Leading mixed martial arts promotion Bellator MMA today announced the highly anticipated return of its Bellator European Series, with two shows in Milan, Italy, and a history making event in Paris – the first major MMA event to be staged in France.
The events, which will take place on consecutive Saturday nights on September 26, October 3 and October 10, will all be broadcast on free-to-air Channel 5 in primetime at 10 p.m. BST. The resumption of the Bellator European Series follows the promotion’s successful return to live action in the United States this summer.
Sandwiched between Bellator’s two European Series shows in Milan is another show in Italy’s fashion capital, taking place on Thursday, October 1, featuring Paul Daley against Derek Anderson, which marks the promotion’s first event to be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network in the U.S.
The events on Saturday, September 26 and Saturday, October 3, in Milan at Allianz Cloud will be held without fans in attendance.However, Bellator Paris on Saturday, October 10 at Accor Arena will allow a limited number of fans in attendance. Tickets are available now at accorarena.com and bellator.fr.
Headlining at Milan’s Allianz Cloud Arena on September 26 is a mouthwatering middleweight meeting between Fabian “The Assassin” Edwards (9-0) and Costello “The Spaniard” van Steenis (12-2). The 185-lb. main event pits two of Bellator’s most formidable middleweights against one another, with Edwards, of Birmingham, England, defending a 100% professional record of nine wins from nine fights. His opponent, van Steenis, of the Netherlands, boasts a similarly impressive winning record, unbeaten in four fights under the Bellator banner until his most recent fight against top contender John Salter in 2019.
Elsewhere on the card on September 26 is an Anglo-Irish middleweight clash between Dublin’s Will “F’n” Fleury (7-3) and Wiltshire’s Kent “The Hammerhorn” Kauppinen (12-5) and another middleweight contest between Italy’s very own Pietro “King Kong” Penini (9-1-1, 1NC) and London’s Mike “Sea Bass” Shipman (13-3).
Bellator Milan: Edwards vs. van Steenis airs live on Channel 5 on Saturday, September 26 at 10 p.m. BST. Preliminary action will stream on Bellator MMA’s YouTube channel. Additional bouts will be announced at a later date.
Taking the center stage in the same arena the following week on October 3 is a long-awaited bantamweight battle between James “The Strabanimal” Gallagher (10-1) and Cal “Pacino” Ellenor (8-2). This rearranged 135-lb. clash was originally due to take place in Dublin – and later London, prior to the Covid-19 shutdown – but will now serve as an electric main event in Milan.
With 10 wins from 11 professional bouts, SBG Ireland’s Gallagher has experienced a rapid rise within the Bellator ranks and has honed his reputation as a live-wire, trash-talking mixed martial artist. He is now set to face longtime rival Ellenor, of Sunderland, England. Ellenor is a relative newcomer to the Bellator scene and has not fought since his winning debut in Newcastle in February 2019 that saw him earn a first-round submission of Nathan Greyson. Fans can expect fireworks when these two finally meet inside the Bellator cage.
Gallagher will be preceded at the Allianz Cloud by “Relentless” Charlie Ward (8-4) hoping to bring his knockout power against Estonian middleweight veteran Andy “Predator” Manzolo (22-7) in a middleweight contest.
Bellator Milan: Gallagher vs. Ellenor airs live on Channel 5 on Saturday, October 3 at 10 p.m. BST. Preliminary action will stream on Bellator MMA’s YouTube channel. Additional bouts will be announced at a later date.
Bellator’s European Series’ three-part return will culminate in an historic night for MMA at the Accor Arena in Paris, as Bellator becomes the first major MMA promotion to stage an event in France. It is only fitting that a Frenchman takes top billing at the event and that honour goes to Cheick Kongo (30-10-2, 1NC), an MMA veteran of more than 40 professional bouts, who faces USA’s Tim Johnson (14-6) in a heavyweight bout which packs serious knockout power.
Kongo’s record reads like a who’s who of heavyweight MMA, with the likes of Mark Hunt, Frank Mir, Cain Velasquez and Roy Nelson amongst his past opponents. Johnson counts as one of those, having faced Kongo in his Bellator debut in October 2018, finding himself on the wrong end of a first-round knockout. Johnson has since added two first-round KO victories of his own and will be aiming to extend his recent strong form, and reverse his fortunes against Kongo, by spoiling his French opponent’s Parisian party.
Also involved in the landmark event in France is Michael “Venom” Page (17-1), better known to fans as “MVP,” who returns with the intention of spoiling the Bellator debut of undefeated former Cage Warriors champion, Ross Houston (8-0, 1 NC).
Holding a career record of 17-1, with 14 wins coming by way of stoppage, the pride of London Shootfighters, Page, looks to remind people why he is one of the most exciting strikers in all of MMA. In addition to his MMA accolades, he is a 10-time kickboxing world champion and also undefeated as a professional boxer. After signing with Bellator in February, Scotland’s Ross Houston will make his promotional debut against one of Bellator’s biggest stars. “The Hitman” plans on keeping his undefeated record intact and moving one step closer to Bellator gold in the toughest test of his career to date. With three submission victories to his name, Houston’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills make him a viable threat if the fight goes to the ground against one of Bellator’s most feared strikers.
Bellator Paris: Kongo vs. Johnson airs live on Channel 5 on Saturday, October 10 at 10 p.m. BST. Preliminary action will stream on Bellator MMA’s YouTube channel. Additional bouts will be announced at a later date.
All three events will stream LIVE on Bellator MMA’s YouTube channel in the U.S.
As previously mentioned, events initially scheduled for Dublin, Ireland on October 3, Milan, Italy on October 10 and Tel Aviv, Israel in November have been canceled and/or postponed due to the ongoing safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as government protocols and mandates. The organization will continue to monitor the situation closely and fully intends to return to all of these markets as soon as possible.
As always, the health and safety of our athletes, fans, partners and staff remains our top priority. We appreciate the understanding and patience of everyone involved during this incredibly difficult time. If applicable, refunds for ticketholders to these event will be available at the original point of purchase.
*Fight cards subject to change.