BELLATOR NEWS: Recapping a flurry of fight announcements.
Bader vs Kongo set as Bellator 226 Main Event
As announced by Bellator last week, Bellator 226 has a main event set, and it will be Champ-Champ Ryan Bader, facing off against former UFC vet Cheick Kongo.
This will be Bader’s first fight out of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix, and he challenges a very tough opponent. While Bader currently rides a 7 fight win streak, being 5-0 in Bellator, winning his last fight over Fedor, his opponent rides an impressive win streak as well.
Kongo is on the run of his life, riding an 8 fight winning streak. Despite his last fight being a very controversial decision win over Vitaly Minakov, he hasn’t gotten this fight off of a questionable win, as he has handled other top heavyweight’s in the past 4 years with relative ease to earn this shot.
While Kongo is 8 years older,and more experienced in the fight cage, this fight on paper seems close,as we have two heavy wrestlers with the ability to stand.
Bellator 228 adds 2 Huge Fights in Pitbull/Archuleta and Mousasi/Machida
Just 3 weeks after Bellator 226, a much bigger show hits The Forum in Los Angeles, as Bellator 227 adds a title fight, and a title eliminator to its card.
Mousasi vs Machida
In the title eliminator co-main event, we get a fight between a former UFC champion, and former Bellator champion. These two fought over 5 years ago in a similar position:A title eliminator for a shot at the UFC middleweight championship.
Now, all this time later the two meet in a different atmosphere, with the same idea in mind.
Despite coming off a loss in which his belt was lost, Mousasi showed a glimpse of dominance when he joined the company, and won the belt his second fight in. He followed this up by steamrolling the welterweight champion Rory MacDonald in his next fight.
Despite not getting his title rematch, Mousasi draws the fight he has wanted for years. Machida to his credit, rides a 4 fight winning streak, being 2-0 in the Bellator cage. Despite beating a far past prime Chael Sonnen in his last fight, Machida still has incredible talent, and he showed it during his debut in the organization against Rafael Carvalho.
This fight will be very different from their first fight, as both fighters are completely different fighters, but it may not go as many expect, as the fight features two determined men, willing to do whatever it takes to get the top again.
In this fight, we see “The “Dragon” who refuses to let the flame inside be extinguished challenging a younger, grizzled, hungry buck who looks to take vengeance, on his way back to the top.
Bellator Announces the Field for the 16-Man Featherweight Grand Prix
While I was originally going to have an in depth look at Patrício “Pitbull” Freire vs. Juan Archuleta, this mega news takes priority. The tournament matches have been announced as follows
Daniel Straus vs Derek Campos
Pat Curran vs Adam Borics
Emmanuel Sanchez vs Tywan Claxton
Sam Sicilia vs Pedro Carvalho
Patricio Pitbull (c) vs Juan Archuleta
Darrion Caldwell vs Henry Corrales
Daniel Weichel vs Saul Rogers
A.J. McKee vs Georgi Karakhanyan
This is big news, and some of the fights to look forward too are McKee/Karakhanyan, Caldwell/Corrales, Pitbull/Archuleta, and Straus/Campos with these just being a few to look forward too.
Bellator Dublin gets a Main Event
As just announced by Bellator days ago, Bellator Dublin, which takes place between 226 and 228, gets its main event with Irish star James Gallagher fighting relative unknown fighter Cal Ellenor. Ellenor, who holds an 8-2 record, being 1-0 in Bellator, is unknown to most, yet steps in to main event in Ireland against Bellator’s hopeful Conor McGregor, in James Gallagher.
Gallagher, 22, has a 9-1 record riding a 2 fight win streak. This marks another fight that many will expect Gallagher to steamroll his opponent, but who knows what can happen.
Bellator Lightweight and Light heavyweight titles face uncertain future
Although nothing breaking has been announced by the company as of yet, both champions in the Lightweight, and Light Heavyweight division have now booked fights in other divisions.
To start with the Lightweight gold, it was expected for Pitbull to surrender the belt if he won it, but when he won it, he hinted at defending it.
However, Pitbull has now signed on for the Bellator featherweight grand prix, in which he will defend his title, and if all goes right, will defend it 4 times.
This means that almost certainly, the lightweight strap will be vacated.
Whether that means we get a small lightweight grand prix, or former champ Michael Chandler fighting someone else for the vacant strap, is yet to be known; but this should be more clear in the near future.
Light Heavyweight Uncertainty
As for the Light heavyweight crown, it is unknown what the plan is, but a vacated strap seems necessary at this time.
After winning the belt in his debut, Ryan Bader would go on to defend the belt early-November 2017 against Linton Vassel, before entering the Bellator heavyweight grand prix, ultimately winning it.
However, now defending the Heavyweight crown at Bellator 226 in September, it will have made it almost 2 years since a title defense in the 205 Division. The Light heavyweight division has it’s obvious #1 contender in Vadim Nemkov, but who he would fight remains a question.
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