Bellator Fighting Championships is back in Ontario this weekend as Bellator 79 is set to take place on Friday night from Casino Rama in Orillia. Rama is the second show in Bellator's swing through this area as they held another successful show in Windsor on October 12th that saw star Eddie Alvarez headline the show with a head kick knockout win over Patricky Friere.
This is the second time this year that Bellator has made a two stop swing through southern Ontario, and fans are enjoying and getting used to the excitement and elite level mixed martial arts that Bellator's roster brings. This weekend's show is very solid on the top of the card, although it lacks the star power that has been delivered to the fans in the past.
Ontario fans have been treated with headliners such as Alvarez, Ben Askren, Michael Chandler, Akihiro Gono in the last few shows and there are no names with that status on this card. However, the main card features four fights involving three fighters that Canadian fans know very well, and may be enough to fill the seats at Rama.
Popular Canadian welterweight Ryan The Real Deal Ford will be in feature fight action against the relatively unknown Kyle Baker. There is not a lot at stake in this one as it is not involved in any tournament or title climb, but Ford, who has been kicking ass north of the border for years now has a very loyal following. he is 6-1 in his last seven fights and made a successful Bellator debut in May with a TKO over Luis Santos. Ford should get the largest pop out of the crowd, and a win will keep him in contention for possible tournament entry down the road.
Mike Richman will be fighting on the card in a featherweight tournament semi-final match up against top Russian Shahbulat Shamhalaev. Richman made himself known to the local crowd in April when he knocked out local fan favorite Chris Horodecki with a lightning fast and devastating combination. The knockout shocked and silenced the crowd inside Caesars Windsor. Richman fought for the Windsor fans again last month and shocked again with a head kick knockout 23 seconds into his fight with Jeremy Spoon.
The third fighter on the main card that Canadian fans are very familiar with is Douglas Lima. Lima will be fighting Jacob Ortiz and is the former Maximum Fighting Championships welterweight champion. MFC is based out of Edmonton and is the longest standing MMA promotion in Canada. Lima dominated his opponents in his time in the MFC and his title led to his signing in Bellator. Lima then made a run through the season 5 welterweight tournament to earn a shot at champion Ben Askren. Lima fought Askren in Windsor in April and lost a lopsided, unanimous decision to the current champ.
The main card is rounded out and headlined by a heavyweight tournament semi-final bout between Thiago Santos and Richard Hale. There are also five preliminary fights on the card featuring up and coming Canadians Vladimir Starcencov and Guillaume DeLorenzi.
Dwight Wakabayashi is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA and guest blogger for Sportsnet.ca.