Two-division champion Ryan Bader will defend his heavyweight title against Cheick Kongo at Bellator 226, promotion president Scott Coker announced Thursday.
Bellator 226 takes place at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Sept. 7.
Bader (27-5) captured the vacant heavyweight title with a 35-second knockout over MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator 214 in January. The 36-year-old also defeated “King Mo” and Matt Mitrione en route to winning the heavyweight tournament. The Power MMA product carries a seven-fight win streak into his first title defense, with five of those victories coming by stoppage.
Kongo (30-10-2) last saw action in February when he beat the previously undefeated Vitaly Minakov at Bellator 218. Kongo, 44, hasn’t lost since February 2015 and is currently riding an eight-fight win streak.
The promotion also announced the 16-man Featherweight Grand Prix will kick off at Bellator 226, though no matchups have been confirmed.
Bellator will split the featherweight tournament opening-round matchups between Bellator 226 and Bellator 227, according to MMAJunkie’s Simon Head. Bellator 227 goes down at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., on Sept. 28 and will see featherweight champion Patricio Freire defend his title against Juan Archuleta.
Freire (29-4) captured the lightweight title in his last bout, knocking out former champion Michael Chandler at Bellator 221 in May. The two-division champion will now defend his featherweight title for the fourth time.
Archuleta (23-1) will compete in his second straight featherweight bout following a highlight-reel knockout victory over Eduardo Dantas at Bellator 222 in June. The “Spaniard” is currently riding an 18-fight winning streak, including five straight victories under the Bellator MMA banner.
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