Exclusive: Will demands for cross-promotional fights between UFC and Bellator increase after Grand Prix? Lightweight Alexandr Shabliy answers

Dana White (Left), Alexandr Shabliy (Middle), and Scott Coker (Right) [Photo credit: Sportskeeda MMA Originals - YouTube, and Bellator MMA]
Dana White (Left), Alexandr Shabliy (Middle), and Scott Coker (Right) [Photo credit: Sportskeeda MMA Originals - YouTube, and Bellator MMA]

Alexandr Shabliy weighed in on the possibility of Bellator vs. UFC cross-promotion fights becoming a reality in the future and whether the promotion's Grand Prix tournaments can be a factor.

During an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda MMA, Shabliy spoke about the Bellator Lightweight Grand Prix, which he will be competing in this Friday, and the possibility of the promotion working with the UFC in the future. He was optimistic and mentioned that he believes it could soon be a trend.

He said:

"I think that's actually where things are moving towards because UFC, they also running out of spectacular fights. They kind of moving around shuffling the same thing and now people would want to see the crossovers between let's say Bellator and UFC champions just to bring some exciting and new fights." [7:29 - 7:47]

The No. 4-ranked Bellator lightweight added that he'd like to represent the promotion should they cross-promote with the UFC. Shabliy mentioned that he hopes that it happens while he's in the prime of his career:

"There's a number of fighters that I think if you take weight classes of UFC and Bellator that some guys gonna kick a** from UFC guys like Johnny Eblen and [Yaroslav] Amosov, they have fights coming up and I'm almost sure if you compare they could definitely take out those UFC guys." [8:22 - 8:37]

It will be interesting to see whether Bellator and the UFC will ever cross-promote if the Grand Prix tournaments continue to gain popularity.

Check out the full interview:


Who is Alexandr Shabliy fighting in the Bellator lightweight Grand Prix?

The upcoming Bellator lightweight Grand Prix will feature many former champions and highly touted prospects competing for a chance at both being recognized as the top 155-pounder in the promotion and the $1 million grand prize.

The lightweight Grand Prix kicks off this Friday at Bellator 292 with two opening-round bouts. Alexandr Shabliy will take on former Rizin Grand Prix winner Tofiq Musayev, while former UFC and WEC lightweight champion Benson Henderson will challenge Bellator lightweight champion Usman Nurmagomedov for the title in the main event.

Shabliy vs. Musayev is an interesting bout as both have looked great in their most recent bouts and are viewed as dark horses to win the Grand Prix. The former Rizin lightweight champion is coming off his 27-second knockout win over Sidney Outlaw, while the No. 4-ranked lightweight is riding a seven-fight win streak that dates back to 2017.

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Edited by Rajdeep Barman