Milestone Bellator 200 lineup finalized; Mirko Cro Cop vs. Roy Nelson headlines

The milestone Bellator 200 card is all revved up and ready to go.

Officials today announced the finalized lineup for the event, which takes place May 25 at SSE Arena in London with a main card that airs via same-day tape delay on Paramount. And it’ll be a battle of big men getting top billing over a title fight.

The headliner features heavyweights Roy Nelson (23-15 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) and Mirko Cro Cop (36-11-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) doing battle. In the co-main event, middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho (15-1 MMA, 6-0 BMMA) puts his title on the line against Gegard Mousasi (43-6-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA).

Cro Cop, 43, comes to Bellator on an impressive eight-fight winning streak. While he fought just once in 2017, a New Year’s Eve TKO win over Japanese veteran Tsuyoshi Kohsaka at Rizin FF 9, Cro Cop went 4-0 in 2016, including three victories in a three-day stretch to claim Rizin’s openweight grand prix title. Meanwhile, Nelson, 41, was recently bumped from Bellator’s current heavyweight grand prix with a decision loss to Matt Mitrione at Bellator 194.

Nelson and Cro Cop have engaged in some heated trash talk over the Croatian’s checkered history with performance enhancing drugs. Cro Cop has passed one drug test already ahead of the matchup.

Carvalho currently is Bellator’s longest-reigning titleholder. He is on a 15-fight winning streak and hasn’t lost since his pro debut in Brazil in late 2011. After a decision win over Joe Schilling, he won the vacant middleweight title in October 2015. Since then, Carvalho has defended the belt with a split-decision win over Melvin Manhoef in May 2016, a head-kick knockout win in their rematch in April 2017 and in December, a 44-second KO of Alessio Sakara.

Mousasi, a former Strikeforce champion, came to Bellator this past fall and topped former champ Alexander Shlemenko with a unanimous decision for his sixth straight victories, including his final five in the UFC before moving over as a free agent. When he left the UFC, he had four straight knockout wins over Thiago Santos, Vitor Belfort, Uriah Hall, and Chris Weidman.

Bellator 200 also features the anticipated return of London’s own Michael Page (12-0 MMA, 9-0 BMMA) against David Rickels (19-4 MMA, 13-4 BMMA). The undefeated Page, who won a boxing match last October, hasn’t fought in MMA since Nov. 2016, when he beat Fernando Gonzalez by split decision to break a streak of four straight wins by finish.  It was only the second decision win of his career after stoppages in 10 of his first 11 fights.

Rickels has won three straight fights over the past two years.

The complete Bellator 200 lineup is as follows:

MAIN CARD (Paramount, 9 p.m. ET)

  • Mirko Cro Cop vs. Roy Nelson
  • Champ Rafael Carvalho vs. Gegard Mousasi – for middleweight title
  • Michael Page vs. David Rickels
  • Aaron Chalmers vs. Ash Griffiths – 163-pound catchweight
  • Phil Davis vs. Linton Vassell

PRELIMINARY CARD

  • Kate Jackson  vs. Anastasia Yankova
  •  Vladimir Filipovic vs. Anatoly Tokov
  • Pedro Carvalho vs. Daniel Crawford
  • Martyn Harris vs. Ryan Scope
  • Carl Noon vs. Mike Shipman
  • Louis King vs. Charlie Ward
  • Jeremy Petley vs. Saul Rogers
  • Kevin Fryer vs. Costello Van Steenis
  • Tom Green vs. Charlie Leary

For more on Bellator 200, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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