Bellator MMA is going all-in for its head-to-head showdown with the Ultimate Fighting Championship on Sept. 5.
The promotion revealed the entirety of the Bellator 123 main card on Wednesday, which will be headlined by a featherweight title tilt between Pat Curran and Patricio Freire. In addition, UFC veterans Cheick Kongo and Lavar Johnson square off in a heavyweight clash, while 205-pound contender Muhammed Lawal collides with Tom DeBlass. Rounding out the main card will be Total Nonstop Action Wrestling champion Bobby Lashley, who battles Josh Burns in another heavyweight affair.
Bellator 123 takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., and will mark the second event under new president Scott Coker, who recently replaced former company head Bjorn Rebney. That same night, UFC Fight Night “Mousasi vs. Jacare” will go down at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Conn. The Las Vegas-based promotion’s lineup includes a middleweight clash between Gegard Mousasi and Ronaldo Souza as well as a heavyweight scrap pitting Alistair Overeem against Ben Rothwell.
The Bellator 123 main card will air on Spike TV, while the UFC offering will appear on Fox Sports 1.
Curran recently recaptured Bellator’s 145-pound strap, submitting Daniel Straus with 14 seconds remaining in their Bellator 112 showdown in March. Freire, meanwhile, carries a four-fight winning streak into his rematch with Curran, besting Jared Downing, Diego Nunes, Fabricio de Assis Costa da Silva and Justin Wilcox during that time.
A longtime UFC talent, Kongo came up short in his bid for Bellator gold, dropping a five-round verdict to Vitaly Minakov in April. He has since rebounded, stopping Eric Smith via second-round TKO at the promotion’s pay-per-view event on May 17. The heavy-handed Johnson is 1-2 in the Bellator cage, beating Ryan Martinez while falling to Vinicius Kappke de Quieroz and Blagoi Ivanov.
Lawal is coming off a controversial decision loss to Quinton Jackson at Bellator 120. Despite being heavily promoted, “King Mo” has had mixed results with Bellator, posting a 4-3 mark overall. DeBlass, who temporarily retired following a loss to Riki Fukuda at UFC on Fuel TV 6, has won two straight fights under the Bellator banner.
Lashley, who is currently the TNA heavyweight champion, is 10-2 as a professional mixed martial artist. He last competed in November, taking a five-round verdict against Tony Melton at Xtreme Fight Night 15. Burns is 8-7 overall but has yet to capture a victory in four Bellator appearances.