Bellator has released the bracket for it's Season 8 Light Heavyweight tournament, which is set to kick off this January 17. The Grand Prix will feature eight men vying for a chance to contest the promotion's current 205-pound kingpin, Christian M'Pumbu, later this year.
Among this season's crop of tournament contestants are former UFC fighters Seth Petruzelli and Renato "Babalu" Sobral, as well as former Strikeforce champion Muhammed Lawal.
Rounding out the field is Emanuel Newton, Mikhail Zayats, Jacob Noe, Atanas Djambazov and Przemyslaw Mysiala.
Three of the tourney's four first-round showdowns will run as part of Bellator's Spike TV debut. The card will be on January 17 from Irvine, California, and will include Petruzelli vs. Noe, Sobral vs. Zayats and Newton vs. Djambazov, as well as a non-tournament lightweight title fight between Michael Chandler and Rick Hawn.
The final first-round bout between Lawal and Mysiala will happen a week later on January 24 from Thackerville, Oklahoma. That event will be headlined by a welterweight title match between Ben Askren and Karl Amoussou.
Beyond the first-round structure, the tournament looks like this: the winner of Petruzelli vs. Noe will face the winner of Sobral vs. Zayats in Round 2, while the winner of Lawal vs. Mysiala will take on the victor from Newton vs. Djambazov. The winner from each semi-final will then square off for tournament honors and the right to fight for Bellator gold.
It looks like Spike TV will once again deliver some solid MMA action, even if in 2013 it is no longer of the UFC variety.