Kansas native Tyler Stinson, a 24-year-old welterweight with a 16-5 record and notable win over upcoming 145-pound tournament participant Eric Mariott, won Bellator’s recent open tryout and will fight at the promotion’s April 29th event in Kansas City, while runner-up Leonardo Pecanha is under consideration for a May Bellator fight.
Tyler Stinson, a 24-year-old native of Winfield, Kan., was the unanimous winner of an open tryout sponsored by Bellator Fighting Championships on Saturday, earning him a chance to fight in Bellator’s upcoming nationally-televised event at the Kansas City Power & Light District on April 29th.
Stinson was one of 72 fighters from as far away as New York, California, Texas and Arizona to travel to Lenexa, Kan., for the tryout, which was judged by Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney and a panel of other top Bellator talent executives. Participants included former veterans of the WEC, IFL and other top promotions.
“The talent level that we saw at this tryout was very solid,” Rebney said. “To have fighters come in on busses, trains and planes from around the country is very humbling. These guys just want a shot and I only wish that we could give that opportunity to every one of them. Our decision was a difficult one, but Tyler separated himself with great grappling and a well-rounded MMA arsenal. I’m looking forward to seeing him fight on April 29th.”
Stinson, though just 24, boasts a professional record of 16-5 in a wide variety of regional promotions across the Midwest and in Florida. Notably, he is one of only two fighters to notch a victory against 17-2 Eric Marriott, a competitor in Bellator’s upcoming eight-man featherweight tournament. Stinson will enter the April 29th Bellator event on a three-fight win-streak with all three wins coming via first round stoppages (armbar, triangle choke and TKO-punches).
“This whole experience was just awesome,” Stinson told reporters after the event. “To hear my name called at the end of the day was just unbelievable. I’m really almost speechless right now. Bellator is just such a great organization and I’m excited for the chance to fight in front of my family and friends in Kansas City.”
The second-place finisher at the event was 27-year-old Leonardo Pecanha, a native of Brazil now fighting out of Omaha, Neb. Pecanha, who boasts a pro record of 11-6, is now being considered by Bellator for an open slot at one of its May events.
The April 29th event is one of four that Bellator will be staging at the highly popular Kansas City Power & Light District. The Power & Light District encompasses multiple square blocks in the heart of Kansas City’s downtown area and features an exciting blend of restaurants, nightlife, and shopping, welcoming in excess of 6 million visitors annually.