With the move to Spike and changes in its time slot, Bellator’s debut on the original home of MMA will take place on January 17 in the University of California’s Bren Center in Irvine, California for their 85th promotional offering. Bellator 85 brings a stacked billing with two championship fights as champions Michael Chandler and Pat Curran defend their titles.
Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler (10-0) will be taking on Season 6 Tournament Winner Rick Hawn (14-1). Chandler wrested the title from Eddie Alvarez in an all-time classic last November, and has since taken a first-round knockout over Akihiro Gono. Hawn, defeated Brent Weedman via unanimous decision in May to earn his title shot. The Olympian is undefeated since entering the lightweight division, also taking knockout victories Ricardo Tirloni and Lloyd Woodard.
Curran (17-4), the featherweight titleholder, will defend his crown against Season 4 Tournament Champion Patricio Freire. The Illinois native took the title from Joe Warren in one of the year’s worst beatings in March. The former lightweight has remained inactive since, largely due to injury. He was slated to meet “Pitbull” at Bellator 73, but a broken orbital bone on his part saw the bout called off. The Brazilian has not competed since May of last year, where he defeated Georgi Karakhanyan, Wilson Reis, and Daniel Straus to win the Season 4 tournament.
According to Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, UFC veteran and former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Renato “Babalu” Sobral will also make his promotional debut on the card.