Bellator MMA is ready to make some splash fights. Coming off some exciting business in May and June with Douglas Lima stopping Michael "Venom" Page and Patricio Freire becoming the second double champion in company history, Bellator has its next set of super events for the fall.
First, on Sept. 7, the first two-division champion, Ryan Bader (27-5), headlines as he defends his heavyweight title against top contender Cheick Kongo (30-10-2). It will be Bader's first bout since claiming the heavyweight title in the Grand Prix over Fedor Emelianenko earlier in 2019. Kongo, meanwhile, is on an eight-fight winning streak dating back to 2015.
The fight card, emanating from the SAP Center in San Jose, California, will also mark the beginning of Bellator's latest Grand Prix venture with eight combatants vying for the featherweight title.
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Later on in September, things get even more interesting when Freire (29-4) puts his newly secured 145-pound title on the line against Juan Archuleta (23-1) in the opening round of said Grand Prix. Like Rory MacDonald, who will defend his title against Lima at a still to be determined date, Freire will put his belt on the line in every bout of the tournament, making each fight a five-round contest.
Meanwhile, a pair of MMA legends will square off in the co-main event. Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida will battle Gegard Mousasi in a middleweight showdown for the ages. Mousasi (45-7-2) lost his middleweight crown last month via majority decision to Rafael Lovato Jr. and was expected to earn a rematch for his next fight. Machida (26-8), meanwhile, scored a second-round TKO over Chael Sonnen in June, sending the "American Gangster" into retirement.