Chidi Njokuani moves to middleweight, meets Hisaki Kato at Bellator 189

After missing weight and losing a main-event fight earlier this year, Chidi Njokuani is opting for a change in weight class for his next fight.

Njokuani (17-5 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) will move from welterweight to middleweight to take on Hisaki Kato (8-2 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) at Bellator 189, which takes place Dec. 1 at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla. The card airs on Spike following prelims streamed on MMAjunkie.

MMAjunkie verified the matchup with a Bellator official following an initial report from CBSSports.com.

After four consecutive wins to begin his Bellator tenure, Njokuani was granted a main event spot against former champion Andrey Koreshkov at Bellator 182 in August. He came in four pounds over the welterweight limit, and the fight also did not go his way. Njokuani suffered a first-round TKO to snap a nine-fight unbeaten streak.

“Chidi Bang Bang” will attempt to rebound and make a positive introduction to the middleweight division when he takes on Kato, a noted striker who has won three straight fights and four of his past five overall.

Kato is coming off a unanimous-decision victory over Ralek Gracie at Bellator 170 in January. He’ll fight for just the second time this year when he enters the cage at Bellator 189.

The latest Bellator 189 card now includes:

  • Julia Budd vs. Arlene Blancowe – for women’s featherweight title
  • Chris Honeycutt vs. Rafael Lovato
  • Hisaki Kato vs. Chidi Njokuani

For more on Bellator 189, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Featherweight champ Julia Budd headlines Bellator 189 in rematch with Arlene Blencowe

Julia Budd will put her featherweight title on the line in December when she headlines Bellator 189 in a rematch.

Budd (10-2 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) will be challenged by Arlene Blencowe (10-6 MMA, 3-2 BMMA) in the main event, Bellator officials today announced. In addition, the co-main event is set with a middleweight bout between Chris Honeycutt (10-1 MMA, 6-1 BMMA) and Rafael Lovato Jr. (6-0 MMA, 2-0 BMMA).

Bellator 189 takes place Dec. 1 at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla. The main card will air on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Budd won Bellator’s inaugural women’s featherweight title earlier this year when she stopped former Strikeforce champ Marloes Coenen with a fourth-round TKO at Bellator 174, which also took place in Thackerville.

Julia Budd vs. Arlene Blencowe

To get to that title shot, Budd, from Canada, won her first three Bellator fights after a 4-0 run for Invicta FC. And the third of those wins came at Bellator 162 nearly a year ago – a unanimous decision win over Blencowe, who now will challenge for her title.

Blencowe, from Australia, has gone 3-0 since that loss. She picked up a pair of knockout wins in her native Australia, then took a split call from Sinead Kavanagh at Bellator 182 in August.

Honeycutt has won four straight fights. He has decisions over Matt Secor, Mikkel Parlo and Ben Reiter. But at Bellator 182, he picked up his first stoppage win in two and half years when he took out Kevin Casey with a second-round TKO. His four-fight winning streak comes on the heels of a pair of fights with Paul Bradley. The first of those ended in a no-contest from an accidental headbutt, and Bradley won the rematch with a 40-second knockout – Honeycutt’s lone pro loss.

Lovato won Legacy FC’s middleweight title in just his third pro fight in 2016. After defending it later that year with a submission of Cortez Coleman, he moved to Bellator – where he has been impressive in a hurry. He stopped Charles Hackman in just 13 seconds with a TKO at Bellator 174. And in July, he submitted Mike Rhodes in the first round.

For more on Bellator 189, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie