Bellator 98 highlighted by title fight, Fight Master finale and Joe Warren's return

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Bellator's ninth season kicks off on Sept. 7 with a middleweight title fight, the Fight Master finale and the return of one of the company's most popular fighters.

While the Fight Master participants won't be revealed until after the show plays out on Spike TV, we know Alexander Shlemenko will defend his middleweight title against veteran Doug Marshall and former featherweight champ Joe Warren takes on Nick Kirk at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

Shlemenko (47-7), the Bellator seasons two and five middleweight tourney winner, is making his first title defense after knocking out Maiquel Falcao to claim the vacant belt in February. Marshall (18-6), a former WEC light heavyweight champion, won the Bellator season eight tourney to earn his title shot.

Warren (8-3) shook off a two-fight losing streak with a won over Owen Evinger last November and meets a fighter with a 10-2 record in Kirk.

The event also features the first round in the latest middleweight tournament. The full quarterfinal lineup: Brett Cooper (19-8) vs. Andreas Spang (8-3); Dan Cramer (10-4) vs. Perry Filkins (7-1); Brian Rogers (10-5) vs. Mikkel Parlo (9-1); Jason Butcher (6-0) vs. Giva Santana (18-2).

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