Bellator 289: With Would-Be Opponents Turning Dalton Rosta Down, “There’s Only So Many People to Choose From”

Dalton Rosta, Bellator 289
Dalton Rosta, Bellator 289 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Bellator MMA

Bellator middleweight Dalton Rosta returns to action for the third time in 2022 at Bellator 289, looking to close out his year with another dominant performance.

Rosta (7-0) is paired up with Anthony Adams, and is fighting down in the rankings in this case. Adams sits at #10, while Rosta himself is ranked #5 in Bellator’s middleweight division. But in this case, it was just a matter of staying active for “Hercules” — and in part due to opponents saying no.

“They tried making the fight with John Salter, I don’t know what happened with that, didn’t come to fruition. And after that, they tried matching me with Imamshafi Aliev, who ended up fighting on the November card [Bellator 288]. He said no,” Rosta told Cageside Press during this week’s Bellator 289 media day. “So there’s only so many people to choose from.”

“If you look at the rest of the top 10, some of them had fights right before this, that weren’t able to fight because of timing. Number seven is Austin [Vanderford], my teammate. Don’t want to fight him unless it’s for title contention. I already beat Romero Cotton, Lorenz Larkin moved down to 170. So this is the highest-ranked guy that was willing to take the fight.”

Speaking of teammates, as Rosta continues to climb the 185lb ladder, he may eventually cross paths with another teammate: middleweight champ Johnny Eblen. Thus far, there’s no process in place for how they’d handle facing off with each other, in terms of corners, coaches, gym time, etc.

That’s a concern for another day, however. First up for Rosta is closing out the year strong. The Adams fight is as important as any other, as Rosta explained, given “my whole entire goal in this sport is to be the best in the world, and that’s regardless of promotion. The first step would be earning a title shot, and then winning it, and continuing to defend it. This fight just like every other is very, very important.”

When it comes to Adams, Dalton Rosta sees a “good fighter, good striker. He mixes it up here and there. Heavy striking game. That’s what he relies on. He’s athletic, quick jab. Likes to throw one kick on the outside a lot, at a time.” But while Rosta is willing to give Adams his due as a good fighter, “at the end of the day, I think I’m levels above him,” he added, “and I plan to go into the cage on Friday and prove that.”

Dalton Rosta faces Anthony Adams at Bellator 289 this Friday, December 9, 2022 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.