A gem of a featherweight contest pitting divisional standoutsEmmanuel Sanchez (13-2) and Daniel “The Weasel” Weichel (36-9) has been added to the main card of“Bellator 159: Caldwell vs. Taimanglo” on July 22 inside Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas. Completing the televised card, Philipe Lins (9-1) will face Guilherme Viana (7-2) in light heavyweight action and Brazilian strawweight Bruna Ellen (2-0) will make her promotional debut against Jessica Middleton.
The fights join a main and co-main event that has the MMA world abuzz, featuring the undefeated Darrion Caldwell (9-0), who will meet Joe Taimanglo (22-6) in a 135-pound main event to determine the No. 1 contender for Bellator MMA’s Bantamweight Championship. In support, Kansas’ own Dave Rickels (17-4) will return to Mulvane’s Kansas Star Arena to face the always-exciting Melvin Guillard (32-16-2). In addition, multiple preliminary contests have also been confirmed, namely, the debut of recent strawweight signee Bruna Vargas (2-0) who will be facing Emily Ducote (2-1) and Uruguay’s favorite MMA superstar, Gaston Reyno (5-1), when he takes on L.J. Hermeck (3-1). Both of these preliminary bouts will stream live on Bellator.com and The Bellator Mobile App beginning at 7 p.m. ET.
“Bellator 159: Caldwell vs. Taimanglo” airs live on Spike at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT. Tickets for the event start at just $27 and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com, KansasStarEventCenter.com or the Kansas Star Arena box office. Doors for the event open at 5:30 p.m. CT local time and the first preliminary bout will commence one hour later.
“The Weasel” has shown great consistency as of late, recording wins in eight of his last nine fights dating back to 2012 over fighters the likes of Pat Curran and Georgi Karakhanyan. Since joining Bellator MMA in 2014, the German featherweight has posted a 5-1 record, proving time and time again that he belongs among the division’s elite. Of his 36 career wins, 21 have come by way of submission, making Weichel one of the most skilled athletes on the ground. The 31-year-old submission specialist will look to build off his deserving unanimous decision win against Karakhanyan at “Bellator 147: Thomson vs. Villaseca,” as he prepares to take on “El Matador” inside Kansas Star Arena on July 22.
Sanchez also enters this contest having won five of his first six bouts under the Bellator MMA banner. Hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and training at the world-renown Roufusport camp, “El Matador” has recently put together an impressive run, claiming wins in nine of his last 10 fights. The 25-year-old most recently defeatedDaniel Pineda via split decision at the record-shattering “Bellator 149: Shamrock vs. Gracie” event in Houston. Sanchez will enter the cage riding a three-fight winning streak, all of which subsequently ended in split decision victories.
At only 30 years of age, Viana has impressed only nine fights into his professional career. Most recently, Viana put his unique skillset on full display against Houston Alexander at “Bellator 146: Kato vs. Manhoef,” emerging victorious after a second-round knockout. The Brazilian light heavyweight now has seven career finishes to his name, including three in the first round, and will look to add to that total when he enters the cage with fellow Brazilian competitor Philipe Lins on July 22.
Hailing from Natal, Lins has consistently impressed through his first 10 professional bouts, recording nine wins, with four victories coming by way of knockout. After winning his first four professional fights, Lins decided to take an extended break from MMA from 2007 until 2011. After the hiatus, Lins rallied off five wins, including his first two bouts under the Bellator MMA umbrella. Now, “Monstro” will look to return to the cage for the first time since a brutal knee injury that he suffered against Kelly Anundson at “Bellator 122” back in 2014.
Undefeated to start her professional career, Bruna Ellen, 20, competed twice in 2015, winning both of her bouts. A member of Team Nogueira Campinas in Sao Paulo, Ellen recently did a stint of training at the world-renown Blackzilians gym in Florida, where she continued to hone her budding striking and skills on the mat.
Eight years the elder of Ellen, Middleton will be making her professional debut after a stellar 4-1 amateur record on the regional scene. If unfamiliar with her work, look no further than her spectacular finish of Holly Torrez via spinning-backfist here.
The full Bellator 159 card can be found below:
Bellator MMA Bantamweight Main Event: Darrion Caldwell (9-0) vs. Joe Taimanglo (22-6)
Bellator MMA Lightweight Co-Main Event: Dave Rickels (17-4, 1 NC) vs. Melvin Guillard (32-16-2, 2 NC)
Bellator MMA Featherweight Feature Bout: Daniel Weichel (36-9) vs. Emmanuel Sanchez (13-2)
Bellator MMA Light Heavyweight Feature Bout: Philipe Lins (9-1) vs. Guilherme Viana (7-2)
Bellator MMA Strawweight Feature Bout: Bruna Ellen (2-0) vs. Jessica Middleton (Debut)
Bellator MMA Strawweight Preliminary Bout: Bruna Vargas (2-0) vs. Emily Ducote (2-1)
Bellator MMA Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Gaston Reyno (5-1, 1 NC) vs. L.J. Hermreck (3-1)
Bellator MMA Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Manny Meraz (8-2) vs. Trey Ogden (5-1)
Bellator MMA Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Chris Harris (6-0) vs. Matt Foster (6-8)
Bellator MMA Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Marcio Navarro (14-12) vs. Fernando Martinez (14-10-1)
Bellator MMA Bantamweight Preliminary Bout: Johnny Marigo (1-0) vs. Andy Riley (2-1)
Bellator MMA Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Josh Pfeifer (4-2) vs. Rome Lindsay (5-5)
Bellator MMA Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Chuka Willis (8-2) vs. Brandon Phillips (5-1)Check out our latest podcast episode featuring a conversation with Cortney Casey.