PRELIMINARY ACTION FEATURING PROMOTIONAL DEBUT OF KENYA MIRANDA ADDED TO ‘BELLATOR 161’
MARK DICKMAN-DANIEL PINEDA SET FOR FEATHERWEIGHT CLASH & MIDDLEWEIGHTS GREGORY BABENE-‘KIKO’ FRANCE READY FOR BATTLE ON SEPTEMBER 16
A female flyweight bout pitting Kenya Miranda (2-2) against Emily Ducote (3-1) has been added to the preliminary portion of “Bellator 161: Kongo vs. Johnson,” which takes place on September 16 at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Texas.
In addition, featherweights Mark Dickman (11-2) and Daniel Pineda (21-12) have agreed to slug it out while Gregory Babene (17-11-1) and Francisco “Kiko” France (13-4-1) square off in a middleweight bout that will also be featured on the Bellator.com-streamed preliminary card.
The fights join a heavyweight main event pitting Cheick Kongo (24-10-2) against Tony Johnson (10-2) and a bantamweight showdown pitting Joe Warren (13-5) against Sirwan Kakai (12-4). In addition, a lightweight feature fight featuring Derek Campos (16-6) against Djamil Chan (12-2) and a female flyweight battle between Anastasia Yankova (3-0) and Veta Arteaga (2-0) will also highlight an electric main card.
“Bellator 161: Kongo vs. Johnson” will air LIVE and FREE on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT. Tickets for the event start at just $25 and can be purchased at Bellator.com, Ticketmaster, or the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park Box Office.
At 28, Miranda will be making her Bellator MMA debut when she steps into the cage on September 16. Since begining her professional career in 2014, Miranda has recorded a pair of wins, both of which came at the expense of opponent Natalia Cristina Silva. In her first career victory, the Brazilian prospect finished her challenger with a second round knockout and followed up the impressive performance with an equally splendid first round rear-naked choke submission. A native of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Miranda will look to prove she belongs with the world’s best when she meets her “Bellator 161: Kongo vs. Johnson” opponent.
Ducote burst onto the Bellator MMA scene following a second-round rear-naked choke finish of Bruna Vargas at “Bellator 159: Caldwell vs. Taimanglo.” The win earned the the 23-year-old Oklahoma native an exclusive contract with the Scott Coker-led promotion, and was her third straight win in 2016 since dropping the opening bout of her young mixed martial arts career. Training out of American Top Team’s affiliate in OKC, “Gordinha” will look to keep the momentum going when she takes on another top Brazilian prospect on September 16.
At 32-years-old, Dickman has quietly climbed the ranks as one of MMA’s most consistent featherweights. After beginning his professional career 5-0, the Las Vegas native continued his hot start, emerging victorious in nine of his first 10 bouts. The knockout artist will be making his second appearance under the Bellator MMA umbrella, after defeating Thomas Diagnevia brutal third round knockout at “Bellator 154: Davis vs. King Mo.” Of his 11 professional victories, seven have come by way of KO, punctuated by three first round finishes. “Tricky” enters this fight having won six of his last seven bouts and his last two, as he tries to add to his career total and remain unbeaten since joining the Bellator MMA circuit.
Best known as a submission specialist, the 30-year-old Pineda has spent time with multiple local promotions as well as the UFC during his 33-fight career. Nicknamed “The Pit,” Pineda enters the cage having won three of his last four bouts and the opportunity to earn his first victory since joining the Bellator MMA fray. Hailing from Houston, Pineda will have the hometown edge over his opponent as the Scott Coker-led promotion will take its talented roster to Cedar Park and the H-E-B Center for the first time. Dating back to 2012, each of his last six wins has come by way of submission, with five of them occurring in the opening round of action. It’s worth noting that all 21 of Pineda’s wins have come by way of knockout or submission.
Hailing from Paris, France, 29-fight veteran Babene will be making his second appearance under the Bellator MMA banner. The 32-year-old “Blade” emerged victorious in his promotional debut earlier this year, when he defeated Brandon Farran with a first round rear-naked choke submission at “Bellator 150: Kongo vs. Spartan.” The French middleweight has amassed 17 career wins thus far, 14 of which have come by way of knockout or submission. Babene will face one of the stiffest tests of his career, as he prepares to face rising middleweight “Kiko” France.
France will be fighting for the third time under the direction of Bellator MMA, after earning a victory over Ben Reiter in his Bellator debut at “Bellator 146: Kato vs. Manhoef.” The 33-year-old nicknamed “Kiko” will also be making his 19th overall appearance in the cage, where he has accrued 13 professional wins; 12 of which have come by way of submission. The Gilbert, Arizona native is currently riding a hot streak, claiming victories in six of his last eight fights (including one draw). The veteran submission specialist will have his hands full, as he prepares to enter enemy territory and challenge Babene in his home state of Texas on September 16th.
Updated “Bellator 161: Kongo vs. Johnson” Main Card:
Heavyweight Main Event: Cheick Kongo (24-10-2) vs. Tony Johnson (10-2)
Bantamweight Feature Bout: Joe Warren (13-5) vs. Sirwan Kakai (12-4)
Flyweight Feature Bout: Anastasia Yankova (3-0) vs. Veta Arteaga (2-0)
Lightweight Feature Bout: Derek Campos (16-6) vs. Djamil Chan (12-2)
Bellator.com-Streamed Preliminary Card:
Flyweight Preliminary Bout: Kenya Miranda (2-2) vs. Emily Ducote (3-1)
Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Mark Dickman (11-2) vs. Daniel Pineda (21-12)
Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Gregory Babene (17-11-1) vs. Francisco France (13-4-1)