellator debut in April resulted in a referee-stoppage victory over Josh Burns after two rounds.
- I’m assuming you know who Neil Grove is, right? “Goliath” made it to the finals of Bellator’s first heavyweight tournament, but fell victim to a Cole Konrad keylock. He rebounded with a TKO win over Zak Jensen in July, and now he’s ready to do it all over again.
- Ron Sparks is best known for almost fighting Bobby Lashley and being ducked by Ray Mercer. He’s 7-0, with six wins by first round stoppage, and 2-0 under the Bellator banner with victories over Gregory Maynard and Vince Lucero. Sparks will be fighting Mark Holata tomorrow night