Saturday, June 15

Whatever we understand about the brand-new variation of Bellator

  • Jeff Wagenheim, ESPNMar 20, 2024, 08:36 AM ET

As soon as once again, it’s back to the beginning line for Bellator MMA. The second-fiddle battle promo appears to constantly be beginning over, redefining itself or rebounding. Friday will bring the most recent version at Bellator Belfast, with the battle card in the Northern Ireland capital putting a set of champion belts on the line.

That is the matchmaking prepare for all Bellator occasions moving forward now that the promo is owned by its previous competitor, the PFL. 8 occasions will be held worldwide each year, each headlined by 2 title bouts. That’s why they’re calling it the Bellator Champions Series.

Friday’s centerpiece will pit title battle veteran Corey Anderson versus home town upstart Karl Moore for the uninhabited light heavyweight champion. In the co-main, Jeremy Kennedy will challenge Bellator’s winningest fighter, featherweight champ Patricio “Pitbull” Freire, who has actually ridden the business seesaw enough time to have actually experienced the majority of Bellator’s ups and downs.

Freire was not there for the inaugural Bellator occasion in 2009, however a year later on, he made his launching as part of a competition, the format on which creator Bjorn Rebney hung his hat. Freire made it to the last of the 2010 featherweight tourney, and while he lost that a person, he went on to win the competitions kept in 2011 and ’13. He is presently in his 3rd reign as featherweight champ, to opt for one at light-weight. Call him Mr. Bellator.

“Pitbull” won a Bellator belt for the very first time in 2014, a couple of months after Scott Coker prospered Rebney. With the modification at the helm, Bellator developed from competitions to more standard matchmaking, which later on developed– maybe degenerated would be more apropos– into scheduling headliner eyeglasses including older fighters with very little left however name acknowledgment. Freire raked through that sad/comical time like the champ that he was, not missing out on a beat as Bellator carried on through a back-to-the-future period of grand prix tourneys and, eventually, the business’s purchase by the PFL last fall.

Now we are at the dawning of the Bellator Champions Series, which will continue May 17 in Paris with an occasion including title defenses by light-weight Usman Nurmagomedov and bantamweight Patchy Mix. Those and this weekend’s champion battles are the only heading bouts reserved at this moment, however the remainder of the 2024 slate appears like this: June 22 in Dublin, Sept. 7 in San Diego, Sept. 14 in London, Oct. 12 in Chicago, Nov. 16 back in Paris and Dec. 31 at a website to be identified.

“We’re extremely thrilled to formally introduce the rearranged Bellator home,” Peter Murray, CEO of the PFL, informed ESPN today. “We’re thrilled about the format, which is to have 2 title battles and one huge competitor battle on the top of each card, with the remainder of the card being drawn from the very best of the Bellator lineup.”

Matchmakers will require to do some smart mathematics to create a set of title bouts for each of the 8 battle cards this year.

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