Sports

Bellator Putting The Heavyweight Division In Spotlight

Champion Ryan Bader will defend his title against Cheick Kongo next month, while four contenders meet this Saturday at Bellator 225.

Bellator will give the heavyweight division the spotlight over the next two events, including a title defense by champion Ryan Bader.

First up, though, is Bellator 225 set for this Saturday night live on Paramount Network and DAZN from the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The card holds significant importance in the state, as it will be the second to take place from a major MMA promotion in Connecticut proper and not on a tribal or reservation land.

Bellator 225

Four Contenders In Action At Bellator 225

In the main event is a rematch between Matt Mitrione and Sergei Kharitonov. Earlier this year at Bellator 215, Mitrione landed an accidental groin kick that stopped the fight and resulted in a no-contest after just 15 seconds.

Both fighters agreed a rematch was in order, and officials signed it for the summer. Related: Bellator 225: Sergei Kharitonov “Has Feeling” Win Will Lead To Title Fight

The co-headline bout features two more heavyweights in Vitaly Minakov and Javy Ayala. It is very possible that one of these four men will be the next challenger to throne, or a true No. 1 contender match is made between the winners.

Bellator 225 will also include Tyrell Fortune and Rudy Schaffroth squaring off at heavyweight on the main card, with Timothy Johnson vs. Azunna Anyanwu part of the early prelims. Related: Bellator 225: Yaroslav Amosov Targets Title Fight Soon (Exclusive)

Bellator 226

Ryan Bader Defends Vs. Cheick Kongo At Bellator 226

In September, Bader defends his title against Cheick Kongo at Bellator 226 live on DAZN from the SAP Center in San Jose, California. That card will also feature the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix which includes Pat Curran, Daniel Straus and Emmanuel Sanchez.

Bader added the heavyweight title to his resume alongside the light heavyweight belt when he knocked out Fedor Emelianenko this past January in the finals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. He also earned wins over Mitrione and Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal during the tournament.

Since a 2016 loss to Anthony Johnson in the UFC, Bader is a perfect 7-0, including five wins with Bellator. Kongo is just as red-hot, having picked up eight consecutive wins since a 2015 defeat to Lawal via split decision. Related: Ryan Bader To Defend Vs. Cheick Kongo In September

It does not always happen that the heavyweight division of mixed martial arts gets to be in the spotlight over the course of an extended period of time, but that is definitely what we are right flat in the middle of. Last week at UFC 241, Stipe Miocic regained the UFC heavyweight title with a fourth round finish over Daniel Cormier. Related: UFC 241 Results: Stipe Miocic Stuns Daniel Cormier

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