Sacre bleu! Kill Cliff Fight Club fighter Ryan “Darth” Bader gets his long-awaited rematch with Cheick Kongo Friday night (May 6) in Bellator 280. And where is this heavyweight championship bout taking place? In Kongo’s home of Paris, as in France.
Can you say “la cuisine maison”? (Translation: “Home cooking”?)
When we say “long-awaited,” we mean it: The last time these two matched up was three long years ago, in September 2019. That fight was cut short when Bader (29-7) accidentally poked Kongo’s (31-11-2) left eye and shut down the fight in the first round.
The title rematch is the main event of the Showtime broadcast.
For his part, Bader—who weighed in at 232.8 pounds at the ceremonial weigh-in on Thursday— has the second-longest winning streak in the heavyweight division, with four wins and one no-decision. He’s 4-0 since moving to the division.
“I just signed a new four-fight deal with Bellator, and I’m looking to stay at heavyweight,” Bader said during the pre-event presser on Wednesday. “Obviously this is a career, so financials is a motivation, but competing and still trying to be the best and pushing myself is also there. I’m not out there, ‘OK, I’m just gonna be a mediocre guy and take these fights and make money and what not.’ If I’m gonna do it, I’m still gonna try and be the best at it, and so that’s where my mind frame is right now.”
If Kongo somehow wins against the Kill Cliff Fight Clubber at Paris’ Accor Arena, the 46-year-old will be the oldest first-time champion in big-time MMA history. How does that sound to Bader?
“I don’t think I’m gonna be at 46 years old fighting,” he said. “So for me right now, it’s all right, we’re gonna finish out this deal here and kind of see where we go from there.”
(In all honesty, you have to wonder why Bellator matchmakers set up this rematch. Kongo has been fighting as a pro since 2001; if and when Bader puts him down, Kongo should call it quits despite that multi-fight deal he signed in 2020.)
This just in: Kill Cliff Fight Club fighter Robbie Lawler’s next bout has been announced: He’ll put his 29-15 record on the line versus Bryan Barberena (17-8) at UFC 276 on July 2 at T-Mobile Arena in Vegas. It will be Lawler’s first fight since taking down Nick Diaz in UFC 266 last September.
You can see Bader take on Kongo Friday, May 6, on Showtime or wherever you get your MMA.