Bellator champion Ben Askren has been itching to defend his welterweight title, and he'll finally return to the cage on January 24th.
Sherdog reports that Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney has announced four pending matches for Bellator 86, the company's second event in their eighth season. It'll be the second fight card ever hosted on SPIKE, as the promotion moves off its MTV2 and Bellator.com programming slot.
Aside from Ben Askren's return, the card will also feature the debut of former Strikeforce light heavyweight title holder Muhammed 'King Mo' Lawal.
Lawal returns to active competition for the first time since January 2012, including a nine-month suspension period due to a positive drug test for Drostanolone, an anabolic steroid used for bodybuilding.
Here's how the card is currently shaping up, with four matches announced so far:
• Ben Askren (Champion) vs. Karl Amousson
• Muhammed Lawal vs. TBA - Light Heavyweight Tournament
• Ben Saunders vs. TBA - Welterweight Tournament
• Douglas Lima vs. TBA - Welterweight Tournament
Ben Saunders and Douglas Lima are two of four fighters featured in SPIKE's "Vote for the Fight", a promotion where fans would vote to see which two fighters would compete in Bellator's first fight of the new season.
Welterweight competitors Paul Daley and War Machine were originally selected, but War Machine pulled out of the match with a torn ALC injury. Rebney says War Machine will be out of action for four to six months, but still intends to make the fight happen later on.