A former regular stop for the UFC, Atlantic City is the first Garden State city to host Bellator Fighting Championships.
Caesars Atlantic City to Host Bellator 44
Bellator Fighting Championships has confirmed that it will head into the Garden State for the first time on May 14th, with Bellator 44 slated to occur at Caesars in Atlantic City. Airing live on television affiliate MTV2, the show will feature Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard (27-2-1) taking on UFC veteran Falaniko Vitale (29-9) in the main event.
“This is a great partnership for us,” Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney stated. “Atlantic City is a classic fight town, and New Jersey is a hotbed for Mixed Martial Arts, so it was a natural fit. And Hector vs. Falaniko should be a great fight.”
Lombard is a Black Belt in Judo, and the 32-year-old Cuban fighter competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in that discipline. He began his Mixed Martial Arts career in 2004 and broke onto the MMA scene in 2006 as a competitor in PRIDE, where he suffered the only two defeats on his resume. He joined the Australia-based Cage Fighting Championship (CFC) in 2007 and won the CFC Middleweight title in 2009 after doctors stopped a bout with Jared Hess. He has since successfully defended that title three times after becoming the champion. Currently on a 21-fight unbeaten streak, Lombard last stepped into the Bellator cage in October when he put his title on the line against Alexander Shlemenko at Bellator 34. Prior to that decision victory, he needed just six seconds to drop Jay Silva at Bellator 13, and it only took 38 ticks to run through former NFL running back Herbert Goodman at Bellator 24 in a non-title bout last August.
A native of Hawaii, Vitale enters this match on a three-fight winning streak, and he has also won eight of his last 10 outings. The stoppage specialist has needed the judges’ input in just four of his 29 career wins, stacking up 16 submission wins and nine knockouts on his resume. In addition to spending time in both the UFC and Strikeforce, Vitale has won the middleweight championship in two different promotions so far in his career, both in SuperBrawl and X-1, and he has also competed for the ICON Sports Middleweight Title.
No further matches were announced for the upcoming Atlantic City bill, but Bellator is expected to reveal the rest of the show in the coming weeks.