Bellator MMA has announced the booking of an interim heavyweight title fight between No. 1-ranked Timothy Johnson and Valentin Moldavsky (No. 3) set to go down at the upcoming Bellator 261 event on June 25, 2021.
Of course, the current champion, Ryan Bader, is taking part in the promotion’s Light Heavyweight Grand Prix in an effort to win his second tournament and the division strap after capturing the 265-pound title by winning that Grand Prix in Jan. 2019.
According to the promotion, the winner of Johnson vs. Moldavsky will face “Darth” in a title unification bout once Bader wraps his business in the current tournament.
From the official press release:
“The winner of the interim title will become Bader’s mandatory challenger when he returns to the heavyweight division or will be elevated to full champion in the event that Bader chooses to stay at light heavyweight following the culmination of the current Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix.”
Winner of three straight, Johnson turned things around inside the Bellator cage after he got off to an 0-2 start with the promotion to shoot all the way up to the No. 1 spot in the division. Prior to defeating Cheick Kongo via split decision at Bellator Paris in Oct. 2020, Johnson scored back-to-back first round knockout wins over Tyrell Fortune and Matt Mitrione.
Moldavsky, meanwhile, is undefeated under the Bellator banner after winning his first five fights for the Viacom-owned promotion. The Russian-born combatant hasn’t seen action since defeating Roy Nelson at Bellator 244 on Aug. 2020.
Also announced for the card — which will air on SHOWTIME — Lightweight contenders Myles Jury and Sydney will collide in main card action, while Isaiah Hokit and Aaron Hughes also compete in a pivotal 155-pound showdown. Furthermore, a women’s Strawweight fight has also been booked for the event with Kyra Batara taking on Lena Ovchynnikova.
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