Ryan Bader booked to defend heavyweight title against Cheick Kongo

Ryan Bader, Cheick Kongo

Ryan Bader, Bellator‘s resident two-division champ, is now set to defend his heavyweight strap.

Bader, who also owns the light heavyweight title, will make this defense opposite fellow UFC veteran Cheick Kongo. The fight will go down at Bellator 226 on September 7 inside the SAP Center in San Jose, California. This card will also mark the beginning of Bellator’s anticipated featherweight Grand Prix.

The promotion announced this exciting news in a press release Thursday morning.

Ryan Bader, 36, will enter this title fight on a seven-fight win-streak. Though he has spent the majority of his career in the light heavyweight division, his last three fights have occurred at heavyweight, where he defeated Muhammed Lawal, Matt Mitrione and most notably heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko to win the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix and the promotion’s vacant heavyweight strap. Prior to this heavyweight run, he defended the light heavyweight title against Linton Vassell. He won the light heavyweight title with a 2017 decision defeat of Phil Davis. Bader is an impressive 27-5 overall.

The 44-year-old Cheick Kongo, on the other hand, is 30–10–2 overall, and is a lifelong heavyweight. He’ll enter this title fight on an impressive eight-fight win-streak. His latest win saw him outpoint the former champion Vitaly Minakov, who was widely regarded as the best heavyweight outside the UFC at the time. Other highlights of his recent streak include victories over Timothy Johnson, Javy Ayala, Augusto Sakai, and Alexander Volkov.

Who do you think will come out on top when Ryan Bader and Cheick Kongo collide in San Jose this September? Who will leave the SAP Center with the heavyweight strap?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/11/2019.