Bellator 272 is in the books, and after a wildly successful evening, it’s time to look ahead to next year.
That’s what Scott Coker was asked to do following the event, while speaking to media members in Uncasville, Connecticut and online. Following a night that saw Sergio Pettis successfully defend his 135lb title against ex-champ Kyoji Horiguchi, Coker now has the newly announced bantamweight grand prix to look forward to. Plus a number of other big fights in the coming year.
On the bantamweight grand prix front, Coker opened up about why the weight class was selected as the latest to be featured in the tournament format. “This is a division we could probably do a 16 man tournament in easily. When you look at the top eight guys, they’re all killers,” Coker said of the division, recognizing bantamweight as “probably one of the best divisions we have.”
“Whoever wins this tournament is going to be the best bantamweight in the world.”
In terms of time frame, “we have to finish the light heavyweight tournament, that’s going to be a big fight between Corey Anderson and Vadim Nemkov. When I look at the beginning of this tournament, it’ll be another great fight sometime in the first quarter,” said Coker. “Bader versus Moldavsky, I think that unification bout needs to happen. So we’ve got a lot of great fights. I think MVP versus Amosov will happen in the first quarter, or early second quarter.”
“As far as the tournament, honestly I think it’ll start sometime in March,” added Coker, who noted they’ll need to follow up with Kyoji Horiguchi, who suffered a nasty KO in the Bellator 272 main event. Initially, there had been some consideration of holding the opening round of the bantamweight grand prix in Japan, but due to the country’s most recent shut-down due to COVID-19, those plans have changed.
The final fight for Fedor Emelianenko, however, appears to be on track.
“We’ve got Fedor’s fight coming up in the summer in Moscow,” said Coker. “I’m really excited, because to me he’s the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time. I know some people have their opinions or whatever, but they just forgot what he did in the first half of his career.” Tim Johnson, who Fedor recently KO’d, is no joke, noted Coker. Fedor “threw a three-punch combination on Tim like he was 25-year old. It was unbelievable. This guy is just really special, and we’re going to do something really big for him in Moscow, probably in July at some point, and it’ll be an end of an era as far as Fedor.”
Watch the full Bellator 272 post-fight press conference with Scott Coker above.