Bobby Lashley Seeking Clarity in Murky Bellator Heavyweight Title Picture

By Tristen Critchfield Nov 3, 2015
Bobby Lashley will carry a six-fight winning streak into Bellator 145. | Dave Mandel/

If Bobby Lashley defeats James Thompson at Bellator 145 on Friday night, he will gain a measure of redemption for a contentious decision defeat suffered at the hands of “The Colossus” at Super Fight League 3 in May 2012.

What Lashley might not get is any type of clarity regarding his standing in the promotion’s heavyweight title scene. That’s because its reigning champion, Vitaly Minakov, hasn’t competed in Bellator MMA since dispatching Cheick Kongo on April 4, 2014. The 30-year-old Russian hasn’t been entirely on hiatus, however, as he has posted a pair of victories under the Eurasia Fight Nights banner thus far in 2015.

Still, there seems to be no word on when Minakov will return to defend his crown. Until there is, Lashley can’t be completely certain of his place in the heavyweight hierarchy.

“Everybody is trying to figure out what is going out with the champ right now. He hasn’t fought in the States in a long time,” Lashley told “We’re trying to figure out if he’s gonna fight, and if he’s gonna fight, then who gets that [title shot]. If he comes back and he’s ready to fight, it may be a couple fights. If he’s not gonna fight at all, then they’ve got to figure out who’s gonna fight for the title.”

Things didn’t get any clearer when Lashley attempted to seek answers from Bellator brass regarding Minakov’s status.

“I talked to them one time before and they say they don’t know,” he said. “I’m sure there’s something going on. I’m sure [Bellator President Scott Coker] will let us know once things are worked out.”

Of course, none of that speculation matters if Lashley is unable to avenge his loss to Thompson. “The Dominator” has won six straight fights -- three in Bellator -- since that setback, and believes he is primed to show Thompson that the result of their first meeting was little more than a fluke. In fact, Lashley says that Thompson might already know what awaits him at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

“I think if nothing else, he’s worried because of that first fight. He knows the situation from that first fight. First of all, I know that he doesn’t believe he won that fight. Second, I just took that fight on a whim and jumped in there. I wasn’t training; I wasn’t doing anything. He even got me at my worst and he knew that he still didn’t win,” Lashley said.

“Now I’m going through a full training camp, and I’m going out there a whole different person. He was at his best; I was at my worst.”


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