LOS ANGELES – Scott Coker and the matchmakers are going all out to make BELLATOR 297 a night to remember. Recently adding six new contests to complete the lineup for its blockbuster BELLATOR 297: Nemkov vs. Romero / Pettis vs. Pitbull event Friday, June 16 event at Wintrust Arena in Chicago.
The preliminary portion of BELLATOR 297 now features a middleweight fight between No. 5-ranked Austin Vanderford (11-2) and Dagestan’s undefeated Imamshafi Aliev (9-0), who was victorious in his promotional debut at BELLATOR 288. “The Windy City” will also see undefeated, homegrown prospect Jordan Newman (5-0) try his hand against the second-most famous Matthew Perry (5-3) in a friendly 185-pound affair.
At lightweight, Mike Hamel (10-5) quickly returns to action against “The Chechen Wolf,” Shamil Nikaev (10-0), No. 7-ranked Leandro Higo (21-6) goes to battle against Team Fedor’s Nikita Mikhailov (10-2) at bantamweight, Cody Law (6-2) looks to bounce back from the first losing streak of his young career against Colorado’s Edwin Chavez (6-4), Wladmir Gouvea (1-0) returns for his sophomore appearance in BELLATOR against two-fight veteran Kevin Childs (1-1), and highly-touted Max Metzgar makes his pro debut against David McKinney (1-3).
Additionally, Kyle Crutchmer (9-2), a two-time NCAA All-American and two-time Big 12 champion at Oklahoma State has replaced Roman Faraldo (8-1) and will now face Bobby Nash (12-4) in a welterweight matchup.
These six bouts join a critically acclaimed event headlined by BELLATOR Light Heavyweight World Champion and No. 2-ranked pound-for-pound fighter Vadim Nemkov (16-2), defending the throne against No. 3-ranked ageless wonder Yoel Romero (15-6). An equally compelling co-main event will feature BELLATOR’s No. 1-ranked pound-for-pound fighter and current BELLATOR Featherweight World Champion, Patricio “Pitbull” (35-5), who looks to make MMA history by becoming a three-division champion as he moves down a weight class to challenge incumbent bantamweight kingpin and No. 8-ranked pound-for-pound athlete Sergio Pettis (22-5) in a BELLATOR “Super Fight” for the ages. Additionally, a battle between the No. 1 and No. 2-ranked light heavyweights between Corey Anderson (16-6) and Phil Davis (24-6) is set, as is a heavyweight slugfest between No. 4-ranked Daniel James (15-6-1) and No.10-ranked Gokhan Saricam (8-2)