Two of Bellator’s biggest stars are set for a summer bout at light heavyweight, according to ESPN.
Chael Sonnen hasn’t been seen in the Bellator cage since his loss to Fedor Emelianenko in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand-Prix last year. However, that soon could change. Sonnen and former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida have supposedly agreed to a bout for this summer according to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. Machida is currently riding a three-fight winning streak, and last defeated Rafael Carvalho at Bellator 213 in Hawaii.
The current announced Bellator schedule goes only as far as Bellator 221 with the Chandler vs. Pitbull card in Illinois on May 22. After that, there are currently no announced events. That said, CEO Scott Coker has spoken about trying to head to Madison Square Garden this summer. A bout such as Machida vs. Sonnen could be a big fight to help sell that card.
It’s worth noting that a fight such as this could help sort out the 205 division while Ryan Bader defends his heavyweight title. That should come against Cheick Kongo later this year. However, there is still much unclear about what is next for Bader. The double champ has several contenders waiting in the wings, such as Vadim Nemkov and Liam McGeary. Even Tito Ortiz could be a viable contender for Bader.
As for what’s next for ‘Darth’ Bader, the bout against Kongo seems most likely as the two have gone back and forth on social media since Kongo’s victory over the previously undefeated Vitaly Minakov at Bellator 216. Kongo was uncharacteristically vocal following his win. The French heavyweight is currently riding an eight fight win steak, and with Bader not taking any damage in his championship win over Fedor, we could see Kongo and Bader fight as early as this summer.
As for Lyoto Machida and Chael Sonnen, the fight hasn’t been finalized yet, but has supposedly been verbally agreed to. If all goes well, the “Bad Guy” will be meeting “The Dragon” in the Bellator cage later this year.