Bellator 200 is set to be a big show for fans in London, as the promotion will host a middleweight title fight between Rafael Carvalho and Gegard Mousasi at the event.
Bellator MMA has its announced return to London, England, and the event is set to be a historic one. Bellator 200 will take place at the SSE Arena in London on May 25. The show will be headlined by a middleweight title fight between champion Rafael Carvalho and big free agent pickup Gegard Mousasi. Also announced for the card, former light heavyweight champion Phil Davis will take on ex-title challenger Linton Vassell. And rounding out a trio of bouts unveiled for the event, Michael ‘Venom’ Page will face David ‘Caveman’ Rickels. The promotion made the initial announcement late Monday, and added news of Davis vs. Vassell on social media Tuesday.
“Bellator continues to place a huge emphasis on its expansion into markets around the globe and creating a strong presence in the U.K. is a very important part of that,” Bellator President Scott Coker said in a press release announcing the card. “Our fans are going to be excited about the card we put together for this monumental event, as Bellator 200 will be one of our greatest to date.”
Rafael Carvalho (15-1) is currently Bellator’s longest-serving reigning champion. The thirty-one year old Brazilian from Rio de Janeiro has not lost since his professional debut in 2011. After capturing the Bellator middleweight title from Brandon Halsey in 2015 at Bellator 144, he defended it three times, against Melvin Manhoeff twice, and most recently versus Alessio Sakara.
Mousasi (43–6–2), though, will arguably represent Carvalho’s toughest test to date. With three times the experience, and undefeated in his past six fights, Mousasi had been climbing the mountain in the UFC before being lured away to Bellator during free agency. In his Bellator debut, he won a close unanimous decision at Bellator 195 against former champ Alexander Shlemenko. While it was not the emphatic win many expected of a fighter who was knocking off the best of the best in the UFC, it was enough to earn a title shot.
Carvalho vs. Mousasi could be similarly misleading, as Carvalho has been an underrated champion to date for Bellator.
Also added to the Bellator 200 card, Britain’s Michael Page returns — but not against Paul Daley, as many had hoped. Instead, he’ll get the biggest test of his career to date against David Rickels. Page (12-0) has been perfect thus far, but his previous step up in competition against Fernando Gonzalez resulted in a close split decision. That was back in November 2016; Page has not fought in MMA since, though he did compete in a boxing match last year.
Rickels (19–4 (2)) is currently on a two-fight winning streak. Most recently, ‘The Caveman’ captured a unanimous decision win over Adam Piccolotti at Bellator 189. Bellator 200 will mark his first fight outside the U.S. as a professional — and a chance to bring his trademark entrances to a new crowd.
And finally, former light heavyweight champion and top-ranked 205lb’er Phil Davis (18-4, 1NC) will return at Bellator 200. The ex-UFC standout, who was one of the forerunners in an exodus of free agents moving from the UFC to Bellator, last fought at Bellator 186 in November. There, in front of an appreciative crowd at Penn State, the PSU alum defeated Leonardo Leite.
Linton Vassell (18–6 (1)) also fought that night at Penn State, losing a title challenge against Ryan Bader, the man who defeated Davis to become Bellator’s reigning light heavyweight champion. With Bader and fellow 205lb contender King Mo tied up for the time being in Bellator’s World Heavyweight Grand Prix, there’s time for either man to re-establish themselves as a title challenger in the weight class.