Former Bellator MMA heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov will compete for the first time in over two years at October’s Bellator Moscow card. There, he’ll take on rising heavyweight prospect Tyrell Fortune.
Promotion president Scott Coker announced the news during a live stream appearance with Russia’s TASS.ru on Monday.
Minakov (22-1), now 36-years old, has competed in fits and starts in recent years. A contract dispute saw him stripped of his title and exiled in Russia from 2015 to 2017, where he competed for Fight Nights Global. Missing all of 2018, he reached an agreement with Bellator to return in 2019 and fought twice, going 1-1 and suffering the first loss of his career against Cheick Kongo.
Getting back in the win column that August against Tim Johnson, Minakov still appeared very much in the title conversation. However, when the coronavirus pandemic struck, Minakov was once again left in limbo.
Tyrell Fortune (11-1) has won three straight, and is fresh off a win over former UFC fighter Matt Mitrione. The 31-year old former wrestler turned pro in 2016, and has spent his entire career with Bellator MMA.
Bellator Moscow, the promotion’s first trip to Russia, is expected to take place October 23 at the VTB Arena. Another legendary Russian heavyweight will headline the card, as Fedor Emelianenko is expected to appear. No opponent has been announced as of yet for Fedor.