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|Bellator fight this Friday in Monroe|
Mixed Martial Arts fans in Ouachita Parish will once again see action come live and in person to the area this weekend.
Bellator Fighting Championship IX will be live at the Monroe Civic Center on Friday night with a bell time of 8 p.m.
The evening will feature eight bouts including contests with some of the best up-and-coming MMA fighters in the world.
The headline of the show will be the semi-finals of the BFC Middleweight Championship Tournament.
Hector Lombard against James Stelley and Jared Hess going up against Yosmany Cabezas will be the featured attraction on the card.
There will also be six non-tournament matches with even more top international talent in different weight classes.
A.J. Matthews will battle Chad Leondhardt in the eight-sided ring. Nick Ring will battle international star Isidro Gonzalez in the next bout.
Jayme Mckinney will be in Monroe to go toe-to-toe with Shawn Jordan.
Jordan, a former LSU fullback, will make his first fight appearance in Monroe after beginning his career with a 7-1 record.
Noah Thomas will battle Nathan Murdoch on the card, followed by Mike Braswell against Chas Skelly.
The final match scheduled for the Monroe Civic Center pits Alex Andrade against Christian Fulgram.
The winner of the two semi-final contests will get a top prize of $50,000 for their efforts. The event is being brought to Monroe by Keeppunching Entertainment of Lafayette and ESPN Deportes.
Military personnel, active, reserve, national guard and veteran will be admitted free. Keeppunching
Entertainment CEO Kerry Daigle and Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney announced at last Tuesday's press conference that any military person who arrives in uniform or Military ID will be admitted free and be seated in their own designated section of the arena.
"We are honoring our people in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, honoring National Guard and veterans, as well as our semi-finalist, Damien Stelly, by making this special offer," said Daigle.
Stelly, an All-American wrestler, is also a World FIAS Champion, Georgia Golden Gloves champion, 2002 Amateur Athletic Union Freestyle Wrestling national champion and a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Stelly is also a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army and has completed three tours in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army Rangers.
Stelly joined the Army immediately after graduating high school. Initially, his goal in joining the Army was to wrestle in the world-class All Army team, but it wasn't long after boot camp that he became hooked on life in the military. On September 11, 2001, he and his friends at Fort Benning, Georgia, were the first to courageously deploy in Operation Enduring Freedom.
Now a veteran, Stelly serves as an instructor at the U.S. Army Combatives School, where he teaches a new generation of soldiers high-level hand-to-hand combat. It was here that his love of fighting and competition was rekindled.
With the support of his fellow soldiers, he has been able to take a leave of absence to compete in MMA fights. He has proudly represented the Army while building his strong 8-2 record as a Light Heavyweight. Of his eight victories, all have come by way of TKO or submission, with only one going beyond the first round. Stelly, after having dropped weight, will be competing against Hector Lombard in the Middleweight bout for a $50,000 reward.
Tickets for the event are available at the Monroe Civic Center Box Office and at all Ticketmaster outlets. For Ticketmaster tickets, visit www.ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Tickets will be $15 for general admission, and $25 and $40 for seats.