Friday, December 3, 2021

Bellator Announces Interim Heavyweight Title Bout for Bellator 261

Bellator 261 will be headlined by their first Interim Heavyweight title fight between the No. 1 ranked heavyweight Tim Johnson (15-6) and No. 3 ranked heavyweight Valentin Moldavsky (10-1).

As Scott Coker alluded to when he addressed the media after Bellator 256, on Friday just before Bellator 258 the match was announced officially by Bellator MMA. With Ryan Bader who currently holds the heavyweight title and is trying to regain “champ-champ” status by competing in the light-heavyweight World Grand Prix, the division needs to keep moving while Bader is focused on another division. According to Bellator’s announcement, the winner of the interim title will become the mandatory challenger for Bader when he can re-focus on the heavyweights again. 

Johnson has won his last three fights with Bellator, two of the victories first-round finishes over Matt Mitrione and Tyrell Fortune. His last win was against Cheick Kongo last October when Bellator was in Paris, Fance.  

Moldavsky is another protege of Fedor Emelianenko has wins over;  Javy Ayala, Linton Vassell, and Roy Nelson. His only loss is from the 2016 Openweight Rizin World Grand Prix where he lost a decision in the final round of the tournament. 

Other bouts announced are lightweight bouts between No. 5 ranked Myles Jury (19-5) versus No. 6 ranked Sidney Outlaw (15-4), and Isaiah Hokit against Aaron Hughes (1-1) and, a women’s strawweight bout between Lena Ovchynnikova (12-6, 1 NC) and former Combate Americas (now Combate Global) star Kyra Batara (8-4).

As Bellator continues to power forward, the new rankings system certainly seems to make matchmaking announcements bigger than they have been in the past. As more fighters, fight the rankings movement every week after each event makes for a lot of very interesting fights and opportunities in the future. 

Bellator 261 will take place June 25 from the Fight Sphere at The Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut. 

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