Boxing and mixed martial arts operate like distant relatives — linked by blood, but separate.
Consider a planned doubleheader Aug. 26-27 at Honda Center a family reunion of sorts.
In an attempt to expand hybrid interest in the combat sports’ audiences, Bellator MMA and Premier Boxing Champions will stage back-to-back shows televised by their broadcast partner, Spike TV.
The Aug. 26 Bellator card will be headlined by a lightweight fight between former UFC champion Benson Henderson and former Bellator featherweight champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire, with the winner poised for a title shot.
The Aug. 27 boxing main event will be headlined by former two-division champion Robert Guerrero (33-4-1, 18 knockouts) against David Peralta (25-2-1, 14 KOs) in a welterweight bout.
“We believe combat sports fans love a great fight,” said Jon Slusser, Spike TV’s senior vice president of sports and specials. “These are two different types of fights, but if we can introduce more fans to each sport, that does nothing but great things for everyone.”
Tickets go on sale Thursday, with a two-night package discounted to breed the mutual interest.
Bellator’s Henderson, after being upset in his April debut against welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov, returns to the division where he twice defeated Frankie Edgar. He’s also beaten former UFC title challengers Nate Diaz and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
In Freire, Henderson meets a foe seeking to parlay the victory to a title shot against lightweight champion Michael Chandler, who claimed the belt by knocking out Freire’s brother, Patricky, on June 24.
Guerrero, 33, a former featherweight and super-featherweight world champion, is returning from an entertaining February loss to unbeaten welterweight champion Danny Garcia at Staples Center.
Guerrero has beaten former welterweight champion Andre Berto and gritty Yoshihiro Kamegai and has shown his willingness to accept any boxing challenge.
He lost a lopsided unanimous decision to unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May 2013 to open Mayweather’s six-fight deal on Showtime, and he dropped a unanimous decision to current unbeaten World Boxing Assn. welterweight champion Keith Thurman in the PBC debut in March 2015.
Argentina’s Peralta is making his U.S. debut.
The triple-header boxing card will include heavy-hitting super-middleweight Alfredo Angulo, who fought Canelo Alvarez in 2014, versus Freddy Hernandez (33-8).
Unbeaten middleweight Terrell Gausha (18-0), a 2012 U.S. Olympian from Cleveland, will meet New York’s Steve Martinez (16-2, 13 KOs).
Slusser said, “We think it’s going to be a big success, and, with that success, we’d like to try to do this again.”