Bellator 290 will see the promotion’s light heavyweight title on the line — and a second big 205lb match-up will also take place at the event.
On Thursday, promotion officials informed Cageside Press that #6-ranked Grant Neal (7-1) will face #8-ranked Karl Albrektsson (13-4) as part of the Inglewood, California card, which takes place at the Kia Forum on February 4, 2023.
The 27-year old Neal most recently saw action against Christian Edwards, winning a unanimous decision back in April. Fighting out of Colorado, Neal, a.k.a. “The Truth,” has posted a 6-1 record under the Bellator MMA banner, spending the bulk of his professional career to date with the organization.
Sweden’s Albrektsson is a well-traveled light heavyweight whose position on the Bellator 290 card will likely raise eyebrows. A veteran of Japan’s RIZIN Fighting Federation, it was there that “King” Karl notched a win over current 205lb champ Vadim Nemkov, with the victory coming via split decision at RIZIN 1 in 2016.
Albrektsson has shared the cage (or ring, in the case of RIZIN) with the likes of Valentin Moldavsky and UFC champ Jiri Prochazka. Having first competed for Bellator in 2019, the Swede later notched a victory over Viktor Nemkov, the champion’s brother.
Earlier this year, Albrektsson inked an exclusive deal with Bellator MMA. He returned to action in September, losing via submission to Karl Moore, a setback that snapped a four-fight win streak.
Bellator 290 at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, CA is set to be headlined by a heavyweight world championship contest, as Ryan Bader faces Fedor Emelianenko for the second time. That bout is expected to be the retirement fight for “The Last Emperor.” In the co-headliner, Vadim Nemkov puts his title on the line opposite Yoel Romero.
The following match-ups have been reported for the February 4, 2023 card thus far:
- Ryan Bader vs. Fedor Emelianenko – for the Bellator MMA heavyweight championship
- Vadim Nemkov vs. Yoel Romero – for the Bellator MMA light heavyweight championship
- Grant Neal vs. Karl Albrektsson
- Sabah Homasi vs. Brennan Ward
- Ethan Hughes vs. Yusuf Karakaya