Bellator III takes place April 17th in Oklahoma

The third week of the BELLATOR FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIPS’ inaugural 2009 season takes place this Friday, April 17, 2009, at the Lloyd Noble Center at the University of Oklahoma beginning at 8:00PM. The event will air the following day on ESPN Deportes.

The card will feature four middleweight (185 lbs.) tournament bouts, one welterweight (170 lbs.) tournament bout, and four non-tournament bouts.

Former UFC fighter and longtime MMA veteran, Dave Menne (42-15-2), will make his Bellator debut against Norman Paraisy (5-0) in the lone welterweight bout.

The 35-year-old Menne has been fighting professionally since 1997. His first appearance in the Octagon was at UFC 33 when he won a unanimous decision over Gil Castillo (8-5). He has been in the cage with many of the sport’s top names with notable wins over Eddie Sanchez, Chris Lytle, and Carlos Newton.

Menne’s opponent, Norman Paraisy, is a 22-year-old American Top Team product out of France. This will be Paraisy’s first fight on American soil. His last fight was at “M-1 Challenge 6 – Korea” where he defeated Hidehiko Hasegawa (16-11-5) by majority decision. He has three submission and two decision victories on his undefeated record.

UFC 26 veteran, Alex Andrade (8-4), will be fighting “Art of War” veteran James Damien Stelly (8-2).
The 34-year-old Andrade is coming off a win over John Troyer (8-2) at “RFL: Proving Ground” last July. Prior to that he had a disqualification loss to Krzysztof Soszynski (16-8-1) in March ’08 at “Ring of Combat 18.”

Damien Stelly’s won his most recent fight with a submission over Jon Kirk at “Urban Rumble Championship” in August ’08.

Stelly’s most notable opponent was UFC light heavyweight prospect, Luis Arthur Cane (9-1) at “Art of War 3” in 2007. Unfortunately, Stelly suffered a KO loss in the fight, but it was his last defeat and since then he has reeled off three straight victories.

Heavyweight fighter Eddie Sanchez (11-3) will be fighting for the first time since being released from the UFC after back-to-back losses. The 27-year-old Sanchez will be fighting Xtreme Couture fighter and Las Vegas resident, Jay White (4-5) in one of four non-tournament bouts.

White has been in the cage with such fighters as Jeff Monson (30-8), Jake O’Brien (11-2), and Christian Wellisch (8-5). Unfortunately, he lost to all three, with two losses to Monson. However, he has won his last two fights, the most recent being a TKO over Ralph Kelly (4-6) at “Katana Cagefighting Conquest” last December.

Bellator Fighting Championships III

Tournament Bouts:
185 lbs. – Jared Hess (6-0-1) vs. Daniel Tabera (12-1-3)
185 lbs. – Alex Andrade (8-4) vs. Damien Stelly (8-2)
185 lbs. – Virgil Lozano (6-1) vs. Hector Lombard (18-2)
170 lbs. – Dave Menne (42-15-2) vs. Norman Paraisy (5-0)
185 lbs. – Edwin Aguilar (20-12) vs. Yosmany Cabezas (7-1)
Non-Tournament Bouts:
Light Heavyweight 205 lbs. – Mike Messina (2-1) vs. William Albrecht (5-6)
Heavyweight 205 lbs. – Eddie Sanchez (11-3) vs. Jay White (4-5)
Heavyweight 205 lbs. – Tyler East (0-0) vs. Amedio Viola (0-1)
Light Heavyweight 205 lbs. – Rudy Lindsay (0-0) vs. Wayne Cole (13-9)

Tickets can be purchased at the Lloyd Noble Center box office and all Ticketmaster outlets. Ticketmaster customers may log on to Ticketmaster.com, call Ticketmaster’s national toll free Charge By Phone number 1.800.745.3000, or visit any Ticketmaster outlet.

By:  Jack Bratcher