Top Reasons to Catch Bellator Champions Series 2

Firmly established as the top bantamweight mixed martial artist operating outside the auspices of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Patrick Mix finds a familiar face standing in his way.

“Patchy” will defend his undisputed Bellator MMA bantamweight crown against Magomed Magomedov when their rematch headlines Bellator Champions Series 2 on Friday at Accor Arena in Paris. Mix, 30, enters the cage with the wind of a six-fight winning streak in his sails. The Xtreme Couture export last fought at Bellator 301, where he put away Sergio Pettis with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their Nov. 17 pairing. One of the sport’s most venomous grapplers, Mix has secured 13 of his 19 career victories by submission. His list of victims includes Magomedov—a man he put to sleep with a second-round guillotine in their first encounter at Bellator 289 in December 2022. Magomedov, meanwhile, has rattled off seven wins in nine appearances. He last suited up on July 29, when he took care of Danny Sabatello with a first-round guillotine choke at an event co-promoted by Bellator and the Rizin Fighting Federation. Magomedov held the Absolute Championship Berkut bantamweight title from March 26, 2016 to April 15, 2017.

In addition to the Mix-Magomedov showdown, here are four other reasons to catch Bellator Champions Series 2:

1. Star Gazing

Cedric Doumbe still has plenty of star power, especially in his homeland. The decorated French kickboxer looks to rebound from his first-ever MMA defeat when he locks horns with Jaleel Willis in the three-round welterweight co-feature. Doumbe, 31, stopped his first five opponents with punches before a toe injury derailed the two-time Glory champion in an anticlimactic defeat to Baissangour Chamsoudinov under the Professional Fighters League banner on March 7. On the other side of the equation, Willis fills in as a short-notice replacement for the injured Derek Anderson. The former Legacy Fighting Alliance titleholder has already made waves with his pre-fight trash talk, drawing the admiration and attention of one Chael Sonnen. Willis, however, steps into the spotlight in a bit of a tailspin, with losses in three of his past four outings.

2. Elimination Chamber

Reigning middleweight champion Johnny Eblen should know the identity of his next would-be suitor in a matter of days. Gregory Babene and Costello van Steenis are set to square off in a three-round title eliminator at 185 pounds, with the winner moving on to meet the undefeated Eblen in the months ahead. Babene, 40, waltzes into the middleweight showcase on a run of eight straight victories—a period of sustained success that now spans more than a decade. The Atch Academy product last fought at Bellator 299, where he needed just 63 seconds to improve to 23-11 by disposing of Charlie Ward with a first-round guillotine choke. Van Steenis, meanwhile, has won eight of his past 10 bouts. The 31-year-old Dutchman has not strapped on the gloves since he wound up on the wrong side of a unanimous decision against Douglas Lima at Bellator 296 in May 2023.

3. Person of Interest

Archie Colgan could soon emerge as one of the movers and shakers at 155 pounds for Bellator and the PFL. An accomplished amateur wrestler at the University of Wyoming, the 28-year-old prospect carries a pristine 8-0 record into his lightweight showcase opposite Jackson-Wink MMA veteran Thibault Gouti. Colgan has won all six of his fights in Bellator, including a unanimous decision over two-time featherweight title challenger Emmanuel Sanchez in June. Pieter Buist, Justin Montalvo, Jesse Hannam, Bryan Nuro and Sidney Ben Simmons account for his other victories within the organization. On the other side of the ledger, Gouti has nailed down five wins across his past six outings. The 37-year-old Frenchman has not fought since he punched out Kane Mousah in the second round of their Bellator 296 match more than a year ago.

4. Reasonable Doubt

Healthy skepticism remains in regards to Slim Trabelsi. The unbeaten Tunisian attempts to build upon his perfect 6-0 record when he toes the line against Louie Sutherland in a three-round heavyweight prelim. A former Ares Fighting Championship titleholder who operates out of the famed American Kickboxing Academy camp in San Jose, California, Trabelsi made a successful promotional debut at Bellator 300, where he was awarded a first-round technical knockout against Davion Franklin after the American suffered a knee injury while being taken down on Oct. 7. Sutherland, meanwhile, has alternated wins and losses in each of his past four assignments. The 30-year-old Great Britain Top Team product last competed at a Fight Star Championship show in November, when he knocked out Luis Carlos Brito a little more than four minutes into their confrontation. Sutherland has yet to be finished in his eight-fight career.

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