HomeSportsCorey Anderson Wins Vacant Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship

Corey Anderson Wins Vacant Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship

A new era of MMA kicked off today in Belfast, Northern Ireland with Bellator Champions Series, a card that saw a new champion crowned and the most decorated champion in promotional history, retain his title.

In the main event, Corey Anderson (18-6) took home the vacant Bellator Light Heavyweight World Championship in front of a supportive hometown crowd for Belfast’s Karl Moore (12-3), utilizing his superior wrestling and top control to earn a unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 50-45). With the win, “Overtime” became the eighth 205-pound champion in Bellator history. After the bout, Anderson set his sights on improving, “Overtime isn’t satisfied, we have more work to do, and more names to beat.”

The greatest Bellator athlete of all-time, Patricio Pitbull (36-7) emphatically finished Jeremy Kennedy (19-4) with strikes at 4:07 in the third round of their Featherweight World Championship bout, earning his 24th win under the Bellator banner, a promotional record. Following the bout, Pitbull made it clear that “I’m not done yet, Aaron Pico, you’re next,” potentially setting the stage for a highly anticipated bout between the strikers in the future.

Bellator Middleweight Champion Johnny Eblen has a new No. 1 contender following a unanimous decision (29-28 x3) victory for Fabian Edwards (13-3) over Aaron Jeffery (14-5). After the bout the 30-year-old Birmingham, England native had two words for the current 185-pound champion “I’m coming,” setting up the rematch for some time later this year.

In a grudge match nearly two years in the making, Leandro Higo (23-6) took home a unanimous decision victory (29-28 x3) over James Gallagher (12-3) after a back-and-forth brawl. Both fighters found success on the feet, with Higo scoring multiple spinning back fists and Gallagher’s jab breaking through Higo’s guard. Ultimately, Higo’s relentless wrestling and ground and pound separated him enough in the deciding final round to get the nod from the judges.

Kicking off the action for the main card, the undefeated Manoel Sousa (11-0) clashed with the always-exciting Tim Wilde (17-5-1) in a Lightweight bout. Originally struggling to find his range early due to Wilde’s fluid footwork, Brazil’s Sousa eventually found his target at 4:48 in the first round, resulting in a highlight reel knockout finish, the seventh of his career.

Next up for Bellator Champions Series, is May 17 at the Accor Arena in Paris, where in the main event, Usman Nurmagomedov (17-0, 1 NC) will attempt to remain undefeated and retain his Lightweight title when he locks horns with Alexander Shabliy (23-3), a man who has not been beaten in eight years. The co-headliner features Bellator Bantamweight Champion Patchy Mix (19-1) returning to action against Magomed Magomedov (16-1). Mix and Magomedov renew a rivalry that began in 2022 at the Bellator Bantamweight World Grand Prix Semi Finals, a tournament Mix went on to win.

In addition, the main event for Bellator Champions Series Dublin on Saturday, June 22 was announced earlier today and will be headlined by Welterweight World Champion Jason Jackson (18-4) facing undefeated Ramazan Kuramagomedov (12-0) at the 3Arena in Dublin.

The complete 2024 Bellator Champions Series schedule is as follows:

  • Friday, May 17 – Bellator Champions Series Paris – Accor Arena
  • Saturday, June 22 – Bellator Champions Series Dublin – 3Arena
  • Saturday, September 7 – Bellator Champions Series San Diego – Pechanga Arena
  • Saturday, September 14 – Bellator Champions Series London – OVO Wembley
  • Saturday, October 12 – Bellator Champions Series Chicago – Wintrust Arena
  • Saturday, November 16 – Bellator Champions Series Paris – ADIDAS Arena
  • Tuesday, December 31 – Bellator Champions Series – TBD

Preliminary Card Results:

Ciaran Clarke (9-0) defeated Darius Mafi (4-2) via submission (arm-triangle choke) at 0:41 of round three
Alfie Davis (17-4-1) defeated Oscar Ownsworth (8-3-1) via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Luke Trainer (8-1) defeated Grant Neal (9-2) via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Nathan Kelly (10-2) defeated Vikas Singh Ruhil (12-8) via KO (elbow) at :40 of round one
Abraham Bably defeated (4-0) Isaiah Pinson (3-1) via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Nate Kelly (3-2 AM.) defeated Jordan Elliott (2-4 AM.) via submission (armbar) at 1:48 of round one


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