After an entertaining run during Season 5 including a highlight-reel knockout of 145-pound champion Joe Warren and the emergence of Eduardo Dantas as a force to be reckoned with, Bellator is bringing back the bantamweights for a tournament in the first half of 2012 featuring a few familiar faces as well as a handful of newcomers.

According to an official press release, last season’s competitors Alexis Vila, Ed West, and Marcos Galvao are all set for the Season 6 field, as are two up-and-coming 135ers out of Brazil – Luis Nogueira and Rodrigo Lima.

Vila, a former Olympic medalist, rose to fame after stopping Warren with strikes in their quarterfinal fight, while Galvao and West both had solid showings in the Season 5 tournament as well. Meanwhile, Nogueira holds a 12-2 and Lima is undefeated at 9-0 with seven of the victories involving some form of stoppage.

The remaining three slots are expected to be filled in the coming weeks. As is always the case with Bellator tournaments the last man standing will be awarded a $100,000 paycheck in addition to a shot at the divisional champion.

MMATraining Take: I’d like to see Vila and Galvao matched up again in hopes of determining a more decisive winner than was the case in their fight earlier this year. The rest of the lineup looks on point so far. Hopefully one of the remaining vacancies will be filled by a certain mullet-having former UFC star but it’s probably a bit too much to hope for.