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Bellator sets welterweight pairings, with Douglas Lima and Ben Saunders in opposite brackets

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Bellator

Bellator's season eight welterweight tournament has been set, and with decidedly less star power than originally planned after problems knocked two of its top expected entrants out of the field.

The welterweight tourney will begin on Jan. 24, as part of the card that will feature divisional champion Ben Askren attempting to defend his belt against Karl Amoussou.

The first bracket features Marius Zaromskis vs. Brent Weedman and Douglas Lima vs. Michail Tsarev; the other pairs Jose Gomes against Raul Amaya and Koffi Adzitso against Ben Saunders. All four of those quarterfinal fights will take place on Jan. 24.

Of the group, Lima will likely be considered the favorite, as the 25-year-old, who boasts a 22-5 career record, previously captured the season five tourney. He also holds a knockout win over Saunders, a former UFC fighter who is one of the other notables in the field.

Before being fully constructed, the field suffered the losses of Paul Daley and Jon "War Machine" Koppenhaver. Both were announced as participants, but Daley was ruled out due to visa issues and War Machine was forced out after breaking his fibula and tearing his ACL in training.

The Jan. 24 show takes place at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma, and also features the promotional debut of "King Mo" Muhammed Lawal.