Bellator MMA is headed to France, making it the first major promotion to touch down in the nation.
On Friday, the promotion announced via social media that Bellator 248 will take place in Paris. France only recently opened its doors to MMA, legalizing the sport at the start of 2020. While the UFC expressed interest in heading to the nation, the coronavirus pandemic stalled those plans. Now, Bellator — who have a strong foothold in Europe, particularly in Italy and the U.K. — have beat them to the punch.
The event is expected to take place at the Accor Arena on October 10. A limited number of fans will be in attendance.
Two major fights have also been announced for the show, and not surprisingly, Cheick Kongo is involved. The French heavyweight has long competed everywhere but in his native France, but will now get a chance to fight at home. Kongo (30–10–2, 1NC) was last seen at Bellator 226 in a title bid against heavyweight champ Ryan Bader. However, an eye poke halted the fight early, resulting in it being deemed a no contest.
Prior to that fight, Kongo, a former UFC star, had won eight straight, including wins against ex-champ Vitaly Minakov, and ex-UFC heavyweight Tim Johnson.
It’s Johnson (14-6) that Kongo will be facing for the second time this October. The American has put together two straight wins, both finishes, against top prospect Tyrell Fortune, and most recently Matt Mitrione.
Also announced for Bellator 248 is the return of Michael Page. Page (17-1) has won three straight since being bounced from the welterweight grand prix by Douglas Lima in May 2019. This time out, he’s been paired up with the undefeated Ross Houston (8-0, 1NC). Houston, a former Cage Warriors welterweight champ, will be making his promotional debut at the event.