Chandler-Henderson 2 to Headline Bellator 243; Mitrione-Johnson, Millender-Homasi Added

By Jay Pettry Jul 23, 2020

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Bellator MMA has added some important fights to its next offering on Aug. 7.

Bellator 243 was originally announced by Combate as taking place on Aug. 7. Like Bellator 242 on Friday, Bellator 243 will be held at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. It will be headlined by a rematch between former Bellator lightweight king Michael Chandler (20-5) and ex-Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight champ Benson Henderson (28-8).

Chandler, the company’s only former three-time champion, surrendered his belt in May 2019 to Patricio Freire by first-round knockout. Chandler rebounded from that resounding defeat with a quick finish of Sidney Outlaw at the co-promoted Bellator and Rizin Fighting Federation event in December, Bellator 237. “Iron Mike” holds the second-most wins in promotional history with 17, trailing only Freire (18). He maintains the record for the most finishes in Bellator history with 12.

Since a pair of split decision losses to Chandler and Patricky Freire, Henderson has rattled off four consecutive victories. Most recently, he topped Myles Jury in September 2019, and this four-fight win streak is his longest since he held the UFC lightweight throne in 2012-2013. Despite a reputation for frequently going the distance, “Smooth” sports an even finish rate of 50 percent, while recording stoppages in Bellator over Patricio Freire and Roger Huerta.

In addition to the headliner, a pair of key matchups have been added to the card. First, as initially reported by MMA Fighting, Curtis Millender (18-5) will take on Sabah Homasi (13-8) in the welterweight division. Later on Thursday, MMA Junkie was first to report that Bellator 243 will be co-headlined by a heavyweight rumble between Matt Mitrione (13-7, 1 NC) and Timothy Johnson (13-6). Sources have confirmed to Sherdog.com the placement of these three bouts on the card.

Millender made his successful return to the organization in January when he took a one-sided decision over Moses Murrieta. The five-fight UFC vet saw his time with the Las Vegas-based promotion come to an end on the heels of two losses to Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Belal Muhammad. Facing Millender will be a fellow former UFC fighter in Homasi, who throughout his career has shone an affinity towards the knockout, win or lose. A trio of knockout losses expelled him from the UFC, and two wins including a 17-second bludgeoning of Micah Terrill in his Bellator return have righted the ship of “The Sleek Sheik” of late.

Mitrione has gone through a bit of a rough patch in his last three, losing two with a no contest due to a groin strike splitting those losses. Before getting beaten by Ryan Bader in the heavyweight Grand Prix, Mitrione racked up four straight wins over the likes of Fedor Emelianenko and Roy Nelson. His opponent Johnson reversed his fortune with Bellator by starching Tyrell Fortune in February to hand the vaunted prospect his first career defeat. That victory snapped a two-fight first-round knockout skid against Cheick Kongo and Vitaly Minakov for the North Dakota native.

Bellator 243 will go down on Aug. 7 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Headlining the event is a lightweight rematch between Michael Chandler and Benson Henderson. Serving in the co-headliner spot is a heavyweight tilt between Matt Mitrione and Timothy Johnson.

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