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

State of the Grand Prix after Bellator 258

This past weekend at Bellator 258, we saw the final quarterfinal matchup in the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (23-6) took on Jose Augusto (7-3, 1 NC) for a shot at the light heavyweight title.

The winner of Bellator 258 would fight Vadim Nemkov (13-2) in the semifinals, but the light heavyweight title would be on the line. Originally, Yoel Romero was going to fight Rumble Johnson, but he didn’t pass pre-fight medicals.

With that, Augusto stepped in. In a shocking turn of events, Augusto dropped and hurt Rumble badly in the first round. For a moment, it appeared that Augusto was going to pull off the massive upset.

However, Rumble recomposed himself and got back in the fight. In the second round, Rumble landed a massive straight right hand that put Augusto out cold. With that, Rumble made a successful Bellator debut and he moves forward to the semifinals.

Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix

With Rumble’s victory at Bellator 258, the two semifinal matchups are now set. Vadim Nemkov and Rumble will fight for the light heavyweight title on one side of the bracket.

Nemkov defeated Phil Davis by unanimous decision last month to retain his title and punch his ticket to the semifinals. On the other side of the bracket, we are going to see an incredible matchup between Ryan Bader (28-6, 1 NC) and Corey Anderson (15-5).

Bader is the former Bellator light heavyweight champion and he’s the current heavyweight champion. He lost his light heavyweight crown to Vadim Nemkov and instead of moving back to heavyweight, he chose to compete in the Grand Prix to get his belt back.

Bader put on a great performance against Lyoto Machida in the first round. Since making his Bellator debut last year, Corey Anderson has looked incredibly dominant. He has two fights and two finishes thus far.

Despite Bader being the former champion, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Anderson as the betting favorite. Bellator is currently targeting July for the semifinal matchups. From there, October is the target date to crown the Grand Prix champion.

Is it time for Lyoto Machida to retire after Bellator 256?

Friday night at Bellator 256, Ryan Bader (28-6) and Lyoto Machida (26-11) kicked off the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. While the fight had big implications in terms of the Grand Prix, it also had big implications for the career of The Dragon.

Entering Bellator 256, Lyoto Machida had lost two fights in a row. The former UFC light heavyweight champion had dropped split decisions to Gegard Mousasi and Phil Davis.

However, since both fights were close, there were a lot of people giving Machida a shot on Friday night facing the Bellator heavyweight champion. The betting lines on the other hand were drastically in the favor of Bader.

In the first round, it looked like we were seeing the old Lyoto Machida. The Dragon was light on his feet and he was beating up the body of Ryan Bader with body kicks. Machida won the first round on all three scorecards.

However, after that round, Machida hit a brick wall at Bellator 256. When Ryan Bader went to his wrestling, it spelled the end for Machida. Bader continuously took Machida down and beat him up the rest of the fight. In the end, Bader won a lopsided decision.

Will Machida retire after Bellator 256?

Lyoto Machida never gave up at Bellator 256. The Dragon kept trying until the final bell and was even throwing heel kicks to the back of Bader’s thighs from the guard as the final bell sounded.

However, Machida was badly beaten up after the five round fight. Machida was gassed really after the second round and didn’t have anything left to give. In the past, we would have never seen Machida that tired in a fight.

However, at nearly 43 years old, it appears that father time has caught up with The Dragon. With that being said, should Machida hang it up after Bellator 256? I think it’s safe to say that Machida’s days of competing with even Bellator’s best are behind him.

I don’t think he would be favored to beat any of the light heavyweights that are in this Grand Prix. In reality, Machida should probably hang it up after last Friday. However, I’m not sure he’d be willing to walk away on a loss.

Machida has had a sensational career and reached the pinacol of the sport in becoming a UFC champion. There’s nothing left for him to prove and he’s just 5-7 in his last 12 fights. Bellator would give him another fight if he wants it, but with never left to prove, I’m not sure it’s worth it.

Ryan Bader dominates Lyoto Machida at Bellator 256

Ryan Bader

In the main event of Bellator 256, we saw the opening matchup of the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. Former light heavyweight champion and current heavyweight champion, Ryan Bader (27-6), was looking to get revenge against Lyoto Machida (26-10).

These two first met back in 2012 when both men were still fighting in the UFC. Machida was able to score the second round knockout that night. However, it was Ryan Bader who was the massive betting favorite heading into tonight’s contest.

The last time we saw Ryan Bader in the Bellator cage he lost his light heavyweight title to Vadim Nemkov. However, that was Bader’s first light heavyweight fight since 2017 and he didn’t look very fluid in the cage.

He was needing to have that light heavyweight rust knocked off tonight to beat The Dragon. Lyoto Machida has lost two in a row leading into Bellator 256. However, both of those fights were very close split decisions.

Despite being almost 43 years old, Machida still looks like he can hang with some of the best in the world. Bellator 256 was going to be a huge indicator on what Machida has left in the tank.

Bellator 256 Recap

Round 1

The Bellator 256 main event kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Bader immediately looked to press the action on Machida. However, he quickly backed off and both men started gauging the range.

Machida opened the striking with a good leg kick. A nasty body kick lands for The Dragon. Bader tries to push forward, but Machida slides out of the way. Another solid body kick lands for Lyoto Machida.

Bader tries to answer with his own kick, but it doesn’t land. The Bellator heavyweight champion lunges forward with a wild right that misses and Machida counters with another solid body kick.

The counter for Machida were on point early. Bader again tries to close the distance, but Machida counters and slides out of the way again. The ribs of Ryan Bader were very red from the kicks of Machida.

Bader is finally able to get inside and land a couple of shots after he gets Machida against the fence. A big high kick lands for Machida and Bader looks wobbled. Machida presses forward, but the round comes to a close. 1-0 Machida at Bellator 256.

Round 2

The second round opened and the Bellator heavyweight champion looked a little less confident. Machida tries to open with another headkick, but Bader blocks well. However, Machida lands a nasty body kick after.

Bader throws a powerful kick, but it didn’t land flush. Another big body kick lands for Lyoto Machida. Bader is pressing forward, but he’s not landing much here in the first two minutes of the round.

Machida looked extremely composed as Bader continued to try and press forward. Bader had Machida’s back to the fence and started to look for big shots. However, he wasn’t able to land clean.

Machida lands a nice superman punch and Bader explodes into a takedown. He rushes Machida against the fence and gets the takedown. Immediately Machida started to use the fence, but Bader was landing good shots.

This is where the Bellator champion wants to be. Ryan Bader continued to land some solid left hands along the fence. The round comes to a close and it’s all even after two at Bellator 256.

Round 3

There appeared to be a bit more pep in the step of Bader to start the third round. Machida tried to start the round with one of his blitzes, but Bader evaded. However, Machida did land another good body kick.

Bader moved forward and again, Machida found his back to the fence. Machida continued to circle trying to keep Bader from cutting him off. A big shot lands for the Bellator heavyweight champion and Machida is looking tired.

Some deep breaths from Machida and Bader lands another big shot. He chains that shot into a big double leg and he gets Machida down. Bader immediately started going to work with big ground and pound.

Machida tried to work a couple of escapes, but he’s exhausted. Bader started dropping massive shots on Machida, but The Dragon took them well. Machida was able to work back to his guard.

One minute left in the round and it’s all Ryan Bader right now. Two more clean shots land for Bader and Machida looks busted up. Bader continues to pepper Machida and the round comes to a close. The momentum is all Ryan Bader at Bellator 256.

Round 4

Entering the fourth round at Bellator 256 and Lyoto Machida wasn’t looking so good. Bader immediately presses forward as the fourth round begins. Machida tries to throws his best power shots at Bader and a couple of clean shots land.

However, nothing seriously hurt Bader. Bader stayed composed and he countered Machida’s attack with a takedown. The Bellator heavyweight champion again had Machida against the fence and he started working his ground and pound.

Bader continued to softened Machida with shots as he looked to pass the guard. Two clean elbows land for Ryan Bader and Lyoto Machida wasn’t looking great on the bottom.

Machida was looking hurt and didn’t appear to have the energy to try and get back up. Bader continued to land big shots in the final minute. The fourth round comes to a close at Bellator 256 and it’s all Ryan Bader.

Round 5

Entering the final round and Lyoto Machida needed a miracle at Bellator 256. The two touch gloves and Bader immediately goes back to the pressure. Machida lands a couple of kicks, but Bader shoots in and lands another takedown.

Bader opens his ground strikes with a vicious body shot that got a reaction out of Machida. Machida was trying to defend, but he just didn’t have the energy. He briefly got to his feet, but Bader immediately dragged him down.

Bader continued to pepper the face of Machida with big shots on the ground. However, there was no quit in Lyoto Machida. Bader pressed Machida against the fence and continued to land big shots.

Bader gets to the back of Machida along the fence. Machida tried to use that moment to get to his feet, but Bader was so heavy on the pressure. Bader immediately pulls Machida right back down.

One minute left at Bellator 256 and Machida needed a miracle. Bader started pouring it on trying to finish, but Machida defended well. The final bell sounds and Ryan Bader will pick up the win and advance in the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix.

Ryan Bader def. Lyoto Machida by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-45, 49-45)

Bellator 256 Preview: Ryan Bader – Lyoto Machida 2

Ryan Bader

Tomorrow night at Bellator 256, the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix officially begins. In the first matchup and in tomorrow’s headliner we will see former light heavyweight and current heavyweight champion, Ryan Bader (27-6), take on Lyoto Machida (26-10).

This fight is actually a rematch from 2012. Back in 2012, both men were still in the UFC and Lyoto Machida was able to knock out Ryan Bader in the second round.

Lyoto Machida is going to be looking to snap a two-fight losing streak tomorrow night at Bellator 256. The former UFC light heavyweight champion has lost back-to-back split decisions to Phil Davis and Gegard Mousasi.

Overall, The Dragon is 2-2 in his four fights since moving from the UFC to Bellator. On the other side of the cage tomorrow night is the Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader.

Bader joined Bellator back in 2017 and that is where his career took off. In his debut he defeated Phil Davis and then Linton Vassell to become the light heavyweight champion. After that, he went on a run at heavyweight to capture the title and his run included a knockout of Fedor Emelianenko.

The last time we saw Bader was at Bellator 244 in August. Bader made his return to the light heavyweight division for the first time since 2017 to defend his title. The former champion was knocked out in the second round by Vadim Nemkov.

Bellator 256 Prediction

I have to say that I’m incredibly intrigued by this matchup to open the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. Ryan Bader is the massive betting favorite and he should be considering his status and the fact that Machida is almost 43 years old.

Machida has also lost two in a row, but both fights were incredibly close. For Lyoto Machida, he has to keep this fight standing. He needs the main event tomorrow to become a point style striking matchup. If he can do that over three rounds, he can easily win a decision.

Bader cannot stand a lot with Machida. He’s going to be at a big speed disadvantage and we saw how rough that was for him against Vadim Nemkov. Bader needs to be aggressive and he needs to look for takedowns early in this matchup.

I can see both men winning at Bellator 256. However, I’m going to lean slightly towards Bader. I believe he’s going to be able to get this fight down just enough to earn himself a decision. However, I do see this fight going the distance.

Prediction: Ryan Bader by Unanimous Decision

Bellator announces move to Showtime and Light Heavyweight Grand Prix

Bellator MMA has been relatively quiet since the calendar moved over to 2021. However, they’ve been making big moves behind the scenes that would further the promotion’s vision in 2021.

Today, Bellator announced that they have agreed to a deal with Showtime and Showtime will now become the exclusive home for their events. Just last year, Bellator announced they had a deal with CBS Sports Network, but the Viacom promotion is shifting gears.

Showtime decided to get involved and both sides agreed that it would be best to move the promotion to Showtime. Bellator will also be moving their events back to Friday nights after a brief stint on Thursdays.

In addition to announcing the new deal with Showtime, Scott Coker announced some exciting news in terms of the light heavyweight division. By far, the light heavyweight division is the best that Bellator has to offer.

They made some huge signings in the last year and they are ready to capitalize. Coker announced today that Bellator would be starting a Light Heavyweight Grand Prix that will start on April 9th.

Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix

The Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix will kick off on April 9th. In the first quarter final matchup, Corey Anderson (14-5) will be taking on Bellator newcomer, Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (18-5-1).

Also on April 9th in the main event of the evening, Ryan Bader (27-6) will be taking on Lyoto Machida (26-10). Bader is the Bellator heavyweight champion and just lost his light heavyweight title last year to Vadim Nemkov (12-2).

Of course, the matchup everyone wanted to see takes place on April 16th. Yoel Romero (13-5) and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-6) will battle it out. However, despite the hype behind this matchup, it will not serve as the main event on April 16th.

Instead, that honor will belong to the Bellator Light Heavyweight champion, Vadim Nemkov. Nemkov will be competing in the tournament and defending his title against Phil Davis (22-5, 1 NC). An absolutely stacked field and fight fans should be very excited about this Grand Prix.

Corey Anderson says Bellator is better than the UFC at light heavyweight

Corey Anderson

2020 turned out to be an eventful year for Bellator‘s Corey Anderson (14-5). When the year started, Anderson was one of the top contenders in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. He appeared to be one win away from a title shot.

However, Jan Blachowicz (27-8) starched Anderson in February to claim that top contender status. After Anderson was knocked out, he had a series of health concerns that kept him from competing. These health scares also had him reevaluate his career.

Anderson decided to go to the UFC and ask for more money. When the promotion wasn’t willing to, he asked for a release to be able to look around in the market. The UFC released Anderson and Bellator signed him almost immediately.

It turned out to be the first of several moves like this for Bellator. After signing Anderson, Bellator would go on to sign Yoel Romero (13-5) and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-6) after they were released from the UFC.

Those top three contenders join the likes of Vadim Nemkov (12-2), Ryan Bader (27-6, 1 NC), and Phil Davis (22-5, 1 NC). It’s safe to say that Bellator’s light heavyweight division has never been better.

In fact, it’s so good that Anderson believes it’s the best on the planet. Anderson told MMA Fighting, “I just feel right now Bellator has the upper hand. Jones has left. They’ve got these hype trains. These young guys UFC has coming in they’re trying to hype up but I feel like their legitimacy aren’t like the vets that were there that are in Bellator now.”

Bellator or the UFC?

If we are going to go on pure name recognition, it’s hard to argue Corey Anderson’s point. Bellator has some serious name power in their light heavyweight division. However, it is the best in the sport?

In all honesty, if you’re looking at the totality of their top five, it might be. The UFC’s top contender is Glover Teixeira (32-7) who was knocked out in 14 seconds by Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.

Then again, there’s also Dominick Reyes (12-2) and Jiri Prochazka (27-3-1) in the UFC’s top five. Prochazka stopped Bellator’s champion, Vadim Nemkov, when the two of them faced off a few years ago.

Another interesting wrinkle to throw into things is the light heavyweight debut of Israel Adesanya (20-0). Stylebender is fighting Blachowicz for the UFC light heavyweight title in March.

Anderson definitely has an argument that Bellator is just as good if not better at 205 than the UFC. However, I believe the best light heavyweight in the world right now is Jan Blachowicz with Jon Jones moving up.

Overall, the UFC has a deeper division due to the amount of fighters on the roster and they have younger contenders. While Bellator is right there, I would still give the advantage to the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, the UFC.

Bold 2021 predictions for Bellator MMA

Patricio Pitbull Freire

2021 is already promising to be a massive year for Bellator MMA. The promotion made some major progress in 2020 despite having to shut down for a few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bellator put on some tremendous fights in 2020. However, it was their string of signings in the second half of the year that had the MMA world buzzing. Bellator really stacked their light heavyweight division.

Bellator added Yoel Romero (13-5), Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-6), and Corey Anderson (14-5) to their light heavyweight division. All of the former top UFC contenders parted ways with the UFC this year.

As soon as they hit the open market, Bellator scooped them up. In doing so, the promotion has put together a light heavyweight division that is certainly capable of competing with the UFC’s light heavyweight division.

There are so many things to watch for with Bellator in 2021. I wanted to do some bold predictions for the promotion for what will happen in 2021. If these predictions come true, there are going to be some shocked MMA fans.

2021 Bellator Bold Predictions

Patricio Pitbull leaves 2021 without a title

For my first bold prediction I’m looking at Bellator’s two-division champion, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (31-4). Pitbull is widely considered to be the best fighter that Bellator has on the roster. He’s arguably the best fighter in the promotion’s history.

He currently is the Bellator lightweight and featherweight champion. However, there has been whispers of him vacating the lightweight championship. Pitbull became the lightweight champion when he defeated Michael Chandler (21-5) in 2019.

However, Pitbull is small for the weight class. He mainly moved up to lightweight to challenge Chandler to avenge his brother’s (Patricky Pitbull) knockout loss to Chandler. He has yet to defend the lightweight championship.

I’m going to say that Patricio Pitbull vacates the Bellator lightweight championship to focus on featherweight. However, I think that this is going to be the year that Pitbull is dethroned at featherweight.

The most exciting prospect in Bellator is AJ McKee (17-0). The Mercenary has fought all seventeen of his professional fights under the Bellator banner. They’ve brought him along the right way and he’s on the verge of superstardom.

McKee has already earned a spot in the finals of Bellator’s featherweight Grand Prix. The other spot will go to the winner of the fight between Patricio Pitbull and Emmanuel Sanchez (20-4).

I believe that Pitbull is going to defeat Sanchez when they fight setting up a fight between him and McKee. I’m going to say that McKee not only wins the Bellator featherweight title, but finishes Patricio Pitbull. With that, cementing himself as the superstar that Bellator needs.

Vadim Nemkov remains the light heavyweight champion

As mentioned above, the Bellator light heavyweight division is completely stacked at the moment. All of those signings are incredibly exciting and I didn’t even mention the promotion’s light heavyweight champion, Vadim Nemkov (12-2).

Nemkov knocked out Ryan Bader (27-6, 1 NC) to capture the Bellator light heavyweight championship back in August. Nobody has been able to stop Nemkov since he made his debut with the promotion in 2017.

With the additions made to the light heavyweight division, many are saying Nemkov will not leave 2021 as the champion. However, my bold prediction is that the belt stays with the Russian as we enter 2022.

As things currently stand, there are three front runners to face Nemkov whenever he defends his title. Those contenders being Corey Anderson, Phil Davis (22-5, 1 NC), and a rematch with Bader.

Something tells me that Nemkov is just going to fight twice in 2021 with both of his fights coming from that group of three. Nemkov has already defeated Davis and Bader on his way to the title.

Corey Anderson is definitely a tough challenge, however, I think Nemkov can beat him. While everyone will want to see Anthony Johnson or Yoel Romero challenge for the Bellator title next year, I’m not convinced it happens.

Something tells me that Nemkov is going to have a rematch with Ryan Bader next. Scott Coker said that they are looking into this. I believe that Nemkov will beat Bader again to retain the Bellator title.

Perhaps on the same card, I believe we will see a matchup between Davis and Anderson as a title eliminator. I also see Nemkov defeating the winner of that fight. So my prediction is when all is said and done, Vadim Nemkov is still the light heavyweight champion after 2021.

State of the Bellator light heavyweight division entering 2021

Bellator MMA had a very big year in 2020. Despite having to shutdown for a few months due to the pandemic, they accomplished some great things. From the first major MMA event in France to transitioning to CBS Sports Network. 

It’s been a very good year for Bellator. However, despite those accomplishments, it’s the additions that Bellator has made in 2020 that really stand out to me. Specifically the additions to the light heavyweight division.

The UFC parted ways with three top level fighters in 2020. Those fighters being Corey Anderson (14-5), Yoel Romero (13-5), and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-6). Bellator pounced on those three immediately and scooped them up.

Anderson asked for his release earlier this year after he felt he wasn’t getting paid enough. Once released, Bellator signed him to a deal where he was making more. Yoel Romero was recently cut from the UFC. However, he fought for the middleweight title in his last fight.

Once on the market, Bellator signed him for the light heavyweight division. Rumble Johnson’s UFC return was much anticipated, but the two sides decided it would be best to part ways. Once on the market, Bellator signed Rumble as well.

Bellator’s Light Heavyweight Division in 2021

When the year started, Ryan Bader (27-6, 1 NC) held both the Bellator light heavyweight and heavyweight titles. However, he hadn’t defended his light heavyweight title since 2017. That changed at Bellator 244 when he fought Vadim Nemkov (12-2).

While there was a lot of hype surrounding Nemkov, many believed it would be another win for Bader. However, Nemkov proved the doubters wrong by stopping Bader in the second round. Nemkov is now the light heavyweight king and he’s 5-0 in Bellator.

The next title defense isn’t clear for Nemkov. There’s talk of a potential rematch with Bader, but there is also talk of him facing either Phil Davis (22-5, 1 NC) or Corey Anderson. Davis is riding a three-fight winning streak and just defeated Lyoto Machida (26-10) in September.

Anderson made his Bellator debut in November when he smashed Melvin Manhoef at Bellator 251. In my opinion, Bader should fight at heavyweight next and let Nemkov take on either Anderson or Davis.

The fight everyone wants to see is the potential matchup between Romero and Rumble. In all honesty, it’s bigger than the champion Nemkov facing off against any of those top contenders I mentioned.

Rumble – Romero is one of the biggest matchups Bellator could make in 2021. There have been whispers of a potential Grand Prix, but nothing is official. What we do know is that the light heavyweight division is stacked. Nemkov is going to have his hands full this upcoming year.

Cheick Kongo looking to come up big in home debut at Bellator 248

Today, Bellator will make history. They will be the first major MMA promotion to host an event in France. Arguably the biggest name on the card is one of the most famous MMA fighters to ever come from France in Cheick Kongo (30-10-2, 1 NC).

Kongo will be taking on Tim Johnson (14-6) at Bellator 248 in Paris. The two men fought about two years ago at Bellator 208. That night, Kongo knocked out Johnson in the first round of their heavyweight contest.

Kongo is looking to get back on track in this fight. Prior to his title fight against Ryan Bader at Bellator 226, Kongo had won eight consecutive fights inside the Bellator cage. That warranted him a title shot, but the shot was cut short after an accidental eye poked stopped the action in the first round.

Kongo believed that he deserved an immediate rematch with Ryan Bader given the way the first fight ended. However, Bellator had other plans and booked Kongo against Johnson. Tim Johnson has had a fantastic year in 2020.

After suffering back to back knockout losses, Johnson has won two consecutive fights by knockout. He’s knocked out Matt Mitrione and top Bellator prospect, Tyrell Fortune. This is a big fight if he has championship aspirations.

Bellator 248 Prediction

For Johnson to be successful in the rematch, he’s going to have to grapple with Kongo. He doesn’t want to stand at range and trade with the French striker. That will be a ticket to a quick exit for Johnson. I expect Johnson to come out aggressive looking to tire Kongo.

When it comes to these two, I just believe that they are on different levels. Despite being 44, Kongo looked sensational leading up to that title match against Ryan Bader. I’m expecting Kongo to come out looking very good in Bellator‘s Paris debut.

Expect some early grappling, but I think eventually Kongo is going to be able to catch Johnson with something big. I think it’ll actually come relatively early with Kongo getting the finish in the first. Expect him to call out Ryan Bader once the fight is over.

Prediction: Cheick Kongo by KO – Round 1