Over the past few years, Bellator has assembled one of MMA’s best welterweight divisions. Even if it doesn’t have the depth of the UFC’s – which currently includes more than 100 fighters – the Viacom promotion has put together a cast of elite talent that can rival anyone in the world’s. And what better way to make use of all those top level fighters than to put them all into one big tournament?
That’s the plan that Bellator announced during their recent press conference on the occasion of the U.S. launch of the DAZN streaming platform. The promotion recently teamed up with DAZN in a multi-year, multi-million dollar deal to broadcast their events across the online service. And now fans have an idea of what kind of events they can look forward to.
The 10-man tournament will start with the first DAZN event, Bellator 205 on September 29th and will feature a trilogy bout between Douglas Lima and Andrey Koreshkov. That card will be headlined by a middleweight title fight, between Gegard Mousasi and Rory MacDonald. However, despite his upcoming bout at 185 lbs, it still appears that MacDonald is going to be one of the entrants in the tournament back down a division.
Here’s a list of nine of the ten entrants so far, with one still waiting to be announced (h/t MMA Fighting):
According to Fighting’s Shaheen Al-Shatti, the 10-man field will include two ‘play-in’ fights to whittle the final tournament bracket down to 8. No word yet on when the final fighter will be announced, or which fighters will be competing for their place in the brackets. An official DAZN press released revealed Fitch vs. Gracie and Ruth vs. Amosov have been booked, and that “The 10-fighter tournament will play out over the next year exclusively on DAZN.”
Currently, Bellator is in the middle of their heavyweight tournament, which started back in January of 2018. Semi-final fights between Matt Mitrione & Ryan Bader and Chael Sonnen & Fedor Emelianenko are expected for the coming months, in order to determine those tournament finalists. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and updates as available.