SOURCE: Bellator PR Team]
GEGARD MOUSASI CHALLENGES RAFAEL CARVALHO FOR MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLE AND BRITAIN’S MICHAEL ‘VENOM’ PAGE RETURNS AGAINST DAVID ‘CAVEMAN’ RICKELS
LOS ANGELES – Bellator is pleased to announce its anticipated return to London for Bellator 200 on Friday, May 25. The landmark event will emanate from The SSE Arena, Wembley and will air on Paramount Network.
The first two fights, of what promises to be one of the most exciting events in company history, features middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho (15-1) defending his crown against Gegard Mousasi (43-6-2) and the return of London’s own Michael “Venom” Page (12-0), who takes on David “The Caveman” Rickels (19-4, 2 NC). Additional main card bouts will be announced shortly.
Tickets for the event will be available to the general public on Friday, March 2 at The SSE Arena, Wembley Box Office (0844 815 0815), Ticketmaster.com, ssearena.co.uk and axs.com. A special SSE pre-sale will take place Wednesday, February 28, while all other pre-sales, including Bellator Nation, will begin Thursday, March 1.
“Bellator continues to place a huge emphasis on its expansion into markets around the globe and creating a strong presence in the U.K. is a very important part of that,” Bellator President Scott Coker said. “Our fans are going to be excited about the card we put together for this monumental event, as Bellator 200 will be one of our greatest to date.”
Quietly flying under the radar as Bellator’s current longest-reigning champion, Rafael Carvalho receives his toughest challenge to date when he meets Mousasi in London. A product of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Carvalho joined the Bellator roster in 2014, garnering the attention of fans who tuned into Bellator 125 by emphatically finishing Brian Rogers in the first round. The run hasn’t stopped there, as the 31-year-old has gone onto defeat Joe Schilling, Alessio Sakara, Melvin Manhoef (2x) and Brandon Halsey, tying the record for most title defenses in the division’s history in the process.
Gegard Mousasi impressed in his promotional debut over former Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko, a win that pushed his current unbeaten streak to six fights. “The Dreamcatcher,” who currently trains out of The Netherlands, holds one of the most impressive resumes in all of the sport, at one time winning the STRIKEFORCE light heavyweight title, as well as the DREAM light heavyweight and middleweight titles. With victories against some of the sport’s best, including Chris Weidman, Vitor Belfort, Uriah Hall, Dan Henderson, “Jacare” Souza, Mark Hunt and Ovince Saint-Preux, the Judo black belt will now set his sights on Bellator gold when he enters the cage on May 25.
There are few fighters who in such a short span of time have provided the type of highlight-reel entertainment that Michael Page has. Now, “MVP” returns to the Bellator cage for the first time since 2016, a year that saw Page go viral for his perfectly-timed flying knee finish against 40-fight-veteran “Cyborg” Santos and the well-orchestrated celebration that included the toss of a Pokéball. 2017 saw Page successfully enter the realm of boxing, where he won his debut via TKO. At Bellator 200, the London native will make his ninth appearance for Bellator, going unbeaten and finishing his opponent in the opening frame on five occasions.
David Rickels has competed under the Bellator banner more times than anyone in promotional history with 19 and will extend the record when he returns to 170-pounds for the first time since the Bellator Season Six Welterweight Tournament in 2012. The fighting pride of Derby, Kansas is coming off a unanimous decision victory against Adam Piccolotti this past December, improving his current winning streak to two. Never one to shy away from a scrap, this matchup should produce fireworks when “The Caveman’s” style clashes with the unorthodox swagger of “MVP.”