After a two-week break, Bellator MMA returns on Friday, June 11, with Bellator 260, as the welterweight title on the line as champion Douglas Lima defends his title against undefeated challenger Yaroslav Amosov. The card also features notable names Paul Daley, Jason Jackson, Aaron Pico, and Nick Newell.
One fight was pulled from the event during Thursday’s weigh-ins as Vanessa Porto’s fight against Ilara Joanne was canceled after Porto was deemed medically unfit to compete. With a 10-fight card set for action on Friday, here are five main reasons for fans to watch Bellator 260.
Humble pie to be served in the prelims?
During this week’s media day, Justin Gonzales called himself the best 145-pound fighter on the planet, and his opponent, Tywan Claxton took somewhat of an exception to it. When asked about Gonzales’ comments, Claxton said he now has the opportunity to serve up a piece of humble pie to his opponent.
Outside of the trash talk, this matchup on paper is beyond fun and intriguing. Gonzales comes in undefeated in his professional career, but this is his first opportunity on the bigger stage as he makes his Bellator MMA promotional debut. Meanwhile, Claxton has spent his entire professional career with Bellator and even competed in the Featherweight World Grand Prix in 2019. An undefeated fighter with plenty of confidence taking on a Bellator veteran looking to put his opponent in his place.
Daniel Cormier’s protege looking to bounce back
Back at Bellator 249, Kyle Crutchmer suffered the first professional loss of his career, and while he’s ready to quickly move on, it’ll be interesting to see how he does. With one decision and one finish victory to his credit with Bellator, Crutchmer will face undefeated Levan Chokheli at Bellator 260. Crutchmer has been coached and trained by former UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in both wrestling and MMA. Cormier and Crutchmer have wrestled at Oklahoma State University, and to see what advice the former champion has given him as he works to bounce back from his first professional loss.
Aaron Pico looking to extend his winning streak
After dropping two fights early in his career, Pico has bounced back impressively, compiling three straight wins, and he’ll look to extend that winning streak on Friday. Taking on a tough and game opponent in Aiden Lee, this fight is certainly more circled to see if his growth will continue. Pico always has eyes on him whenever he steps into the cage, and racking up four straight wins would put the entire division on notice.
The return of the 175-pound champion
It wasn’t that long ago in which Paul Daley was considering retirement following multiple fights being canceled and bad weight cuts. Daley has since walked back that retirement talk and is now focused on holding down the crown he created at 175 pounds. No longer competing at welterweight, and only taking fights at 175 pounds, Daley said this week that as long as he keeps winning, he will continue fighting.
That will be a tough task as Daley faces Jason Jackson who fights out of Sanford MMA. Jackson has reeled off four straight wins and could make a big statement with a highlight finish of one of the most violent fighters in the welterweight divison. Ranked third in the division, even with this fight being a catchweight, Jackson could make a statement for a title shot in the near future with a win.
An undefeated challenge for the champion
With all due respect to the challenger, this will be a tougher test for him than it should be for the champion, but that’s why they fight. Having a 25-0 record definitely gives Amosov the respect he deserves heading into this fight, but the question will be can he step up to the biggest opponent of his career? Lima has had several high-profile and championship fights in his career, and after he dropped his last fight to Gegard Mousasi in a middleweight title fight, he’s looking to come back down and defend his throne at welterweight.
The Bellator 260 prelims take place at 6pm EST on the Bellator YouTube channel, while the main card will be live on SHOWTIME starting at 9pm EST.