Eddie Sanchez vs. Neil Grove to kick off Bellator Season 3 Heavyweight Tournament on Aug. 12th

CHICAGO, Ill. (July 19, 2010) — Bellator Fighting Championships’ much-anticipated Season 3 Heavyweight Tournament will kick off on Thursday, Aug. 12th with an intriguing opening-round fight between heavy-handed UFC veteran Eddie Sanchez and massive British knockout artist Neil “Goliath” Grove at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla.

Sanchez and Grove join a stacked Bellator 24 card that also features:

–         A special non-title “Super Fight” between reigning Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard (26-2-1) and former NFL standout Herbert “Whisper” Goodman (15-8);

–          An opening-round fight in Bellator’s Women’s World Championship Tournament featuring the world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound female fighter, Megumi Fujii, and veteran submission grappler Angela Magana, the world’s No. 8-ranked female fighter at 115 lbs.;

–         Another opening-round Women’s Tournament fight between the world’s No. 6-ranked 125-pounder, Lynn “Lights Out” Alvarez, and Jessica Aguilar, the world’s No.7-ranked 115-pounder.

Tickets for the event which will also be broadcast LIVE nationwide on FOX Sports Net are on sale now at ticketmaster.com.

The Sanchez-Grove fight is one of four opening-round fights in the Heavyweight Tournament that will take place during Bellator’s first four Season 3 events in South Florida, Chicago, Kansas City and San Antonio. Also competing in the tournament are undefeated European finisher Damian “The Polish Pitbull” Grabowski, Seattle-area knockout artist Mike “300” Hayes, Spanish submission ace Rogent Lloret, Georgia-based ground-and-pound specialist Scott Barrett and two yet-to-be named fighters.

Sanchez (12-3) has finished eight of his fights via KO or TKO. The San Diego native is now in the midst of a four-fight win streak that includes a devastating 10-second KO of Jay White during Bellator 7 in 2009 and a miraculous come-from-behind TKO victory over Marcus Sursa at Bellator 20 in San Antonio on May 27th.

Grove (8-2-1) has notched all eight of his wins via KO or TKO. The South African-born former semipro rugby player earned widespread recognition with a highlight-reel 10-second KO of former EliteXC, Pride and Sengoku headliner James Thompson and followed that up with an impressive TKO of UFC veteran James McSweeney.

“Both Eddie and Neil are known for their finishes so this should be an exciting fight,” said Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “In addition, fans watching Bellator 24 at the Hard Rock and on our national TV broadcasts will also get a chance to see some outstanding fights featuring stars like Hector Lombard and Megumi Fujii. It’s going to be a great night in South Florida on August 12th.”

For more information, visit Bellator.com, follow Bellator on Twitter @BellatorMMA or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Bellator.

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