Josh Barnett and Ronny Markes will throw down after all, at Bellator 241 this March.
It fell through at the eleventh hour ahead of Bellator 235, but it looks like Josh Barnett vs. Ronny Markes is on again. MMA Fighting was first to report Thursday that the heavyweight duo was being rebooked for Bellator 241 in March. That card is expected to take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.
For Barnett (35-8), it will be his promotional debut, and first fight since a September 2016 victory over Andrei Arlovski in the UFC. After that, Barnett became embroiled in a lengthy battle with USADA over what ultimately turned out to be a tainted supplement. Opting to take his case to arbitration, Barnett was cleared of any wrongdoing — but not before he lost a solid 18 months or so off his career.
His debut at Bellator 235 last month, meanwhile, was scrapped due to illness at the last minute. Barnett was not cleared by the athletic commission after showing signs of illness (reportedly, and rather unfortunately, a bug was making the rounds).
The upside is that original opponent Ronny Markes, another UFC alum, will stay in the fight. Markes (19-7) was most recently competing for the PFL at light heavyweight, but missed weight for his last 205lb fight. In the UFC, he competed as low as middleweight, but has also fought at heavyweight and super heavyweight elsewhere.
The current Bellator 241 line-up, which goes down March 13, 2020, is as follows:
Patricio Freire (c) vs. Pedro Carvalho – Bellator grand prix quarterfinal bout for the featherweight title
Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Daniel Weichel – Bellator grand prix quarterfinal bout
Paul Daley vs. Sabah Homasi
Josh Barnett vs. Ronny Markes