The 2020 Bellator MMA calendar concluded with a new champion on December 10. After a four-month hiatus, the promotion is expected to return.
From July 24 onward, Bellator’s US events have taken place in Uncasville, Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Arena. Following an initial report from MMA DNA, MMA Fighting has confirmed the targeting of an April 9 event for the promotion — the Mohegan Sun again to play host.
Original hopes for the Bellator 2021 schedule were to see the action begin in February. However, plans changed for undisclosed reasons.
At Bellator 254 in December the organization saw only its second flyweight champion be crowned. The reigning unbeaten queen from Hawaii, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, fell short in her long-awaited contest with Brazil’s Juliana Velasquez.
Also undefeated, the now 11-0 Judo blackbelt obtained the title via unanimous judge’s call. What next awaits her remains to be determined, but there is no shortage of new and exciting challengers.
In 2020 Bellator put a focus on bolstering their roster with notable signings, particularly at 125-pounds. Veteran divisional elites such as Liz Carmouche and Invicta FC champion Vanessa Porto joined the mix as instant contenders. Towards the tail-end of the year, top prospects like Japan’s 9-0-1 Kana Watanabe were signed as well.
Regarding the highest-profile signings, it’s undeniable that those came in the form of the light heavyweights.
Closing the year out emphatically in free agency, Bellator obtained the pair of multiple-time UFC title challengers, Yoel Romero and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. Both men saw their last fights as opportunities to obtain gold.
For Romero, he was on the wrong end of an uneventful split decision against UFC middleweight kingpin, Israel Adesanya. “Rumble”, on the other hand, hasn’t fought since 2017 when he rematched Daniel Cormier at UFC 210. Falling short once again via second-round submission, Johnson retired in the Octagon directly after the bout’s conclusion.