Bellator 280 is set to light up the AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France this Friday May 6.
Bellator 280 Preview
Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader (29-7, 1 NC) will engage in a sequel of their fight three years in the making against Cheick Kongo (31-11-2, 1 NC).
Their first fight in September 2019 took place in San Jose, California which ended in a no-contest due to an accidental eye poke from Bader that made Kongo unable to continue.
Since that fight Bader has gone 2-2, losing by TKO to both Vadim Nemkov and Corey Anderson but also picking up decision wins against Lyoto Machida and Valentin Moldavsky in between those losses.
The win against Moldavsky is where Bader earned the unified heavyweight crown at Bellator 273. Meanwhile, Kongo went 1-1 since their first meeting, and is coming into this bout with momentum, after being handed a loss via split decision from Timothy Johnson, Kongo rebounded and picked up a strong showing against Sergei Kharitonov by submitting him with a rear-naked choke in the second round at Bellator 265.
That is where the two men have differed in the last two years, as Bader has had double the activity compared to Kongo which could make the difference, what makes this all the more intriguing is the fight taking place in Kongo’s native France.
It will be interesting to see the champion go into enemy territory and vindicate that no-contest ruling of their first encounter against a game opponent looking to make his statement.
In the co-main event, Yoel Romero (13-6) looks to get the first win of his Bellator career against surging light heavyweight Alex Polizzi (10-1) in a three-round bout.
Polizzi is coming in after originally planned fighter Melvin Manhoef had to step down after Manhoef reportedly was injured following an apprehending three alleged burglars.
Polizzi enters this short notice bout on a three-fight winning streak. Since signing with the promotion in 2020, Polizzi has defeated Grant Neal and former Bellator middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho among others in the company. His most recent showing was a submission win against Jose Augusto.
Yoel Romero, now 45, signed with Bellator in 2021 after being surprisingly cut by the UFC and debuted in September of last year resulting in a loss against former UFC fighter Phil Davis by unanimous decision at Bellator 266.
Romero looks to secure the first win of his Bellator run as he continues to get accustomed to his new weight as this is his second fight at light heavyweight.
Also on the billing will be a middleweight clash between Lorenz Larkin (23-7, 1 NC) taking on Kyle Stewart (15-5) as well as Mike Shipman (14-3) and Gregory Babene (21-11, 1 NC) meeting at middleweight. In addition, Davy Gallon (20-7-2) takes on Benjamin Brander (13-8) in a lightweight bout.