Bellator veteran Ben Saunders (13-5-2 MMA, 4-2 BFC) will take a break from tournament competition to fight promotional newcomer Brian Warren (18-15-1 MMA, 0-0 BFC) later this month at Bellator 72.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the non-tournament bout with sources close to the event.
The fight will be contested at a catchweight of 178 pounds.
Bellator 72 takes place July 20 at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla. Main-card fights air on MTV2, and Spike.com streams the prelims.
Saunders vs. Warren is likely to be a preliminary-card or swing bout.
Saunders returns to the cage following a semifinal-round finish in Bellator's season-six eight-man tournament, which followed a runner-up finish in the season-five tournament. The losses came to notables Bryan Baker and Douglas Lima, respectively. The American Top Team fighter and UFC vet now fights in his current home state of Florida.
He takes on "Mr. Unbreakable," a longtime KOTC fighter who's experienced a career resurgence with five straight victories and seven wins in his past eight fights. Four of his past five wins have come via first-round stoppage, including an 80-second TKO of David Hayes (6-4 at the time) this past month at a Gladiator Challenge show in California.
"Fighting has been like my fuel to keep going and drive me," Warren said. "This fight against Ben will be one of the biggest tests of my life. I always fight at 170, so now with the extra few pounds at 178, I feel stronger because the weight cut won't be as bad, and I don't have any ring rust. A ton of doors will open if I can get this victory, and it would just be a huge win."
The latest Bellator 72 card now includes:
- Karl Amoussou vs. Bryan Baker - welterweight-tournament final
- Emanuel Newton vs. Attila Vegh - light-heavyweight tourney semifinal
- Tim Carpenter vs. Travis Wiuff - light-heavyweight tourney semifinal
- Waachiim Spiritwolf vs. Marius Zaromskis
- Paul Daley vs. TBA
- Ben Saunders vs. Brian Warren