Not only will the Bellator 179 headliner feature one of the promotion’s most-high profile free agent signings, but it will also determine the next title challenger at 170 pounds.
During a conference call on Tuesday, Bellator MMA President Scott Coker confirmed that the winner of the clash between Rory MacDonald and Paul Daley on May 19 will become the top contender in the welterweight division.
“That’s really a [headliner] between two of the best 170-pounders in the world, and [they] will be competing for the No. 1 contender spot in Bellator in the welterweight division,” Coker said. “If you look at our division in the 170-pound weight class, it clearly is one of our strongest divisions and I think it’s probably the strongest welterweight division of any league out there.
“You look at the fight between Douglas Lima and Lorenz Larkin in New York. We have other prospects, Michael “Venom” Page, Derek Anderson. We have Paul, we have Rory. But this fight clearly will be for the No. 1 contender’s spot and will fight the winner of Douglas Lima vs. Lorenz Larkin in New York on June 24.”
As mentioned by Coker, Lima will defend his 170-pound strap against Larkin at Bellator’s pay-per-view event at Madison Square Garden. Lima took a three-round verdict over Daley in their first meeting at Bellator 158 last summer. “Semtex” rebounded to score a spectacular first-round knockout of Brennan Ward in his most recent appearance at Bellator 170 on Jan. 21.
MacDonald, meanwhile, will be fighting for the first time since dropping a five-round unanimous decision loss to Stephen Thompson at UFC Fight Night 89 in June 2016. After signing with Bellator, “Red King” has spent much of the past year recovering from a broken nose he initially suffered in a loss to Robbie Lawler at UFC 189.
Bellator 179 takes place at Wembley Arena in London and will see Page lock horns with Anderson in the co-main event. The card airs on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.