After he won the heavyweight tournament at Bellator 97, the Russian heavyweight took on fellow countryman and then-champion “Drago” Volkov for the title at Bellator 108. It took the 6-foot-2 big man a mere two minutes and 57 seconds into Round 1 to finish the his 6-foot-7 foe.
In his next outing, Minakov (21-1 MMA, 5-1 BMMA) successfully defended his title for the lone time in his Bellator tenure, when he defeated UFC veteran Cheick Kongo via unanimous decision. The April 2014 bout would be Minakov’s last in the promotion until February 2019, when he returned to rematch the Frenchman. This time they competed in a three-round affair instead of five, which Kongo edged out on the judges’ scorecards.
Minakov will look to rebound from the lone loss of his 22-fight career when he returns to action Aug. 24 in the co-main event of Bellator 225, taking on Javy Ayala.
Ayala (11-7 MMA, 6-4 BMMA), 30, has had an up-and-down Bellator career, including victories in three out his past five outings. Most recently, Ayala defeated Frank Mir via second-round TKO at Bellator 212 in December.
Bellator 225 takes place at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. The main card will air on Paramount Network after prelims stream on MMA Junkie.
Relive Minakov’s Bellator 108 finish of Volkov by watching the video above.
The current Bellator 225 lineup includes:
- Matt Mitrione vs. Sergei Kharitonov
- Vitaly Minakov vs. Javy Ayala
- Azunna Anyanwu vs. Timothy Johnson
- Tyrell Fortune vs. Rudy Schaffroth
- David Rickels vs. Yaroslav Amosov
- Alejandra Lara vs. Taylor Turner
- Austin Vanderford vs. Douglas Usher
- Nick Newell vs. Corey Browning
- Sabah Homasi vs. Micah Terrill
- Kastriot Xhema vs. Rodolfo Rocha
- Grant Neal vs. Alpha Toure
- Mike Kimbel vs. Chris Disonell
- Ricky Bandejas vs. Ahmet Kayretli
- Khonry Gracie vs. Oscar Vera
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Bellator 225 free fight: watch Vitaly Minakov swarm Alexander Volkov to win heavyweight title