Undefeated heavyweight Vitaly Minakov (14-0) is one of the most prized fighters in Bellator MMA. He’s faced and defeated most of the organization’s biggest names, so who will be next to face the Russian? Let’s have a look at Bellator’s top heavyweights and prospective fighters looking to make their way to the title.
Alexander Volkov (22-4) won Bellator’s vacant heavyweight title in Bellator 84 against Richard Hale. His only title defense match and only loss in Bellator is to Vitaly Minakov, who knocked him out three minutes into the matchup. Volkov would to repay the same favor to Minakov and take back the title that was originally his. Winning his last three fights in a row, Volkov has proven his worth and has definitely earned consideration as a contender. His last victory over Blagoy Ivanov by submission should earn him some addiontional respect, handing Ivanov his first career loss after 11 wins. Volkov vs. Minakov II would make for a great heavyweight championship rematch.
Cheick Kongo ( 22-9-2) also deserves heavy consideration. Kongo is 4-1 in the Bellator arena, with Minakov handing him the only loss in Bellator. Kongo’s matchup against Minakov in Bellator 115 was a close 5 round battle, and second shot at victory would make for a huge draw. He beat Eric Smith in Bellator 120 and defeated “Big” Lavar Johnson in Bellator 123 with a rear-naked choke submission (his first submission since 2010). If Bellator isn’t sure who is the more deserving candidate, perhaps a shot at the title can be determined by a Kongo vs. Volkov matchup. Whatever the case, Kongo’s strong striking style deserves a second chance against the Sambo and Judo expertise of Minakov in the future.
Heavyweight Main Card Prospects
While not in title contention yet, it would be fantastic to see Bobby Lashley earn a heavyweight title shot in his Bellator career. Blagoy Ivanov is likely out of the running due to his loss to Volkov, but Bellator can still make a great main card feature with Lashley vs. Ivanov. There aren’t any heavyweight bouts on the books until Javy Ayala (7-3) vs. Raphael Butler (8-0) in Bellator 125. The Winner of Butler vs. Ayala would also make for a good heavyweight main card feature against Ivanov or Lashley, depending on where they want to test Lashley next in Bellator MMA.
Who do you think will be the next heavyweight to challenge the undefeated champion? Who do you think will be Lashley’s next opponent in Bellator MMA?