Josh Barnett faces Ronny Markes at Bellator USO Salute the Troops Hawaii
Josh Barnett (pictured right) faces Ronny Markes at Bellator & The USO 'Salute the Troops' special in Hawaii | Pic: Facebook/ JoshBarnettOfficial

Bellator MMA announced the second edition of “Salute the Troops” presented in collaboration with the USO. The event takes place at the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii on December 21 (AEST). It follows the previous show produced a year ago at the same venue. The headline-bout features Josh Barnett and Ronny Markes, squaring off at heavyweight.

Josh Barnett (35-8) is a former UFC Heavyweight champion, winning the belt in 2002 against Randy Couture by TKO in the second round. In his previous bout in September 2016 he submitted Andrei Arlovski in the third round. He has signed with Bellator MMA in April.

Ronny Markes (19-7) also makes his promotional debut. He is coming off the win by TKO in the second round scored against Sigi Pesaleli in June. Earlier in his career he competed in various promotions, including UFC, Shooto, M-1 Global.

(Via the announcement sent out by the promotion)
“For a second year, the USO and Bellator team up to honor the men and women who fight for our freedom and to bring entertainment and a piece of home to service members based in Hawaii during the holiday season. This Salute the Troops event will bring Bellator athletes and personalities to the military community and provide a live free event as a thank you for their sacrifices and dedication to our country, especially for those who are separated from family and home during the holidays. Much like last year, Bellator and the USO will also partner for a week of special events in Hawaii leading up to the big weekend of exciting fights on December 20 and 21 [Dec. 21-22 AEST].”

“As the leading military support organization, the USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. This holiday season, hundreds of thousands of service members will remain on duty, away from home. The USO, through its programs, services and entertainment tours, is committed to bringing a piece of home to our nation’s service men and women. MMA fans and military supporters can help keep troops strong and connected to home by visiting and by using the hashtag #USOHolidays when sharing how they have helped the USO’s critical mission to make the holidays special for our military heroes.”

The “Salute the Troops” event is scheduled on Paramount Network and DAZN.

A day after, December 22 (AEST) is the second part of the weekend’s program billed as “Bellator Hawaii”. In the main eventĀ undefeated Ilima-Lei Macfarlane defends her flyweight title against Kate Jackson. In the co-main event AJ McKee and Derek Campos meet in the quarterfinal of Featherweight World Grand Prix.