Yoel Romero to make Bellator debut against Phil Davis

The long anticipated Bellator debut of Yoel Romero (13-5) is finally set per Ariel Helwani. The former top contender in the UFC was originally supposed to compete in the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix back in May and fight Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.

However, The Soldier of God was not medically cleared for his Bellator debut. Romero has been cleared to compete and the promotion has moved forward with booking his debut. He will be taking former Bellator light heavyweight champion Phil Davis (22-6, 1 NC) on September 18th.

Davis lost to the current champion, Vadim Nemkov, in the opening round of the Grand Prix. That loss to Nemkov back at Bellator 257 snapped a three-fight win streak for Davis.

It’s crazy to think that it’s already been about six years since Davis made the jump to Bellator. After his UFC contract expired back in 2015, Davis made the switch. Since making the jump, he’s been one of the best in the promotion.

Overall, Davis is 9-3 in his 12 fights for Bellator. His only three losses have come against Vadim Nemkov (Twice) and Ryan Bader. He should pose a big challenge for Romero next month.

Romero’s Bellator Debut

As mentioned above, we are finally going to see the Bellator debut from Yoel Romero. Yoel Romero had a very interesting end to his UFC run and it is still a little puzzling that he was let go by the promotion.

Romero hasn’t fought since March of 2020 when he lost to Israel Adesanya in a fight for the UFC middleweight title. He was then booked against Uriah Hall in a fight in August, but he had to pull out of the fight.

The UFC went through a number of cuts last year and they let Romero go. Romero went 9-4 during his run in the UFC. He never captured a title, but he’s widely considered to be one of the best fighters to never capture a belt.

Once Romero was let go, Bellator swooped in and signed him. Romero has seemed to have found the fountain of youth as he never seems to age. He will be 44 when he makes the walk next month, but he’s still not showing signs of slowing down.

Bellator books Fedor Emelianenko – Tim Johnson

Fedor Emelianenko

Bellator has been planning the return of one of the greatest fighters in MMA history. Fedor Emelianenko (39-6, 1 NC) has been gearing up for his return to the cage for the last year. The promotion announced that Fedor would be returning in October and he’d be headlining a card in his homeland of Russia.

Today, we learned who Fedor would be facing when he returns to the cage. Bellator announced that their second ranked heavyweight, Tim Jonson (15-7), would be the one facing off against Fedor in October. In all honesty, I’m a little surprised by the booking decision.

Johnson is one of the best heavyweights that Bellator has to offer. He just fought for the interim heavyweight title back at Bellator 261 at the end of June. Johnson fell short in his attempt to become the interim champion by losing a decision to Valentin Moldavsky.

That loss snapped a three-fight win streak for Johnson. During his previous winning streak, Johnson had finishes over Matt Mitrione and top Bellator prospect Tyrell Fortune. He also defeated Cheick Kongo in the promotion’s first trip to France last year.

Fedor’s Bellator Return

While it’s not been stated directly, this could be the final stand for Fedor in Bellator. The legendary heavyweight will be making the walk for the sixth time under the Bellator banner. So far in his career with the promotion, Fedor has gone 3-2.

The last time we saw Fedor was back in 2019 when he knocked out Rampage Jackson. Fedor will be 45 years old when he makes the walk in October. Given his age and the fact that Bellator booked this event to be in Russia, many are drawing the conclusion that he will be retiring after this one.

That said, if he defeats Johnson, he will likely be ranked near the top of Bellator’s heavyweight division. Regardless, I think this is the final fight for Fedor, but with The Last Emperor, you never really know.

Is AJ McKee the best featherweight in the world after Bellator 263?

AJ McKee

This past Saturday at Bellator 263, we saw the conclusion of the Featherweight Grand Prix in the main event. The champion Patricio Pitbull (32-5) was looking to defend his title against the undefeated challenger AJ McKee (18-0).

McKee has a superstar quality about him, but many were still picking the Bellator champion heading into Saturday. Patricio Pitbull is the greatest fighter in the promotion’s history and he owns virtually every Bellator record there is to own.

Saturday night was going to tell us just how good AJ McKee is. Well, AJ McKee is not just good, he’s something truly special. McKee dropped Pitbull in the first round at Bellator 263 with a beautiful combination and he finished him with a standing guillotine.

In a fight that was built to be the best versus the best, McKee made it look incredibly easy. It reminded me of when Conor McGregor knocked out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds to become UFC featherweight champion. Just like McGregor, McKee left no doubts at Bellator 263.

Bellator 263 Proved McKee’s Greatness

After his dominant win at Bellator 263 many are wondering if he’s the best in the world regardless of promotion. Over the course of recent history, the UFC champion has been considered to be the best of the best.

However, Bellator has a legit argument with their new featherweight champion. While Patricio Pitbull was a dominant champion, nobody ever considered him to be better than Max Holloway or Alexander Volkanovski.

He was always seen as a step below them, however, McKee is not. I truly believe that McKee is on that elite level with the best that the UFC has to offer. The 26 year old has it all. He has incredible ground skills and he’s developed dangerous striking to go along with it.

Who is the best in the world?

At Bellator 263, he showed off the full package. Now, when everyone is at their absolute best, I still believe in my heart that Max Holloway is the best featherweight on the planet. Yes, he’s lost to Volkanovski twice. However, I do not believe he lost that second fight last year.

The Max Holloway that we saw in January is the best featherweight in the world. While I don’t think McKee is the best in the world, I think he’s right there with those guys. It’s truly a shame that he fights for Bellator in that we won’t be able to see him fight the best of the best.

That said, McKee’s contract is coming up soon. McKee told MMA Junkie that he would like to resign with Bellator if they show him the money. McKee has fought all 18 of his professional fights under the Bellator banner.

However, the UFC is interested. Dana White did come out and say that he would take McKee to lunch making good on a bet McKee made with him when he was a child. McKee told the UFC president that he would become world champion and when that happens, White had to take him to lunch.

White told TSN that he would make good on that bet and also said that when his contract is up, they’d be interested in talking. Time will tell what McKee ends up doing, but make no mistake about it, the new Bellator champion is a star.

What’s next for Patricio Pitbull after Bellator 263 loss?

Patricio Pitbull Freire

This past Saturday at Bellator 263 we saw the conclusion of the Featherweight Grand Prix. Patricio Pitbull (32-5) was defending his featherweight crown against the undefeated phenom AJ McKee (18-0).

This was the one fight that Bellator fans had been waiting for since the Grand Prix started. The two best featherweights that Bellator had to offer were set to battle for the title and one million dollars.

Patricio Pitbull was the popular pick heading into Saturday night. The two-division champion has virtually ever record in the history of Bellator and he’s widely considered to be the best fighter in the history of the promotion.

While Pitbull was both the featherweight and lightweight champion, he was the much smaller man at Bellator 263. McKee looked much bigger and longer and you could see that advantage very early in the fight.

When the fight started, Pitbull was staying patient on the outside. McKee was trying to keep him at range and Pitbull was trying to find his way inside. However, before he could even get started, he got caught.

McKee landed a massive head kick and uppercut that dropped the Bellator champion. When Pitbull got up, McKee locked in a standing guillotine and put Pitbull out.

What’s next after Bellator 263?

Patricio Pitbull had lost before inside the Bellator cage, but Saturday night was different. This was the first time that he was truly finished and the fight wasn’t even close. AJ McKee ran right through Patricio Pitbull.

After that devastating defeat, what’s next for Pitbull? Well, it’s important to remember that he’s still the Bellator lightweight champion. However, he had previously hinted at dropping the lightweight title to allow his brother, Patricky Pitbull, the opportunity to become lightweight champion.

Having just lost to McKee at featherweight, I wonder if that potential plan has changed. I wouldn’t be shocked to see McKee and Pitbull fight again. McKee has teased about going up in weight and he’s said that he wanted to become a two-division Bellator champion.

Ultimately, Scott Coker is going to have a decision to make. I believe that Pitbull is going to want an immediate rematch. Given his legacy with the promotion, I think they’ll give it to him. Question is, will it be a featherweight rematch or a lightweight title fight? Time will tell on this one.

AJ McKee finishes Patricio Pitbull in the first at Bellator 263

AJ McKee

In the headliner of Bellator 263, we saw the featherweight title fight we’ve been waiting on. The final match of the Featherweight Grand Prix that featured a clash between Bellator champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (32-4) and AJ McKee (17-0).

When Bellator announced that they would be doing a Featherweight Grand Prix, fans started dreaming of the potential fight between Patricio Pitbull and AJ McKee.

Pitbull is the greatest fighter in the history of Bellator. The two-division champion has fought with the promotion most of his career and holds virtually every record. Coming into this fight tonight, he’s won seven in a row including back-to-back first round finishes.

Standing across from Pitbull at Bellator 263 is AJ McKee. McKee has been brought up by the promotion have his first professional fight with Bellator back in 2015. He’s been bread to be a superstar and the undefeated McKee had his chance to take the crown tonight.

Bellator 263 Recap

Round 1

The Bellator 263 main event started with a touch of the gloves. McKee opens up with a side kick to the lead leg of Patricio Pitbull. Another side kick lands for McKee. McKee holding the center as he lands another leg kick.

Pitbull starts bouncing as he seems to be gauging the challenger. Powerful kick lands for Patricio Pitbull. 90 seconds in and not a lot of action so far as both men appearing to feeling the other out.

McKee rocks Patricio Pitbull badly on the feet with a head kick. A big combination and Pitbull goes down. McKee thinks it’s over and he backs away, but the referee didn’t stop the fight.

McKee goes back in and he locks in a guillotine choke. It’s deep and Pitbull tries to fight it. However, he goes completely out and it’s over. AJ McKee is officially the Bellator featherweight champion.

AJ McKee def. Patricio Pitbull by Submission (Guillotine Choke) – Round 1

Bellator 263 Preview: Patricio Pitbull – AJ McKee

Patricio Pitbull Freire

Tomorrow night in the headliner of Bellator 263, we are going to see the featherweight title fight we’ve been waiting on. The final match of the Featherweight Grand Prix features a clash between Bellator champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (32-4) and AJ McKee (17-0).

This is such a massive fight for Bellator and they know it to. This is one of the few times where Bellator will be going head-to-head with the UFC as the UFC is back tomorrow night with UFC Vegas 33.

However, many eyes are going to be on Bellator 263. When the promotion announced that they would be doing a Featherweight Grand Prix, fans started dreaming of the potential fight between Patricio Pitbull and AJ McKee.

Pitbull is the greatest fighter in the history of Bellator. The two-division champion has fought with the promotion most of his career and holds virtually every record. Coming into this fight tomorrow, he’s won seven in a row including back-to-back first round finishes.

Standing across from Pitbull at Bellator 263 is AJ McKee. McKee has been brought up by the promotion have his first professional fight with Bellator back in 2015. He’s been bread to be a superstar and the undefeated McKee has his chance to take the crown tomorrow night.

Bellator 263 Preview

If I’m being completely transparent, I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for a Bellator event. You have the greatest of all time in that promotion taking on the guy who looks like he can become a massive superstar in the sport.

It’s going to be a tremendous fight to see. Now, when breaking down the Bellator 263 main event, there’s going to be a few things I’m watching for. One thing is the size and reach of AJ McKee.

McKee is much longer and taller that Pitbull. He uses his length well on the feet and his length allows him to be incredibly slick on the ground. I could see him giving Pitbull some problems with his length.

On the other hand, the wrestling and counter striking of Pitbull can give McKee issues at Bellator 263. Pitbull is sensational on the ground and he has very strong wrestling. He has the skills to ground McKee and keep him there without getting submitted.

I’ve really gone back-and-forth over this prediction. I think if you’re looking for a safe bet, you pick Patricio Pitbull in this spot. However, my gut keeps telling me that McKee’s star will shine brighter even more tomorrow night. Call me a little crazy, but I’m picking the challenger tomorrow night.

Prediction: AJ McKee by Submission (Triangle Choke) – 3rd Round

Bellator books Michael ‘Venom’ Page – Douglas Lima 2

Bellator MMA announced today that they have finalized a welterweight rematch that fans have been waiting on. The promotion announced that they have finalized the matchup between Michael “Venom” Page (19-1) and Douglas Lima (32-9).

The fight will take place at Bellator 267 on October 1st. The fight will take place in Page’s hometown of London and the rematch will headline the card. This rematch is a couple of years in the making after the two first fought back in 2019.

At Bellator 221, these two met for the first time. Page was doing his thing and showing off a lot of flashy striking. However, during one his entries, Lima took his footing and planted Page. When Page was trying to get up, he was caught with a perfect shot and Lima put him out cold.

That is still the only loss in Page’s professional career. The striker has been saying that Bellator needed to run this back for the last two years and now they finally are. However, the Bellator welterweight title won’t be on the line after Lima lost the title last month.

Bellator 267

While Douglas Lima won back at Bellator 221, he’s going to be the one coming into this fight with no momentum. When these two fight in October, Lima will be carrying a two-fight losing streak and neither fight was particularly competitive.

Meanwhile, Page is 5-0 with four knockouts since the first time these two met. Most recently, Page fought back in May when he broke the nose of Derek Anderson and stopped him after the first round. Despite Lima having won the first fight, Page will likely be the betting favorite at Bellator 267.

These two men were destined to fight again and I can’t wait to see it. Page has long talked about his desire to move over to the UFC once he completes everything he needs to in Bellator. The two things he wanted to do were avenge the loss to Lima and win the Bellator title. He gets his chance at the first one in October.

Bellator 262 Preview

Tonight, Bellator makes it’s return for their 262nd show. In the main event of the evening we will see a battle for the women’s flyweight title. The undefeated champion Juliana Velasquez (11-0) will defend for the first time against top contender Denise Kielholtz (6-2).

As mentioned, this will be the first title defense for Juliana Velasquez. In her last fight at Bellator 254, the Brazilian flyweight defeated Ilima-Lei Macfarlane to capture the Bellator flyweight title.

So far, Velasquez is a perfect 6-0 inside of Bellator. She possesses great all-around skills, but she’s going to need to lean on her grappling and pressure tomorrow night. Standing across from her is former professional kickboxer Denise Kielholtz.

Kielholtz has over 40 professional kickboxing wins and she scored a beautiful first round knockout in her last performance at Bellator 247. She also has good skills on the ground as she has three submissions.

When it comes to Bellator 262, I think were going to see a lot of pressure from Velasquez. Do not expect her to play the range game with a striker like Kielholtz. This might turn into a slower and grueling fight, but I think Velasquez gets it done by decision.

Bellator 262 Co-Main Event

In the co-main event of Bellator 262 we will see a heavyweight battle. Veteran Matt Mitrione (13-8, 1 NC) is back to take on rising contender Tyrell Fortune (10-1, 1 NC). At 43 years old, we might be nearing the end for Matt Mitrione.

We were first introduced to “Meathead” back on The Ultimate Fighter in 2010. At that point, Mitrione had never fought professional. His entire career has been spent between the UFC and Bellator.

Back in 2016, Mitrione joined Bellator and got off to a hot start. He won his first four fights which included a first round knockout of Fedor Emelianenko. However, since then, he’s just 0-3, 1 NC and he hasn’t looked good. He’s going to have his hands full tomorrow night.

Standing in the way of Mitrione at Bellator 262 is Tyrell Fortune. Fortune was looked at as the top Bellator heavyweight prospect until he was knocked out by Tim Johnson. However, he’s bounced back nicely going 2-0, 1 NC since the loss.

Tomorrow night, I’m expecting a showcase for Fortune. Mitrione just isn’t the same guy and I don’t think he’s going to stop the takedowns of Fortune. I’m expecting a grind-out performance by Fortune on his way to picking up a second or third round TKO.

Bellator 261 Preview: Who will become interim heavyweight champion?

Tonight Bellator is back and the interim heavyweight title is on the line. In the main event, the promotion will hand an interim title to either Tim Johnson (15-6) or Valentin Moldavsky (10-1).

Bellator already has a heavyweight champion in Ryan Bader (28-6, 1 NC). However, Bader hasn’t defended his heavyweight title since Bellator 226 back in 2019. Bader is currently in the light heavyweight Grand Prix with no ETA on his next heavyweight fight.

With that in mind, the promotion has decided to keep things moving in their heavyweight division. Who would have thought back in 2019 that Tim Johnson would be fighting for a Bellator heavyweight title?

Johnson made his Bellator debut back in 2018 and was knocked out in the first round of his first two fights. However, 2020 was a turnaround year for Johnson. Johnson stopped Tyrell Fortune and Matt Mitrione before getting a rematch with Cheick Kongo.

Kongo had knocked him out in their first fight, but the second fight was much different. At Bellator 248, Johnson picked up a split decision win. With three straight wins, Johnson has been put in this headliner, but he’ll have his hands full tonight.

Bellator 261

Standing across from Tim Johnson at Bellator 261 will be Valentin Moldavsky. Moldavsky has been perfect since he joined the promotion. The Russian made his Bellator debut back in 2017. Since then, he’s gone a perfect 5-0.

Moldavsky trains under Fedor Emelianenko and alongside the current Bellator light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov. Fedor has built himself quite the team and Moldavsky is looking to become the team’s next world champion.

If you were to ask me two years ago who’d win this Bellator 261 main event, I wouldn’t have given it any thought. I would have said Moldavsky without thinking twice. However, Tim Johnson’s 2020 has made me rethink everything.

He’s shown incredible toughness and grit on his way to winning three fights in a row. However, I don’t think he picks up his fourth tonight. I think we see another Russian champion crowned tonight.

Prediction: Valentin Moldavsky by TKO – Round 3

Fedor Emelianenko to make his Bellator return later this year (Report)

Fedor Emelianenko

One of the greatest fighters of all time will be returning to the Bellator cage later this year. Ariel Helwani was the first to report today that Fedor Emelianenko (39-6, 1 NC) will be returning to action in October.

According to Helwani, there is a press conference tomorrow at 11 AM ET to announce the Bellator return of Fedor. At this time, there is no opponent set for the legend’s return, but the promotion is working on a fight for Fedor now.

We have not seen Fedor since Bellator 237. That night, he took on Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the main event. Emelianenko was able to secure a first round TKO finish just halfway through the opening frame in his last performance.

Overall, that brought Emelianenko’s record to 3-2 inside the Bellator cage. Scott Coker has been hinting that Fedor’s next fight would be his retirement fight. The promotion wanted to do a big event in Russia with a full audience.

Of course, the pandemic has thrown everything off. Emelianenko has not fought since December of 2019 and he will be 45 years old by the time he makes his next Bellator walk in October.

Bellator’s Plans

There are several options for Bellator in terms of opponents. A couple of options off the top of my head would be guys like Cheick Kongo and Josh Barnett. However, there are a number of heavyweights that I’m sure would be willing to fight Fedor Emelianenko.

One thing we should all be thankful for is that Emelianenko is healthy and ready to fight again. Earlier this year, Emelianenko was hospitalized due to COVID-19. Some fighters have been hit with COVID worse than others and Emelianenko had a relatively severe case.

However, the Bellator heavyweight is healthy and ready to go for his October return. We should know more tomorrow at the press-conference, but my guess is that this will be his final fight of his career.

It’s been an incredible career for Fedor Emelianenko. At one time, he was considered to be the best in the world and the greatest heavyweight of all time. His success in Pride was unmatched, but he’s never really endured the same success in the US.

While fighting for Strikeforce and Bellator, the all time great has a record of just 4-5. Now, he did have five straight wins with other promotions, but he hasn’t seen a ton of success in the US. No matter who he fights, there will be a lot of fans watching whenever Fedor makes the walk again.