Bellator looking to continue a strong 2018 by going all out for Bellator 200
Several key matchups that can shape the companies future are scheduled for Bellator 200
Over the past few years, Bellator has slowly but surely provided enough evidence to show that they belong. With the first round of the Heavyweight World Grand Prix Tournament ending early, Bellator needed something to entice fans for future events. That is especially true when it comes to Bellator 200, one of the biggest celebrations in the companies history. It looks they have succeeded, and then some.
When Bellator heads to London on May 25, the main event will feature Gegard Mousasi squaring off against Rafael Carvalho. The latter will be defending his Middleweight Championship. Bellator 200 will be tape-delayed for U.S. audiences and will be inside the SSE Arena.
Mousasi (43-6-2) moved to Bellator in 2017, debuting for the company at Bellator 185. He fought Alexander Shlemenko to a unanimous decision victory, a controversial one at that. As a result, he received the title match against Carvalho (15-1), who is looking for his fourth successful title defense. After losing his first pro fight in 2011, Carvalho has been on a lengthy streak. He defeated Brandon Halsey at Bellator 144 in 2015 for the vacant title, and has successfully defended it over the likes of Alessio Sakara and twice against Melvin Manhoef. Mousasi has won six in a row, but must need to improve his takedown game if he wants to finally win a title.
In a press release, Bellator President Scott Coker discussed the milestone event and the card it will receive.
“Bellator continues to place a huge emphasis on its expansion into markets around the globe and creating a strong presence in the U.K. is a very important part of that. Our fans are going to be excited about the card we put together for this monumental event, as Bellator 200 will be one of our greatest to date.”
It’s hard to doubt the man, especially after finding out what other fights will be on the card. Michael Page (12-0) looks to continue his dominant ways in Bellator against David Rickels. While Page has had plenty of success in the octagon, he has not fought since 2016. Rickels (19-4, 2 NC) on the other hand has fought twice in 2017, winning both contests. A former tournament winner, Rickels will look to get back into title contention for the first time since 2013.
Other matches announced are Phil Davis v. Linton Vassell and Roy Nelson v. Mirko Cro Cop.
The fight between Davis (18-4, 1 NC) and Vassell (19-6, 1 NC) could determine the top contender for the Light Heavyweight Title. The Pennsylvania-born Davis lost the title to Ryan Bader in his first title defense at Bellator 180 in New York City. He rebounded with a UD victory over Leonardo Leite at Bellator 186. Vassell and Davis have something in common. The former’s last loss came against Bader, fighting for the title at Bellator 186. The former UCMMA Light Heavyweight Champion won three in a row before then.
A contending fight between the two is at an interesting time, considering Bader is in the Grand Prix Tournament. If he loses his bout against King Mo, a title fight could easily be on the horizon.
Nelson (23-15) is coming off of getting eliminated from the Heavyweight Tournament by Matt Mitrione. The 41-year old has gone back and forth between victories. He faces a familiar opponent in Cro Cop (36-11-2, 1 NC), who is making his Bellator debut. The veteran lost to Nelson at UFC 137. Cro Cop will be looking for a measure of revenge in his new home.
With time until Bellator 200, the company has an opportunity to announce more epic fights. All eyes will be on Bellator as they heads across the pond. The future of the company might be determined with this card.