Mixed martial arts has always been popular in the north west of England, but tonight, both main and co-main events at Bellator Newcastle involve fighters from the region, both of whom have pressure on them to perform. Not only is the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle sold out, but the event marks the first time that Bellator feature its European series live on Channel 5 on a Saturday night in prime time.
The main card airs live from 10pm tonight on Channel 5, the first of six events this year.
Ryan Scope, a former lightweight champion in the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts, faces Patricky Friere, the heavy-handed Brazilian who has become a cult figure in Bellator and has 13 knockouts in his twenty career victories, in a resume going back to 2005, when the Natal native joined the paid ranks at the age of twenty.
Scope, with one defeat in eleven outings, would gain a major scalp with a victory, but will need to weather the attacks of ‘Pitbull’ – one of two fighting brothers, his brother Patricio the reigning Bellator featherweight (145lbs) champion – who had words with the Sunderland fighter who tried to get under his skin at Friday’s weigh in.