Eight MMA light-heavyweights will step in the octagon to determine the Bellator light-heavyweight champion
Bellator MMA has announced it’s start to 2021 – a light-heavyweight world Grand Prix.
It’s not the first time the promotion has held a Grand Prix competition, but this one is highly-anticipated one of the best yet. It will follow the same structure of a footy knock-out stage, for example, with the winner progressing to the next round until the final.
There may also be a fair few names that look familiar to you – Yoel Romero, anyone?
Ever Heard of Bellator MMA?
Well, if you haven’t, you may want to turn your attention to this star-studded competition they’re about to host.
Bellator MMA was founded in 2008, and is currently the second largest combat sport promotions in America, and is among the top 3 all over the world.
In more recent times, the company has started to take a bit of a step up in popularity, and is becoming increasingly well-known all over the world.
There are some well-known MMA athletes signed to the promotion, including some ex-UFC stars that will be competing in this Grand Prix.
Light Heavyweight Grand Prix
Bellator’s huge 2021 schedule kicks off with the eight-man Grand Prix in April. There will be three consecutive Friday night fight cards beginning April 2nd, and that’s just the beginning.
There are many around the world eagerly-awaiting some of these fierce quarter-final matchups, and to be honest, we think you should be too.
Let’s take a look at who’s stepping into the octagon for the competition.
Ryan Bader vs. Lyoto Machida
This pair of light-heavyweights used to be signed to the UFC and have actually faced each other before. The Brazilian came out on top all the way back in 2012, knocking Bader out in the second round of their co-main event fight.
So, even for this, Bader will be out for revenge, and rightly so. The American fighter has built a solid reputation in the Bellator scene, and is former light heavyweight champion, before Vadim Nemkov dethroned him last year.
It’s also worth noting that Machida is now in his 40s, but that doesn’t change the fact he’s still as tough as ever.
Corey Anderson vs. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov
Yagshimuradov’s introduction to Bellator will be a tough one, but he’s certainly up to standard. The former light heavyweight champion of Russian promotion ACA (Absolute Championship Akhmat) will be looking to make a statement on his Bellator debut.
Meanwhile, Corey Anderson comes into the fight following his impressive Bellator debut performance last year. Anderson signed a multi-year contract with the promotion following the fighter’s release from the UFC.
This quarter-final matchup will be a close one, with both looking to gain some immediate momentum.
Vadim Nemkov vs. Phil Davis
Vadim Nemkov is the current Bellator light-heavyweight champion, and will put his belt on the line against Phil Davis in their quarter-final showdown.
It would be daft to assume that Nemkov isn’t the favourite of this, as he’s currently top of the pecking order. However, he’ll be hoping to highlight exactly why he is champion.
Nemkov’s win over Ryan Bader last year to crown himself champion puts himself in a great spot for this Grand Prix.
Meanwhile, Phil Davis will be looking to cause an upset as the underdog. Davis is much stronger than you think though, with his only Bellator losses coming via split decision against current or former champions.
Yoel Romero vs. Anthony Johnson
In our opinion, this matchup could be one for the ages.
Both athletes have landed in Bellator since their fallouts with the UFC, with Romero getting cut recently from the promotion. It will be both of their Bellator debuts, so who will come out on top?
Yoel Romero is one of the most dangerous light-heavyweights around, and has 8 knockdowns in his last 9 fights. He is a very high-profile MMA star, and he will want to show on his promotional debut that even at 43, he’s still just as powerful.
Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson hasn’t fought since April 2017, so his inactivity could play a part in this one. However, his training camp has been intense and he will no doubt be ready to step into the octagon once again. A matchup with Romero is putting two intense fighters against each other, and Johnson will look to come out on top.
Bellator 256 will kick-off on April 9th, with Bader vs. Machida and Romero vs. Johnson competing. The following week, the two other quarter-final fights will commence.