Despite all the hype surrounding UFC 242: Khabib vs Poirier, Bellator MMA has also lined up an impressive fight card for Bellator 226 which takes place on the very same day as UFC's highly anticipated debut pay-per-view in Abu Dhabi.
Bellator 226 is scheduled to be headlined by Ryan Bader, who is set to defend his Bellator Heavyweight Championship against Cheick Kongo. Bader won the Heavyweight Championship at Bellator 214 in January of 2019 when he defeated Fedor Emelianenko in the finals of the Bellator Grand Prix Tournament.
On the other hand, Cheick Kongo has been on a hot streak in Bellator and is currently on an eight-fight winning streak. In his last Bellator outing, Kongo defeated Vitaly Minakov via unanimous decision at Bellator 216 on February 19th.
Bellator 226 will also host the first-round bouts for the Featherweight Grand Prix Tournament with interesting fights featuring the likes of Daniel Straus, Derek Campos, Pat Curran, and Sam Sicilia among other notable names.
Here are the predicted outcomes for Bellator 226: Bader vs Kongo.
#1 Ryan Bader (c) vs Cheick Kongo
Ryan Bader's two-year tenure in Bellator MMA has been pretty formidable so far. Having initially signed a contract with the promotion in 2017, the former UFC Light Heavyweight fighter defeated Phil Davis in his debut fight via split decision and won the Bellator Light Heavyweight Title in his first promotional fight.
With Bader currently being in possession of both the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight Championships, I feel that the double champion currently has a slight edge over Kongo due to his immense wrestling skills, despite the latter being undefeated for his last eight outings in Bellator.
Heading into this fight, one other major factor to look out for is the massive 8-year age difference between the fighters. At the age of 44, Kongo certainly doesn't have the age advantage over Bader and might have a hard time surviving Bader's ground game.
Winner: Ryan Bader defeats Cheick Kongo