Bellator stars Anthony Johnson and Ryan Bader are set to meet in a short notice grappling match at Submission Underground 19.
Bader will be stepping in on short notice to take on Johnson as a replacement for Fabricio Werdum. The two men have actually met before in a professional MMA bout, and on that occasion back in January 2016, Johnson scored a knockout win inside the first two minutes of the fight.
This time, though, it’ll be in a grappling-only setting in what is looking set to be one of the most stacked SUG cards in recent memory.
— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) December 15, 2020
“Bader steps in to face RUMBLE on 5 days notice! SUG ISLAND is real and coming this Sunday only on @ufcfightpass,” SUG promoted Chael Sonnen announced on Twitter.
The ironic thing about this match-up is that there’s a very good chance the pair could meet again in Bellator now that Johnson has joined his former UFC foe Bader in the promotion. Many believe that Bader will move up to heavyweight after losing his Light Heavyweight Championship to Vadim Nemkov, but given the talent within the division, he may change his tune.
In the wake of the aforementioned loss to Nemkov earlier this year, Bader promised to be better than ever when he returns – despite the brutal nature of the defeat.
“Well not the result we were after but it’s the game we play. I’m all good and appreciate the support! I freaking hate to lose but as always I’ll keep working my ass off. Lost one belt but still have that heavyweight belt on my shoulder and will be better than ever. @BellatorMMA”
While there’s no way of denying the UFC’s spot as the biggest game in town, the many additions to the 205-pound division — like Johnson — have left fans and pundits wondering whether or not Bellator now possesses a more exciting light heavyweight roster overall.
Either way, you can bet Anthony Johnson and Ryan Bader will be heading into SUG 19 with the intention of proving they’ve still got what it takes, even if it’s just in the grappling department.