The Bellator cage heads to the Windy City this Friday night with a 16-fight card ready to rock the Wintrust Arena in Chicago.
Bellator 301’s main card features five fights, each with a compelling narative, as the promotion stacks the deck for their latest big show.
Headlining the event is reigning welterweight champion Yaroslav Amosov. The undefeated Ukrainian has picked up where he left off after returning to the sport following a hiatus to return home to defend his country from invading Russian troops.
His comeback saw him produce a virtuoso performance to defeat interim champion Logan Storley, and Amosov heads to Chicago looking to extend his perfect professional record to 28-0.
Standing in his way is in-form welterweight contender Jason Jackson. The Florida-based “Ass-Kicking Machine” is riding a six-fight win streak, and has won nine of his last 10 bouts in a run of form that stretches back to the summer of 2018.
The Kill Cliff FC athlete has certainly earned his opportunity, with his recent victories coming against former champions Benson Henderson and Douglas Lima, plus Brazilian contender Neiman Gracie, and UK MMA legend Paul Daley.
The Amosov-Jackson bout tops a main card that looks sure to deliver plenty of action. The co-main event will see the bantamweight title on the line, as defending champ Sergio Pettis faces off against the bantamweight grand prix champion and current interim champ Patchy Mix in a mouthwatering clash at 135 pounds.
Since moving to Bellator and making the jump from flyweight to bantamweight, Pettis has been perfect inside the cage. He defeated Juan Archuleta to capture the 135-pound title at Bellator 258 in May 2021, then scored one of the knockouts of the year with a stunning spinning backfist KO of Kyoji Horiguchi in his first title defense.
Since then, Pettis has underlined his class by outpointing Bellator’s pound-for-pound star and former two-division champion Patricio Pitbull at Bellator 297 to leave no doubt over his status as the promotion’s premier 135 pounder.
But that status comes under threat from arguably the toughest opponent of his Bellator career. Mix heads into the bout having won five in a row, with four of them coming inside the distance. The submission ace, who has tapout finishes of the likes of Albert Morales, James Gallagher and Magomed Magomedov, then showcased his knockout ability with an 80-second KO of interim champ Raufeon Stots at Bellator 295 in April.
The matchup is one of the highest-caliber bouts Bellator could book in 2023, and the action will be fast and technical as both men look to walk away from Chicago as the undisputed king at 135 pounds.
Also set for main card action are rival bantamweight contenders Raufeon Stots and Danny Sabatello. Former interim champ Stots retained his title with a split-decision win over Sabatello, who was less than impressed with the outcome of the judges’ scorecards.
Now the pair, who trash-talked back and forth before, during and after their first meeting, will resume their hostilities in an eagerly-anticipated rematch, with a likely shot at the Pettis-Mix winner sometime in 2024.
The event also marks the return to action of former featherweight champion AJ McKee. The American moved up to lightweight after losing his title to Patricio Pitbull at Bellator 277, and has gone 2-0 in the Bellator 155-pound division, thanks to unanimous decision victories over Spike Carlyle and Rizin lightweight champion Roberto de Souza.
Now McKee takes on lightweight contender Sidney Outlaw, who will be looking to make an impact on his return to action following an anti-doping suspension. Outlaw bounced back with a unanimous decision victory over Islam Mamedov, but did so after missing weight by 2.3 pounds for the matchup. He’ll be looking to make weight, then make a statement, by defeating a former champion in McKee in Chicago.
The main card will kick off with former lightweight champion Patricky Pitbull facing off against Alexander Shabliy in the semi-finals of the Bellator Lightweight World Grand Prix.
Pitbull lost his title on the scorecards against Usman Nurmagomedov, but rebounded in style with a third-round TKO stoppage of Rizin champion Roberto de Souza at Bellator vs. Rizin 2 in July.
Now he faces Russian contender Shabliy, who has won eight in a row, and is perfect at 4-0 under the Bellator banner. His last two bouts saw him turn up the power as he stopped former champion Brent Primus, and former Rizin Grand Prix champion Tofiq Musayev with strikes to progress to the semi-finals of the tourament. Victory over Pitbull will propel him into the final, a shot at the 155-pound title, and the chance to walk away with a cool $1 million.
Bellator 301: Official fight card
- Yaroslav Amosov vs. Jason Jackson – for welterweight title
- Sergio Pettis vs. Patchy Mix – for bantamweight title
- Raufeon Stots vs. Danny Sabatello
- AJ McKee vs. Sidney Outlaw
- Patricky Pitbull vs. Alexander Shabliy – lightweight grand prix semi-final
- Tyrell Fortune vs. Marcelo Golm
- Denise Kielholtz vs. Sumiko Inaba
- Timur Khizriev vs. Justin Gonzales
- Archie Colgan vs. Pieter Buist
- Keri Taylor-Melendez vs. Sabriye Sengul
- Matheus Mattos vs. Richard Palencia
- Mike Hamel vs. Tim Wilde
- Islam Mamedov vs. Killys Mota
- Cody Law vs. Jefferson Pontes
- Ramazan Kuramagomedov vs. Randall Wallace
- Yves Landu vs. Isao Kobayashi