The lineup for next month’s Bellator 136 event in Irvine, California was finalized yesterday, with a completed schedule of preliminary bouts and a heavyweight attraction added to the main card.
Perhaps most notably for the event, which takes place April 10 at the Bren Events Center, will be the return of the promotion’s heavyweight champion.
The heavyweight bout sees former Bellator Heavyweight Champion Alexander “Drago” Volkov of Moscow, Russia returning to the promotion, to take on Tennessee native Tony “Hulk” Johnson, who now trains out of American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, CA.
The 26 year old Volkov earned the Bellator title back in 2012 and boasts a 24-4 record, with twelve wins in his last thirteen bouts — his only loss coming to his countryman, Bellator Heavyweight Champion Vitaly Minakov, at Bellator 108 in 2013.
Volkov rebounded from the loss to win all three of his bouts (each by finish) at the Bellator Season Ten Heavyweight Tournament. But with the tournament format abandoned following the departure of the promotion’s president Bjorn Rebney, Volkov never received his promised title shot.
“Drago” then returned to Russia, where he won two fights, including a decision victory over Belarusian kickboxer Alexey Krudin last month.
Johnson is 8-2 as a professional, including wins over KOTC titlist Tony Lopez and UFC champion Tim Sylvia. He has won four of his last five bouts, including his lone Bellator appearance, a decision win over Derrick Lewis, who is currently competing for the UFC.
A featherweight match-up of two Brazilian standouts has been added among the preliminary bouts: Fabricio Guerreiro (20-3 in MMA) vs. John “Macapa” Teixeira (17-1-2).
The two in fact are natives of the same state, Amapa.
Here is the full lineup:
Main Card (9 p.m. ET)
Bellator Lightweight Title Fight: Champ Will Brooks (15-1) vs. Dave Jansen (20-2)
Bellator Middleweight Feature Fight: Joe Schilling (2-3) vs. Rafael Carvalho (10-1)
Bellator Lightweight Feature Fight: Marcin Held (20-3) vs. Alexander “Tiger” Sarnavskiy (30-2)
Bellator Heavyweight Feature Fight: Alexander Volkov (24-4) vs. Tony Johnson (8-2)
Preliminary Card (7 p.m. ET)
Bellator Welterweight Prelim Fight: John Mercurio (6-7) vs. Greg Parker (4-1)
Bellator Middleweight Prelim Fight: Joey Beltran (15-11) vs. Brian Rogers (11-7)
Bellator Lightweight Prelim Fight: Saad Awad (17-6) vs. Rob Sinclair (12-2)
Bellator Flyweight Prelim Fight: Fabricio Guerreiro (20-3) vs. John Teixeira (17-1-2)
Bellator Flyweight Prelim Fight: Jonathan Santa Maria (3-0) vs. Steve Ramirez (0-1)
Bellator Featherweight Prelim Fight: Marcos Bonilla (1-1) vs. A.J. McKee (0-0)
Dark Bouts (Following Spike TV broadcast)
Bellator Middleweight Prelim Fight: Ben Jones (4-4) vs. Luc Bondole (4-1-1)
Bellator Bantamweight Prelim Fight: Chad George (15-8) vs. Mark Vorgeas (5-2-1)
Bellator Catchweight (150 pounds) Prelim Fight: Cleber Luciano (10-5) vs. Aaron Miller (14-9)