Bellator MMA is gearing up to make its highly-anticipated return in a big way. During a special press conference earlier today (Tues., Feb. 9, 2021), the promotion announced that it had signed an exclusive broadcast deal with Showtime, which will be the home for all Bellator events moving forward on Friday nights.
Furthermore, Scott Coker and Co. announced several matchups, including the continuation of the Featherweight Grand Prix and the beginning of its Light Heavyweight counterpart.
Among the bouts announced was a fascinating first round match up at 205 pounds between former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) contenders Anthony Johnson and Yoel Romero, who will be making their Bellator debuts against each other on April 16, 2021.
Johnson signed with the promotion in Dec. 2020 after announcing his mixed martial arts (MMA) comeback following his retirement from the sport in 2017 on the heels of a second loss to Daniel Cormier. Romero was released from his UFC contract two months ago, and then inked a deal with Bellator days later after initial resistance from Scott Coker.
Headlining the Bellator 257 event will be 205-pound champion, Vadim Nemkov, taking on another former UFC Light Heavyweight contender, Phil Davis. Nemkov defeated Davis via split decision at Bellator 209 in 2018.
The Grand Prix is reminiscent of the old PRIDE FC days, which had a memorable tournament in 2005. And since Bellator has made key acquisitions over time, it’s 205-pound roster rivals that of UFC’s, which should provide fight fans with one epic tournament.