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Thursday, February 2, 2012
Bellator schedules lightweight quarters

By Franklin McNeil
ESPN.com

Bellator Fighting Championships will hold its Season 6 Lightweight Tournament quarterfinals March 23 at Texas' Laredo Energy Center, the promotion announced Thursday.

Hard-hitting Patricky Freire (10-2) will meet Lloyd Woodard (11-1) in the Bellator 62 feature bout. The lightweight quarterfinal fights will air on MTV2 at 8 p.m. ET.

Freire enters the cage off an impressive TKO of UFC veteran Kurt Pellegrino in November. Woodard is looking to return to his winning ways after suffering the loss of his pro career -- a unanimous decision setback in April to current Bellator lightweight titleholder Michael Chandler.

Former welterweight contender Rick Hawn makes his 155-pound debut against Ricardo Tirloni.

"I felt like I was sort of undersized in the last tournament," said Hawn, who was runner-up in the Bellator Season 4 Welterweight Tournament. "Everyone had a height advantage on me, and while I thought I made a good run in my last welterweight tournament, lightweight is going to be a better fit for me and just give me an advantage over everyone else."

In the other lightweight quarterfinal bouts, Brent Weedman takes on J.J. Ambrose and Rene Nazare faces highly touted prospect Thiago Michel.

"This lightweight field is so loaded with talent and world-class competitors," Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said. "This event should be loaded from start to finish."

Franklin McNeil covers mixed martial arts and boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Franklin_McNeil