With the UFC kicking things off on May 9, it’s reasonable to assume that Bellator will follow suit and look to put some of their big fights in 2020. Let’s have a look at some of the most exciting Bellator fights to be amped for in 2020!
Douglas Lima Vs Gegard Mousasi:
Douglas Lima vs Gegard Mousasi takes the cake for the most anticipated Bellator bout currently scheduled to take place in 2020. Douglas Lima is arguably the most accomplished and well-known fighter in Bellator history. The Brazlian mixed martial artist has effectively defeated every single opponent the Bellator organization has put in front of him and in convincing fashion. Since he joined Bellator back in 2011, Lima has compiled a 14-3 record, finished 64% of his fights and has captured the Bellator Welterweight World Championship ship three times. His wins include defeating Paul Daley, Andrey Koreshkov twice, Lorenz Larkin and Rory MacDonald. There is not a resume as impressive on the Bellator roster than Lima’s and he is only getting better with time. Lima’s style makes him incredibly entertaining to watch as he hammers his opponents with powerful leg kicks, accurate hooks, and vicious overhands until he finds an opening for a highlight knockout.
His most memorable knockout came at Bellator 221 when he was tasked with shutting down the hype train of fellow Bellator welterweight Michael Page. Page bounced around the Octagon trying to implement his unorthodox movement and crafty striking. Lima was having none of it and remained calmed and composed as he marched down the taller Page in the beginning of round one. Lima eventually ended up on top of Page and controlled him for the remainder of the round trying to dish out ground and pound from Page’s guard. Page was aware that he lost round one and came out quickly in round two throwing an abundance of flashy kicks to catch Lima off guard. Yet again, Lima remained composed and held his ground intent on trading blow for blow with Page. About 30 seconds into round two, Page darted forward with a straight right that Lima countered perfectly with a powerful leg kick to Page’s lead leg. As Page dropped to the canvas, Lima followed up with a looping right uppercut that seemed to have the hammer of Thor behind it. Page went out cold as Lima followed up with two additional hammer fists and the referee quickly jumped in to stop the bout. Lima followed up this incredible performance with a dominant unanimous decision win over Rory MacDonald to claim the Bellator Welterweight Championship for the third time. After signing a new Bellator contract and accomplishing everything he had hoped too at welterweight, Lima has now decided to move up and face long time middleweight standout Gegard Mousasi for the vacant Bellator Middleweight World Championship.
There is very little Gegard Mousasi has not accomplished in his historic mixed martial arts career. The Strikeforce and UFC veteran has competed in the best MMA organizations in the world and amassed an impressive 46-7 record during that time while finishing 82% of his opponents. Mousasi is a former Dream, Strikeforce and Bellator champion and has fought the best fighters in the world for several years while competing at middleweight and light heavyweight. Mousasi faced Alexander Shlemenko in his Bellator debut and won via unanimous decision officially announcing his arrival to fellow Bellator middleweights. He followed up with a dominant TKO finish over Rafael Carvalho and claimed the Bellator Middleweight World Championship in only his second Bellator appearance. Mousasi was then scheduled to defend his belt four months later in a super fight with Rory MacDonald. After a stand-up battle for the majority of round one, Mousasi opted to take the fight to the ground in round two where he eventually mounted MacDonald and pounded away with powerful punches and vicious elbows earning a TKO victory. Mousasi is one of the most well-rounded fighters to grace the Octagon and has notable wins over Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, Chris Weidman, Uriah Hall, Melvin Manhoef and Thales Leites. After losing his title to Rafael Lovato Jr and rebounding with a split decision win over Lyoto Machida in 2019, Mousasi is eager to reclaim the Bellator Middleweight World Championship against Lima in 2020.
This will be Bellator’s marquee matchup for the year. Lima will be at a clear size and strength disadvantage in the bout against Mousasi and will have to use his powerful punches and effective leg kicks to slow down the bigger man and keep his attack at bay. Lima has shown that he can be controlled on the ground which is how his losses to Ben Askren and Rory MacDonald came to fruition. Mousasi will no doubt look to take this fight to the ground where he will have a distinct advantage in both grappling and size. Ultimately, this fight will come down to how strong can Lima get at 185. If he can somewhat match Mousasi, he can stuff the takedowns and look to impose his robust striking arsenal. Either way, this will be one of the highest level mixed martial arts bouts that Bellator will put on in 2020. Can Lima become a champ champ or will Mousasi reclaim his title?
AJ McKee vs Darrion Caldwell:
The Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix bout between A. J. Mckee and Darrion Caldwell is easily the Bellator bout I am most excited for in 2020. The tension between these two has been building up steadily for years and now it is time to see who moves one step further toward the top of tournament. Darrion Caldwell has been a staple in the Bellator roster since 2014 and has amassed 12-3 record with the promotion. He has notable wins over Joe Warren, Eduardo Dantas and Noah Lahat. Caldwell won the Bellator Bantamweight World Championship back 2017 against Eduard Dantas where he used his explosive striking and impeccable ground game to dominate Dantas. He pulled off very impressive backwards overhead slam on Dantas that is worthy of a highlight on its own! After losing to Kyojii Horiguchi twice in a row and losing the Bellator Bantamweight Championship, Caldwell entered the Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix intent on returning to the top and proving he is the best in the world. Caldwell has thus far dominated the Featherweight World Grand Prix by defeating Henry Corrales via unanimous decision in the opening round and submitting Adam Borics in the quarter finals. He looks to keep the momentum going in his next bout against one of Bellator’s young and popular stars.
Selling A. J. Mckee requires little to no work due to his obvious stardom, exciting fighting style and likable personality. The 25-year-old Bellator featherweight has compiled a 16-0 mixed martial arts record all in the Bellator cage and is on fire. If you have not seen McKee’s head kick knockout of Dominic Mazzota back in 2017, I highly suggest you get on YouTube immediately to watch the replay. The undefeated prospect has quickly become one of Bellator’s biggest stars at a young age and improves after every fight. McKee is very well rounded and uses his crafty striking and athleticism to control the distance, fire long kicks to the body and legs and a thunderous straight left that stuns most opponents on impact. Add to that a stellar ground game and you have yourself one of the most dangerous fighters in the game today. Mckee has compiled a 2-0 record in the Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix by knocking out Georgi Karakhanyan and submitted Derek Campos.
The winner of Caldwell and McKee will go on to become the Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix winner, mark my words. Both are exceptionally athletic fighters who boast well rounded styles and a tenacity that is difficult to match. This bout will be fought at a relentless pace with the winner moving one step closer to a Featherweight Grand Prix Finale.
Paul Daley vs Sabah Homasi:
If you are a fan of knockouts, then the welterweight showdown between Paul Daley vs Sabah Homasi is the fight you should be looking forward to in 2020. Daley has a ridiculous 31 knockouts in his mixed martial arts record and boasts some of the most devastating power in MMA history. The Nottingham native has compiled a 7-4 record in Bellator and has competed in most of the major MMA organizations compiling an overall record of 42-17-2. Daley is a highlight machine with many of his knockouts generating a great deal of buzz and excitement throughout the MMA community. His knockouts of Scott Smith via a counter left hook and his brilliant flying knee knockout of Brennan Ward are but a few highlights that have come to define the longtime MMA veteran. Sabah Homasi is currently riding a two-fight win streak and coming off an impressive first round KO of Micah Terrill after returning to the Bellator roster. The New Jersey native is known for being an exciting finisher and trading heavy blows with his opponents. Daley and Homasi combine for 40 knockouts and it is safe to say that the new total will be 41 after their meeting! This one does not need much more selling…someone is going down.
Michael Chandler vs Benson Henderson 2:
Michael Chandler and Benson Henderson were made to fight each other, it is as simple as that. Their first bout was easily one of the best title fights in Bellator history and I cannot imagine their second one being anything but the same. Benson Henderson is one of the most recognizable lightweight fighters due to his many years of competing in the WEC and UFC. After a successful career in the UFC and becoming UFC Lightweight Champion, Henderson decided it was time to move on and signed with Bellator. After a 1-3 start with the promotion which included two closely contested split decision losses to Michael Chandler and Patricky Freire, Henderson has rebounded strong and compiled a four-fight win streak. He has defeated Roger Huerta, Saad Awad, Adam Piccoloti and Myles Jury to earn himself a rematch with longtime Bellator lightweight Michael Chandler. Michael Chandler is easily the most recognizable and notable lightweights in Bellator history. He is a three-time former Bellator Lightweight World Champion and has fought the best of the best including Eddie Alvarez, Patricky Freire, Patricio Freire and Brent Primus. Chandler is known for his relentless pace, incredible cardio, and superb ability to effectively blend his striking and ground game together.
I expect the rematch between these two to once again be a five-round war. Both won two rounds a piece in their first fight and it came down to the fifth round where Chandler edged Henderson out slightly. Expect the rematch to deliver the same excitement and tenacity as the first!
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Andrew is a lifelong follower of combat sports. His passion began as a child and has only grown as an adult. Andrew holds a bachelor’s degree from Pepperdine University and a master’s from Texas A & M University. Outside of combat sports, Andrew currently works as a program manager for an aerospace manufacturing company. He has trained Muay Thai for seven years and continues to spar and train on the weekends when time permits.