CHICAGO, Ill. (September 13, 2011) — In a city that is known for celebrating world-class athletes, Bellator Fighting Championships brings the greatest local talent to Canton, home of the National Football League Hall of Fame, on Saturday, September 24th from the Canton Civic Center for Bellator 51. The night will feature the quarterfinals of the Season 5 bantamweight tournament LIVE on MTV2 and in commercial-free HD on EPIX at 9 p.m. ET. As an added bonus the six preliminary fights, which are packed with the best talent Bellator and The North American Allied Fight Series has to offer, will air free on Spike.com at 7 p.m. ET. Doors for this highly-anticipated event will open at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Tickets for the September 24th event can be purchased on Bellator.com, Ticketmaster.com and at The Canton Civic Center box office.
A popular name amongst most Ohio fight fans, Cleveland native and Bellator veteran Frank “The Tank” Caraballo will be looking for victory against the well-rounded Dustin Kempf, who calls Carrollton, Ohio home.
Fan favorite and rising star Jessica Eye will be in action, taking on 3-1 fighter Casey Noland. Eye trains with Team Strongstyle in Cleveland, which is the home to Bellator tournament competitors Chris Lozano and Brian Rogers.
Two explosive strikers meet when Canton’s own John Hawk takes on Allan Weickert in light heavyweight action. Originally a middleweight, Weickert is making the move up to light heavyweight and is ready to put on a show for the fans of Canton and the ones watching live on Spike.com.
Dan Spohn looks to keep his undefeated record intact when he meets Dane Bonnigson in another light heavyweight battle. Spohn has started his career with a spotless 5-0 record, including a dominating TKO victory over UFC veteran Josh Hendricks. For Bonnigson, the Bowling Green resident has an impressive wrestling background and when he’s not in the cage, he teaches math at a local junior high.
Newly signed Farkhad Sharipov will be in action against a yet to be determined opponent. The 13-3 bantamweight hails from Kyrgyzstan and is riding a six fight win streak, including a win at Bellator 24. Back with Bellator, Sharipov wants to make the most of this opportunity.
“I wanted to fight for Bellator because I’ve seen how they build a fighter from the ground up,” said Sharipov. “I remember training with Joe Warren years ago before he ever fought for Bellator and I’ve watched as he’s become a world champion. That was a big factor in why I signed with Bellator.”
The night rounds out with 2-0 fighter Clint Musser taking on Joey Holt, who will be making his professional debut. During his high school days in Ohio, Musser was a wrestling state champion and parlayed that success to become a member of the Penn State University wrestling team. Musser will look to use those skills and keep his record unblemished against Holt.
“I know the fans in Canton love great, explosive action, and that’s exactly what Bellator is going to bring on September 24th,” said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. “This is a city of champions and Bellator is bringing a champion of the present in Joe Warren and possible future champions in all the great local talent on display.”
For more information, visit Bellator.com, follow Bellator on Twitter @BellatorMMA or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Bellator