Bellator 264 returned to the Mohegan Sun Arena Friday night when Gegard Mousasi defended his middleweight championship with a 3rd round TKO victory over John Salter. The middleweight’s next challenger has already been found, Bellator announced after the fight that Austin Vanderford will be next for “The Dreamcatcher”.
Post-Bellator 264 Fights To Make
Gegard Mousasi vs. Austin Vanderford
The #2 ranked Bellator Middleweight, Vanderford possesses an undefeated record and a significant challenge for the champion. Despite being successful on Dana White’s Contender Series, Vanderford was not offered a UFC contract. He has since rattled off 6 wins in a row to cement his status as #1 contender. Mousasi has been victorious in 11 of his last 12 bouts.
Andrey Koreshkov vs. Jason Jackson
“The Spartan” improved his record to 24-4 after dismantling Sabah Homasi at Bellator 264. With his performance, he rightfully will earn a top-5 ranking. With the Douglas Lima/Michael Venom Page matchup booked, Bellator can create another viable contender with Jackson. Jason Jackson is currently sitting at #3. The Sanford MMA product is 15-4 and is riding a 5-fight win streak. He holds notable victories over Benson Henderson, Neiman Gracie and Paul Daley.
Raufeon Stots vs. Sergio Pettis
This is where things can get a little complicated. Raufeon Stots earned a title opportunity with an incredible performance over Magomed Magomedov. However, his main training partner and friend, Sergio Pettis, currently holds the Bellator bantamweight Championship. In his post-fight interview, Stots appeared conflicted and suggested a Bantamweight Grand Prix. President Scott Coker appears to agree with the idea, posing the question on Twitter. If that is the case, Stots should be a favorite depending on seeding. Personally, a Bantamweight Grand Prix would be pure entertainment. However, Bellator holding a tournament every year is becoming repetitive and the Grand Prix is losing its “gusto”.
Davion Franklin vs. Said Sowma
With only four professional fights, it would normally be a little asinine to want a fighter to compete against the best the division has to offer, however Davion Franklin has an x-factor that needs to be displayed. With the power he possesses, Franklin has a chance to knock out anyone in Bellator. He called out Cheick Kongo in his post-fight interview, and if Kongo is able to beat Sergei Kharitonov at Bellator 265, that certainly is an option. However, Said Sowma is currently 7-2 and is coming off of a stoppage victory over Ronny Markes at Bellator 262. The two are relatively raw in regards to experience but both display potential in a lackluster heavyweight division.
Khadzhimurat Bestaev vs. Matthew Bonner
Despite some controversy and questionable judging, Khadzhimurat Bestaev walked away with a unanimous decision victory. It was his promotional debut and he turned in a performance that should earn him another fight in the middleweight division. Bonner is not officially signed to Bellator, but Cage Warriors Middleweight Champion Matthew Bonner certainly has earned the opportunity. He won the belt back in June and is on a four-fight winning streak. Bellator is heading to London on October 1st, and Bonner is a name to keep an eye on for that card.
Pam Sorenson vs. Julia Budd
Former Invicta FC champion Pam Sorenson made her debut at Bellator 264 and was victorious with a split-decision win over Roberta Samad. She provides a fresh name in a featherweight division that is in dyer need of one. Julia Budd is reportedly a free agent, but with a lack of commitment to the featherweight division from the UFC or the PFL, it seems likely Budd will re-sign with Bellator. If that’s the case, a matchup with Sorenson can provide Budd with a case for a rematch with champion, Cris Cyborg.