Bellator will celebrate a major milestone on Saturday, October 7 when Bellator 300 takes place in San Diego, California.
The promotion’s matchmakers have stacked the deck for the event, which will take place at the Pechanga Arena, with four championship fights scheduled in the biggest championship lineup in the promotion’s history.
Headlining the show is a battle for the Bellator heavyweight title, as reigning champion Ryan Bader faces off against English contender Linton Vassell. Bader has enjoyed a career renaissance since joining the Bellator roster back in 2017. Since then, “Darth” has competed at both light heavyweight and heavyweight, and captured championships in both weight classes. But it’s been at heavyweight where Bader has had his biggest successes, with victories over Fedor Emelianenko (twice), Cheick Kongo, Valentin Moldavsky, Matt Mitrione and Muhammed Lawal.
Now Bader faces off against Vassell, the former light heavyweight contender who has foind his best form on the world stage since moving up to heavyweight. “Big Swarm” is riding a five-fight win streak, with victories over Moldavsky, Tim Johnson, Tyrell Fortune, Ronny Markes and Sergei Kharitonov putting him in pole position to challenge for the title. His two most recent wins, over Johnson and Moldavsky, both came via vicious ground and pound in the first round.
The co-main event will see the women’s featherweight title on the line as the long-awaited matchup between champ Cris Cyborg and top contender Cat Zingano finally comes to fruition.
Cyborg has been perfect inside the Bellator cage since her arrival in the promotion in 2019. Five fights, five wins, with four finishes, have cemented the Brazilian as the most dominant female athlete on the Bellator roster. Now she’ll take on Zingano, who has also gone undefeated in the Bellator cage. “Alpha” is 4-0 under the Bellator banner, with her victory over Leah McCourt at Bellator 293 leaving her clear as the number-one contender for the featherweight title.
The lightweight title will also be on the line in San Diego, with reigning 155-pound champion Usman Nurmagomedov set to face former champion Brent Primus in the semi-finals of the Bellator Lightweight World Grand Prix.
Nurmagomedov captured the lightweight title prior to the 155-pound tournament with victory over Patricky Pitbull at Bellator 288, then defended the strap against former UFC champion Benson Henderson in the quarter-finals of the Grand Prix at Bellator 292.
Now he faces Primus, who was drafted into the tournament as a replacement for Sidney Outlaw and outbattled French contender Mansour Barnaoui in Paris to punch his ticket to the semi-finals, and a title bout with the undefeated Nurmagomedov, as he looks to become a two-time Bellator lightweight champion.
The first title fight of the night will see the women’s flyweight title on the line as longtime friends Liz Carmouche and Ilima-Lei Macfarlane face off for the 125-pound crown.
Macfarlane held the flyweight title for three years between November 2017 and December 2020 as she defended the title four times to become one of Bellator’s most dominant champions. That reign came to an end against Juliana Velasquez, who was later defeated in back-to-back fights by Carmouche, who captured, then defended, the title by handing the Brazilian the only two defeats of her career.
Now, on the occasion of Bellator’s landmark 300th numbered event, Carmouche and Macfarlane will leave their friendship to one side as they battle for the belt in San Diego.
“When I first joined Bellator, we set out to sign and develop the best available talent in the world and produce events for massive audiences,” said Bellator president Scott Coker.
“Our first tentpole event was Bellator 131 in San Diego and we couldn’t be more excited to return to that very same arena for this monumental Bellator 300 event.
“We wanted to give the fans and supporters an epic night of fights and there is no better way to do that than showcasing these four incredible champions all putting their belts on the line. I’m proud of all the work we have done to grow this brand and its athletes since I came on board. I can’t wait for Bellator 300, which is going to be the biggest event in the history of Bellator MMA.”
Bellator 300: Confirmed fights
- Ryan Bader vs. Linton Vassell – for heavyweight title
- Cris Cyborg vs. Cat Zingano – for women’s featherweight title
- Usman Nurmagomedov vs. Brent Primus – for lightweight title (Grand Prix semi-final)
- Liz Carmouche vs. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane – for women’s flyweight title