Frank Caraballo (pictured) returns to the Bellator cage to face Dustin Kempf on Sept. 24. Photo courtesy of Bellator

Bellator 51 is scheduled to take place at the Canton Civic Center in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday, Sept. 24. The event features the quarterfinals of Bellator’s season five bantamweight tournament and will air LIVE on MTV2 and in HD on EPIX at 9 p.m. ET.

In addition, Bellator has teamed up with local promotion North American Allied Fight Series and put together a six-fight preliminary card loaded with Ohio talent that will air free and LIVE on at 7 p.m. ET.

Cleveland native and Bellator veteran Frank “The Tank” Caraballo (6-4) is coming off a June win to take on Carrollton’s Dustin “The Reaper” Kempf (6-4), who has been out of action since last November.

In women’s MMA action, Jessica “Evil” Eye (3-1), who trains out of Team Strongstyle in Cleveland, will take on Casey “KO” Noland (3-1), who trains at John Hackleman’s The Pit in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Another Team Strongstyle fighter, John Hawk (5-3), will face Tiffin’s Allan Weickert (6-8), who is making the move to light heavyweight for this bout.

In other light heavyweight action, undefeated Zanesville fighter Dan “Dragon” Spohn (5-0), out of Cambridge Martial Arts, will face Bowling Green’s Dane Bonnigson (1-1), a junior high math teacher who trains out of USA Martial Arts.

Newly signed Gracie Barra bantamweight from Kyrgyzstan, Farkhad Sharipov (13-3) returns to the Bellator cage riding a six fight win streak. Sharipov commented:

“I wanted to fight for Bellator because I’ve seen how they build a fighter from the ground up. I remember training with Joe Warren years ago before he ever fought for Bellator and I’ve watched as he’s become a world champion. That was a big factor in why I signed with Bellator.”

Sharipov’s opponent is still to be determined.

Last but not least, former Ohio State wrestling champion Clint Musser (2-0) will take on Team Impact’s Joey “The Hitman” Holt (0-0), an East Liverpool lightweight who will be making his pro MMA debut.

For the full Bellator 51 line-up including the main card, see’s Upcoming Events page.

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