Bellator has finalized the first-round matchups for its upcoming welterweight tournament, which begins on April 15 at the Chicago Theatre.
Kicking off the tourney will be highly regarded prospect Ben Askren
, a former NCAA wrestling champion and U.S. Olympian who is 3-0 so far in his pro fighting career. Askren will take on Ryan Thomas
(10-3) in the opener.
Action will continue the next week with rest of the first-round bouts. Those matchups include Dan Hornbuckle
(19-2) against Sean Pierson
(9-4), Jim Walhead
(18-5) vs. unbeaten Jacob McClintock
(6-0) and Brett Cooper
(12-5) taking on Steve Carl (12-1).
The winner of the tournament will take on last season's 170-pound champion, Lyman Good
Bellator's featherweight field was set last week
, and the promotion expects to release pairings for its lightweight and middleweight tournaments sometime in March.
The promotion's fights will air live on Fox Sports Net.