Bellator is betting big on their 180th show, which will see the promotion make it’s debut at the historic Madison Square Gardens this Saturday night, with something for every MMA fight fan in both the PPV section and the free-to-air fights on Spike.
The big one is the grudge match between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva – the two veteran fighters have built such a level of animosity between them that Silva refused to attend the press conference because he was well aware that it would end in a fight.
Their history goes back to an incident in the back of a van – Sonnen, utilised his full repertoire of verbal and psychological warfare on Anderson Silva when the two of them fought in the UFC and Wanderlei confronted him about it in the aforementioned van while the two of them were en route to an MMA expo.
Following that, the two were opposing coaches on Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3, throwing fuel on the fire that smouldered between them. The pair came to blows behind the scenes and a fight was scheduled between them at UFC175, although it never happened due to Wanderlei avoiding the USADA testers [he’s since admitted he knew he had a banned substance in his bloodstream at the time].
Now the two are set to clash alongside a heavyweight co-headliner between MMA legend, Fedor Emelianenko and former UFC fighter, Matt Mitrione. Silva is expecting The American Gangster to try and take the fight to the ground to utilise his wrestling strengths, but said, “It’s been a long time since my last fight. Now, finally, my technique is back. Everything is right, and I’m really happy. I’m so happy to get back to work. I trained a lot of knees, because I know what he wants to do,” Silva said. “He has just one movement, and in that moment, I’m going to catch him.”
- Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva; Light Heavyweight
- Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione; Heavyweight
- Michael Chandler (c) vs. Brent Primus for Chandler’s Lightweight Title
- Douglas Lima (c) vs. Lorenz Larkin for Lima’s Welterweight Title
- Aaron Pico vs. Zach Freeman; Lightweight
- Phil Davis (c) vs. Ryan Bader for Davis’ Light Heavyweight Title
- James Gallagher vs. Chinzo Machida; Featherweight
- Neiman Gracie vs. Dave Marfone; Welterweight
- Heather Hardy vs. Alice Yauger; Women’s Flyweight
- Ryan Couture vs. Haim Gozali; Welterweight
- Jerome Mickle vs. Anthony Giacchina; Lightweight
- John Salgado vs. Hugh McKenna; Catchweight (168 lbs)
- Matt Rizzo vs. Sergio da Silva; Catchweight (130 lbs)
- Bradley Desir vs. Nate Grebb; Lightweight