Another season of Bellator is coming around the corner, and multiple title fights are lined up over the month of March and into early April. We know that Eddie Alvarez will fight Michael Chandler once again at a date TBD on PPV, Eduardo Dantas fights Rafael Silva for the bantamweight title in the season opener, Pat Curran gets a highly controversial rematch against Daniel Straus, and Alexander Shlemenko’s next middleweight title defense will come against Brennan Ward.
Earlier this week Bellator also announced two more title fights: Vitaly Minakov vs. Cheick Kongo for Minakov’s heavyweight title (April 4th, Bellator 115), and Attila Vegh against Emanuel Newton in a light heavyweight title unification bout (March 21st, Bellator 113).
Kongo (19-9-2) won the four-man season 9 heavyweight tournament with a TKO win over the wonderfully named Mark Godbeer and then injury replacement (for Vinicius Quieroz) Peter Graham in the final. The former UFC mainstay left the organization early last year following a KO loss to Roy Nelson. Minakov (13-0) wiped out Alexander Volkov to capture the Bellator HW crown after blasting through the Summer Series tournament.
Vegh (29-4-2) is undefeated in Bellator and took the LHW title away from Christian M’Pumbu last February. The Slovakian already holds a split decision win over Newton. Newton (22-7-1) famously knocked out King Mo with a spinning backfist in the season 8 tournament semifinals, won the whole tournament after beating Mikhail Zayats … and then things got weird. For the sake of brevity, Newton ended up fighting King Mo for an interim belt while Vegh was “sidelined” with an injury, and Newton won a clear decision. Bellator seemingly fabricated Vegh’s injury in an effort to get Mo in a title fight on their planned PPV (turned Spike TV show). Vegh maintains he would’ve been ready to fight last November but Bellator went ahead and hastily booked an interim title fight.
I just want to point out two things from Bellator’s own press release regarding Newton/Vegh:
1.) At no point does Bellator even reference either of Newton’s wins against King Mo, including the one that happened on their biggest show to date. They just refer to him as their “interim champion” and left the context there.
2.) Vegh is described as “ready to defend his title after suffering an injury”, which, of course, is something that Vegh himself has disputed.
As it stands, Bellator’s first five events of season 10 will all be headlined by title fights, and all of those will be broadcast live on Spike TV.
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