It looks as though Bellator is finally ready to crown a new heavyweight champion next year
Following a period of more than three years without a heavyweight title bout, the Californian promotion will change that with an eight-man tournament featuring some expected and some frankly surprising names.
MMAFighting confirmed the news on Friday following a previous report by MMAJunkie.
MMA legend and former PRIDE champion Fedor Emelianenko is joined by former UFC heavyweight kingpin Frank Mir, and former UFC heavyweights Roy Nelson and Matt Mitrione. Another former UFC man and current Bellator light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader is added to the roster, alongside the Las Vegas-based promotion’s former light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, its former middleweight contender and current Bellator 205-pound fighter Chael Sonnen and Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal (the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion).
What is surprising is that 50% of the participants named in the tournament are Light Heavyweights. While Jackson and “King Mo” last fought at heavyweight in March, both are better remembered for their careers at 205-pounds.
It appears Bellator are keen to build up their heavyweight stock with this move, so it is likely that they will have their eyes on a number of the heavyweights currently plying their trade under the banner of their main rivals. 2018 looks set to be an interesting year for Scott Coker and co.