Earlier this month, Bellator MMA held open tryouts for spots on their two Hawaii fight cards on December 20th and 21st. The aim was to give local prospects a chance to shine on the big stage. Now, we know who will get the opportunity.
Eight fighters from Hawaii were chosen from the open tryouts, two of whom will be showcased on main cards.
For the Bellator & USO event on December 20th, Braydon Akeo (3-0) will fight blue-chip prospect Tywan Claxton (5-1) on the main card. The bout will be at the 145 pound featherweight division. On the prelims, Kauai’s Hunter Ewald (0-0) was also selected from the tryouts. The jiu-jitsu phenom will make his pro debut against fellow Hawaii boy Jonathan Pico (1-1) at 170 pounds. Max Holloway training partner Pierre Daguzan (5-3), who will fight California’s Cass Bell (4-0) at 135 pounds. California’s Jamie Thorton (6-5) was also selected — she will fight Maui’s Tiani Valle (3-2) at 125 pounds.
At Bellator 236 on December 21st, another of Max Holloway’s training partners from the open tryouts will be on the main card. Cheyden Leialoha (7-1) will take on Nebraska native Raufeon Stots (12-1) at 135 pounds. On the undercard, tryout prospect Ben Wilhelm (3-0) will go against Kona Oliveira (1-2) in a battle of local boys at 170 pounds. Wahiawa-born Keoni Diggs (7-0) and Big Island’s Scotty Hao (4-2) were both selected from tryouts, and will fight each other at 155 pounds. Hawaii’s Swayne Lunasco and Kaylan Gorospe will make their pro debuts against each other at 135 pounds. They were both selected from the open tryouts.
Both of the Bellator fight cards will take place at the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, and will be streamed exclusively on DAZN.