The fight card for next week's Bellator 87 event now is official with the addition of seven preliminary-card bouts.
The preliminary-card lineup is filled with veterans and several Michigan natives, including one-time "Ultimate Fighter" hopeful Amir Khillah, plus Strikeforce vets Saad Awad, Ben Lagman and James Reese.
Bellator 87 takes place Jan. 31 at Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. The main card airs on Spike TV following prelims on Spike.com. The main card features all four opening-round fights in Bellator's Season 8 lightweight tournament. David Rickels draws Lloyd Woodard, Guillaume DeLorenzi meets Patricky Freire, Will Brooks faces Ricardo Tirloni, and Thiago Michel takes on Alexander Sarnavskiy.
Saad Awad (12-4 MMA, 0-1 BFC) brings a four-fight win streak into his lightweight fight against meets Jason Fischer (5-1 MMA, 2-1 BFC). Awad went 3-0 in 2012 and is 4-0, all in regional competition, since a second-round submission loss in an April 2011 Strikeforce fight against Joe Duarte. Fischer, a Detroit aren native, will fight for the fourth time under the Bellator banner. In November, he dropped a unanimous decision to David Rickels at Bellator 82, which also took place in Mt. Pleasant.
Sam Quito (11-4 MMA, 0-0 BFC) makes his Bellator debut against fellow promotional newcomer Ben Lagman (7-2 MMA, 0-0 BFC), who will be fighting for the first time since a loss to Anthony Smith in a Strikeforce fight in July 2011. Quito has won four of his past five fights. Though Lagman has fought at middleweight in the past, he makes the drop to welterweight for this bout.
James "J.P." Reese (8-4 MMA, 1-0 BFC) returns to Bellator for the first time since a win over Martin Brown at Bellator 50. He is 3-3 since then, including a loss to Bobby Green at a November 2011 Strikeforce show. He takes on Michigan-based David Shepherd (5-2 MMA, 0-0 BFC), who will be fighting for the first time since April 2010.
In a lightweight bout, Season 12 hopeful for "The Ultimate Fighter" Amir Khillah (10-5 MMA, 0-0 BFC) gets his first official shot at a major promotion when he meets John Schulz (4-0 MMA, 1-0 BFC). Khillah, from Michigan, has won five of his past six fights, but in June dropped a split decision to James Krause at RFA 3. Schulz, also from Michigan, in November stopped Hector Garcia with a second-round TKO at Bellator 82.
Another Michigan native, Justin Houghton (5-2 MMA, 0-1 BFC), looks to snap a two-fight skid when he takes on Cody Stamann (2-0 MMA, 0-0 BFC) in a featherweight bout. In a battle of unbeaten heavyweights, Jason Fish (2-0 MMA, 0-0 BFC) meets British import Karl Etherington (7-0 MMA, 0-0 BFC).
And in a bantamweight bout, Nick Kirk (9-1 MMA, 0-1 BFC) meets Tony Zelinski (3-2 MMA). Kirk, from Minneapolis, suffered his lone pro loss at Bellator 67 with a unanimous decision setback against David Harris. He's won two straight since then. Michigan native Zelinski got back in the win column in February after a November 2011 head-kick TKO loss to Sergio Pettis.
The full Bellator 87 card now includes:
MAIN CARD (Spike TV, 10 p.m. ET)
David Rickels vs. Lloyd Woodard - lightweight tournament opening round
Guillaume DeLorenzi vs. Patricky "Pitbull" Freire - lightweight tournament opening round
Will Brooks (8-0) vs. Ricardo Tirloni - lightweight tournament opening round
Thiago Michel vs. Tiger Sarnavskiy - lightweight tournament opening round
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike.com, 8 p.m. ET)
Saad Awad vs. Jason Fischer
Sam Quito vs. Ben Lagman
James. Reese vs. David Shepherd
Cody Stamann vs. Justin Houghton
Jason Fish vs. Karl Etherington
John Schulz vs. Amir Killah
Nick Kirk vs. Tony Zelinski