Lawal, Brooks, Minakov: Three Fighters to Watch Closely at Bellator 97

BellatorLogo550x190A number of prospects and veterans are set to fight at Bellator 97 this Wednesday. With just one day to go until the action, here are three fighters on the card for fans to pay particular attention to.

Will Brooks

Brooks first made his mark on the major MMA scene with a TKO win over Japanese fan favourite Satoru Kitaoka last New Year’s eve. The win helped lead to a signing with Bellator and a win over Ricardo Tirloni at Bellator 87.

He then went to suffer the first defeat of his MMA career after losing to Saad Awad by KO at Bellator 91 in February. Five months later, and Brooks will be looking to redeem himself when he goes up against Cris Leyva. It is vital that Brooks win this fight in great fashion as it will tremendously boost his confidence in the lead up to his opening Season 9 Lightweight tournament fight against John Alessio at Bellator 101.

Mohammed Lawal

The former Strikeforce standout was slated to be a huge presence in Bellator, but that didn’t go to plan after ‘King Mo’ lost to Emanuel Newton by KO at Bellator 90. He got back into the win column by beating Seth Petruzelli last month and will look to build on that by beating Jacob Noe this Wednesday night as he looks to make a run for the Bellator Light Heavyweight title.

Vitaly Minakov

The Russian heavyweight has been quietly building up his resume as he attempts to become a force in the Bellator Heavyweght division. He beat Vladimir Starcencov and Ron Sparks in his two previous Bellator fights to boost his MMA record to 11-0.

He will hope to make it a twelfth straight win when he goes toe to toe with Ryan Martinez. The winner of the fight will earn a shot at Alexander Volkov for the title, making this fight – and the undefeated Minakov – one to watch at Bellator 97.

From Perth, Australia, Bruno has been an MMA fan on and off (mostly on) for 10 years. He did Taekwondo for a few years as a kid and dabbled in BJJ and Muay Thai as an adult, but is more an MMA fan than anything else. He is also an experienced journalist and writer, having written a number of articles on an array of topics.