The Bellator heavyweight grand prix final is set for Jan. 26, when either Ryan Bader of Fedor Emelianenko will be crowned the promotion’s new heavyweight champion.
For our latest Daily Debate for MMAjunkie Radio listeners and MMAjunkie Readers, we’re looking past that. We wanted to know who you thought would be first in line to challenge the Bader-Emelianenko for the title, and we gave you three options. They are:
- Sergei Kharitonov (28-6 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) – The 38-year-old Russian hasn’t lost since November 2016, a streak that includes five wins and one no-contest for an accidental eye poke, and he just knocked out Roy Nelson at Bellator 207 this past weekend, which is no easy task. Kharitonov became just the third person to finish Nelson, but by doing so inside the first round, he is the quickest. Hard to deny him.
- Cheick Kongo (29-10-2 MMA, 11-2 BMMA) – The 43-year-old Frenchman is on a seven-fight winning streak, and it includes a win over former champion and current UFC fighter Alexander Volkov. But it’s Kongo’s two most recent bouts that solidify his case, knocking out Javy Ayala and Timothy Johnson this year at Bellator 199 and Bellator 208, respectively.
- Vitaly Minakov (21-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) – The 33-year-old Russian, the last man hold Bellator’s heavyweight title, is back with the promotion after being stripped. He’s undefeated and never lost the belt. Should he automatically get the first shot on that basis alone?
So those were the options, and here are the results (via Twitter):
To hear the MMAjunkie Radio crew weigh in on the topic, watch the video above.
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- USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA rankings, Oct. 16: Ryan Bader moves up on pound-for-pound list
- Jennifer Chieng channels Olympic experience to stave off pressure of Bellator 208 debut win
- Daily Debate results: Whose Bellator performance was more impressive, Fedor or Bader?
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Daily Debate results: Who deserves Bellator title shot vs. Bader-Fedor winner?