A middleweight title bout has been added to Bellator 214 between Gegard Mousasi and Rafael Lovato Jr. (Photo Via: Bellator MMA)
Bellator has managed to turn up the heat by announcing today that the promotion is adding a middleweight title fight to Bellator 214, a card which already features the finals of the Heavyweight Grand Prix. Champ Gegard Mousasi (45-6-2) will look to make his second title defence against unbeaten Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Rafael Lovato Jr. (9-0) on a night where Fedor Emelianenko (38-5, 1 NC) is set to meet Ryan Bader (26-5) for the vacant heavyweight strap.
The card is also bolstered by 22-year old Team Bodyshop prospect Aaron Pico (4-1) taking on MMA Lab’s Henry Corrales (16-3) at featherweight.
Bellator features four cards in advance of their Jan. 26 date from The Forum in Inglewood, California but stacking this card is a must. The promotion is going head-to-head with the UFC 233 which is taking place on the same night from the Honda Center in neighbouring Anaheim. A 35 mile gap separates some of the best competition the world over.
The UFC is set to counter Bellator’s offering with top talent of their own, including a much-anticipated flyweight title defence by Henry Cejudo (13-2) against bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw (16-3) according to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. The card also features former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler (28-12, 1 NC) making his return to the Octagon against UFC newcomer and former ONE and Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren (18-0, 1 NC) also reported by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.
Breaking: Ben Askren vs. Robbie Lawler targeted for UFC 233 on Jan. 26 in Anaheim, per Dana White. Contracts are not signed yet from what I’m told, but UFC is working on getting it finalized. Story up soon on @ESPN.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) November 6, 2018
The promotions have run shows on the same night, most recently pitting Bellator 192 and UFC 220 against each other on Jan. 24, 2018. Bellator offered the opening round of the Heavyweight Grand Prix between Chael Sonnen (30-16, 1 NC) and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (38-13), as well as a welterweight title fight between Douglas Lima (30-7) and Rory MacDonald (20-5). UFC 220 featured title defences in the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions from Stipe Miocic (18-3) and Daniel Cormier (22-1, 1 NC).
Stipe Miocic at the UFC 220 ceremonial weigh-ins (Photo Credit: Craig Allen)
Both organizations are looking to start 2019 off with another late January pairing. In retrospect, Bellator took the last ratings war with a peak of 1,340,000 viewers during the Sonnen-Rampage main event according to MMA Mania compared to the UFC’s 1,048,000 peak according to Jason Floyd of The MMA Report.