Bellator MMA, the promotion which started its life in a tournament format many moons ago, has announced new plans to hold a light heavyweight grand prix — and will feature a keenly-anticipated matchup between two of its newest additions, Anthony Johnson and Yoel Romero, in the opening round.
Bellator president Scott Coker confirmed the news at a press conference late Tuesday, announcing that the tournament would also feature a host of ex-UFC fighters such as Corey Anderson, Phil Davis, Lyoto Machida, Ryan Bader as well as the outstanding Vadim Nemkov, who is the promotion’s reigning 205-pound champ, and the 18-5-1 Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov.
This is happening. pic.twitter.com/nlyoGqc4Ce
— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) February 9, 2021
The grand prix will kick off on April 9 with Bader taking on Machida and Anderson fighting Yagshimuradov. A week later on April 16, Nemkov, who is a protege of the great Fedor Emelianenko, defends his title against Phil Davis in a rematch of a fight which took place more than two years ago which the Russian won by split decision.
Much like Bellator’s ongoing featherweight grand prix, the champion will defend his belt in each of the bouts ensuring that the grand prix final will also contest the light heavyweight strap.
The grand prix will mark the return to competition of Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson for the first time since an April 2017 submission defeat to Daniel Cormier for the UFC’s light heavyweight championship — and his matchup with Romero is set to be a titanic tussle between the two experienced vets.