The four-bout main card for May’s “Bellator MMA: Halsey vs. Grove” is now complete with the additions of former Bellator MMA World Champion Eduardo “Dudu” Dantas (16-4) vs. Mike “The Marine” Richman (18-5), light heavyweights Virgil “Rezdog” Zwicker (13-4-1) vs. “Razor” Razak Al-Hassan (12-4) and welterweights Fernando “The Menifee Maniac” Gonzalez (23-13) vs. “Curtious” Curtis Millender (7-1).
Featuring undefeated Bellator MMA World Middleweight Champion Brandon “Bull” Halsey (8-0) against towering Hawaiian scrapper Kendall “Da Spyder” Grove (21-14), “Bellator: Halsey vs. Grove,” takes place on Friday, May 15, at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, Calif. The night’s main card airs live on Spike TV, while preliminary bouts stream on Spike.com.
Tickets for “Bellator: Halsey vs. Grove,” which start at just $50, are currently on sale at Pechanga.com and the Pechanga Resort & Casino box office.
Doors for “Bellator: Halsey vs. Grove” open at 3:30 p.m. PT local time, and the first contest takes place 30 minutes later. A full preliminary card will be announced shortly.
“I’m pumped that we were able to reschedule the Dantas-Richman fight so quickly,” said Bellator President Scott Coker. “Last Friday, Bellator saw two amazing bantamweight contests that produced a new champion and a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate. Both Dantas and Richman are extremely exciting fighters who are undeniable standouts in a bantamweight division with a lot of depth.”
A key member of Brazil’s famed Nova Uniao team, Dantas has been competing professionally since 2007, fighting in both Japan and his native Brazil before making his way to Bellator MMA. The well-rounded fighter found immediate success, downing Wilson Reis, Ed West and Alexis Vila to claim a tournament victory that earned Dantas a shot at the Bellator MMA Bantamweight World Title. Dantas made good on the opportunity, choking out Zach Makovsky to claim the belt.
The 25-year-old Dantas successfully defended the belt twice with a knockout of current champ Marcos Galvao and a submission win over Anthony Leone before losing a hard-fought October decision to former champ Joe Warren in a “Fight of the Year” candidate.
Meanwhile, United States Marine Corps veteran Richman began his professional career in 2008, earning an impressive 11-1 record fighting exclusively in his home state of Minnesota. That run earned him a call from Bellator MMA, where he promptly earned knockout wins over Chris Horodecki and Jeremy Spoon in a combined time of just 106 seconds. Mixed results would follow, as he scored wins over Mitch Jackson, Alexandre Bezerra and Akop Stepanyan but fell short against the featherweight division’s very best fighters in Goiti Yamauchi, Desmond Green, Magomedrasul Khasbulaev and Shahbulat Shamhalaev.
The losses prompted Richman to make a move down to 135 pounds, and the choice has paid immediate dividends. The 29-year-old Richman has looked unbeatable at bantamweight, registering devastating first-round knockout wins over Nam Phan and Ed West.
The heavy-handed Zwicker fights in his hometown while making his fifth Bellator MMA appearance. The 32-year-old Team Quest fighter appeared most recently in January, earning a hard-fought split-decision victory over Houston Alexander. A striker by nature, nine of Zwicker’s 13 career wins have come by way of knockout.
Al-Hassan makes his Bellator MMA debut. Also 32 years old, the Roufusport fighter has been competing professionally since 2007 and has earned 11 of his 12 career wins by stoppage. However, in contrast to his opponent, Al-Hassan owns eight of those victories by submission. Al-Hassan returns from a two-year layoff from competition.
Gonzalez is hoping to earn his way to a shot at the Bellator MMA Welterweight World Title with another impressive victory. A native of Menifee, Calif., the 31-year-old has looked absolutely unstoppable in a three-fight Bellator MMA run, scoring consecutive victories over MMA notables Marius Zaromskis, Karo Parisyan and Karl Amoussou.
Millender hails from San Bernadino, Calif. The 27-year-old opened his professional career in 2013 with seven consecutive wins, earning him a spot on the Bellator MMA roster. However, in his promotional debut, he was forced to submit to a rear-naked choke against top contender Brennan “The Irish Bad Boy” Ward. Millender now looks to rebound from that loss and earn his first Bellator MMA victory.
“Bellator: Halsey vs. Grove” – Friday, May 15, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula, Calif.
Bellator Middleweight Title Fight: Champ Brandon Halsey (8-0) vs. Kendall Grove (21-14)
Bellator Featured Bantamweight Fight: Eduardo Dantas (16-4) vs. Mike Richman (18-5)
Bellator Featured Light Heavyweight Fight: Virgil Zwicker (13-4-1) vs. Razak Al-Hassan (12-4)
Bellator Featured Welterweight Fight: Fernando Gonzalez (23-13) vs. Curtis Millender (7-1)