A couple of week’s ago, Bellator welterweight champion, Douglas Lima (32-8), failed in his attempt to become a two-division world champion. Lima fought and was defeated by Gegard Mousasi at Bellator 250.
After the loss, Lima will return to the welterweight division where he holds the crown. There are a number of contenders in the 170 pound division. However, there is not a clear next opponent for Lima at the moment.
In looking at the Bellator welterweight division, there are four fighters who are all coming off victories near the top of the division. The one with the most name recognition would be Michael “Venom” Page (18-1).
MVP has won four fights in a row since being knocked out by Lima. Lima is the only man to get the better of Page inside the cage. However, Page hasn’t fought top competition since the loss which could hurt his chances at getting the next shot.
Another top contender would be Lorenz Larkin (22-7, 1 NC). Larkin has won four in a row including an impressive victory over Andrey Koreshkov back in October of 2019. He has also lost to the current champion back in 2017.
Two other top contenders are grapplers Neiman Gracie (10-1) and Yaroslav Amosov (25-0). Gracie is coming off of an impressive submission win over Jon Fitch while Amosov just edged out Logan Storley last week at Bellator 252.
What’s next for Bellator?
If I’m being completely honest, I’m not sure there is a clear top contender for Bellator at the moment. If I was playing matchmaker, I would lean towards Michael Page to make the biggest fight possible.
However, Lima recently said that Page doesn’t deserve a shot due to the lack of competition. If that was the stance from my champion, I would personally look to book Page against Lorenz Larkin. Larkin has expressed interest in fighting MVP.
That would be my number one contenders match for the next shot at the Bellator crown. I would also pit Gracie against Amosov. Amosov didn’t really impress in his last fight. Despite the perfect record, I don’t think he’s ready for a shot just yet.
The only man to defeat Neiman Gracie was Rory MacDonald. I think if you pit these two grapplers against each other, you could make the argument that either or would deserve a shot if they win.
Bellator definitely has some options, but I would personally book these two fights before giving anyone to the champion. Let Lima take a little time after his loss, and let a true number one contender emerge from this group.