Bellator 226: Preview
The Bellator cage is returning to its west coast home in San Jose, Calif. this weekend, and it is coming back with a bang.
To kick things off, the stacked first half of the World Featherweight Grand Prix is set to take place, before double champ Ryan Bader will look to defend one of his belts (heavyweight) for the first time against veteran Cheick Kongo.
Bader has been knocking on the door of the greatest of all time conversation in two divisions ever since he departed from the UFC in 2016. The Nevada native made the move to Bellator, won and defended the light heavyweight strap, shortly before entering and winning the World Heavyweight Grand Prix too.
Adding some big names to his record, Bader has enjoyed being active, and he is chomping at the bit to get back into the cage to defend his heavyweight throne, with a double light heavyweight defense already in his sights.
With the champ looking composed as ever in his pre-fight media duties, Kongo, despite being 44, is no opponent to look past. The Frenchman’s hands are still heavy, and the flame of desire to be back on top is still burning inside.
The rest of the fights on the main card are filled with featherweights. Four of them are part of the tournament, and the opener is an intriguing bout between a local prospect in Gaston Bolanos, and Daniel Carey.
The featherweight Grand Prix first round is set to take place over two cards: half on Saturday in San Jose and the other half at the end of the month in Inglewood.
Bellator’s featherweight division is stacked, meaning that the tournament is not to be missed. The first half of the tournament is an exciting mix of fights which sees some interesting prospects like Pedro Carvalho, Ty-wan Claxton, and Adam Borics matched up against more experienced opposition in Sam Sicilia, Emmanuel Sanchez, and Pat Curran respectively.
Following the mix up of some of the ‘old’ guard with the new wave, a thrilling co-main event will see Daniel Straus square off against Derek Campos.
All of that alongside a huge preliminary card filled with local talent warrants a night of fireworks at the SAP Center.
Check out the full fight card below:
(C) Ryan Bader vs. Cheick Kongo
Daniel Straus vs. Derek Campos
Pat Curran vs. Adam Borics
Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Tywan Claxton
Sam Sicilia vs. Pedro Carvalho
Gaston Bolanos vs. Daniel Carey
John Teixeira vs. Ashleigh Grimshaw
Ivan Batinich vs. Daniel Compton
Cornelius Savage vs. Evan Gubera
Christopher Gonzalez vs. Luis Vargas
Cass Bell vs. Isaiah Rocha
Favian Gutierrez vs. Alan Benson
Amber Leibrock vs. Jessica Borga
Peter Ishiguro vs. Elias Anderson
James Terry vs. Batsumberel Dagvadorj
Daniel Gonzalez vs. Jonathan Adams
Adam Piccolotti vs. Jacob Smith
Abraham Vaesau vs. Renato Alves
Albert Gonzalez vs. Tyson Miller
Sports journalist based in CA, USA.