Bellator MMA is set to kick off its 2020 campaign with a big night in Los Angeles later this month. To follow it up, they’ll head back to Thackerville, Oklahoma for Bellator 239.
MyMMANews has confirmed with sources that a featherweight matchup between Cris “Sunshine” Lencioni (5-2) and Salim Mukhidinov (7-3) has been added to the Feb. 21 event.
Tajikistan’s Mukhidinov, 26, made his promotional debut in October at Bellator 229. He would successfully rebound off of his prior loss by defeating Adel Altamimi via unanimous decision.
The American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) product in Mukhidinov had his five-fight winning streak snapped at the hands of Humberto Bandenay before his arrival in Bellator. Since then, Bandenay would also find his way onto a bigger stage as he enjoyed a four-fight stint with the UFC before departing.
For his opponent in the 25-year old Lencioni, he joined Bellator in late 2017 when he took on Thomas Lopez. Undefeated at the time, the Portland State University graduate would end up scoring the victory with a first-round triangle choke submission. The win would extend a lengthy 12-fight winning streak when including his 8-0 amateur career for the man known as “Sunshine.”
Unfortunately for him, that streak would end when he ran into Daniel Carey in his sophomore bout who utilized his wrestling to take home a unanimous decision. Another loss to Tywan Claxton would be received before the American Top Team: Portland product got back on track in 2019.
Facing a fellow solid prospect in Adil Benjilany at Bellator 221, Lencioni would get his second win in the promotion and it would again come by way of triangle choke in the opening round.
Since the win, Lencioni was booked for a high profile matchup with former Glory Kickboxing lightweight and featherweight champion Robin Van Roosmalen. The two were set to meet in October but the fight was canceled the on weigh-in day after Van Roosmalen missed the 145-pound mark by a whopping nine pounds.
Bellator 239 is still taking shape as it now has three bouts. As of right now, the current lineup stands as follows.
- Welterweight – 170lbs: Ed Ruth vs. Yaroslav Amosov
- Lightweight – 155lbs: Brandon Girtz vs. Myles Jury
- Featherweight – 145lbs: Cris “Sunshine” Lencioni vs. Salim Mukhidinov