Bellator MMA is back this Saturday with a stacked lineup in the form of Bellator 206. The headliner will see one of the most substantial middleweight title fights on the planet. The 44-6-2 Gegard Mousasi defends his belt against Bellator’s welterweight king, Rory MacDonald. That mega-matchup will get its own separate preview post.
For now, take a look at the rest of the main card below – including the fourth installment between MMA legends Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva in the co-main event. Also on the main card will be the first fight in the opening round of Bellator’s Welterweight Grand Prix. The promotion’s two previous 170 lb champions, Douglas Lima and Andrey Koreshkov will meet for the third act of their trilogy.
Before that, top-flight prospect Aaron Pico will be looking to fast-track himself into the role of contender, when he puts his young 3-1 record up against the 18-4 former Bellator bantamweight title challenger, Leandro Higo. Opening up the main card, Keri Melendez, wife of MMA great Gilbert Melendez, will be taking on the 0-0-0 Dakota Zimmerman.
Quinton Jackson (37-13 MMA/4-2 Bellator) vs. Wanderlei Silva (35-13-1 MMA/0-1 Bellator): Heavyweight
Rampage and Wandy will be locking horns for the fourth time in their illustrious careers. The first time these legends met was way back at Pride Final Conflict 2003, and it culminated with Silva unloading a series of knees to the face to get the finish. The rematch between the two took place at Pride 28: High Octane and saw Rampage enjoy much more success than he did in the first meeting, at least in the first round. Come round two, Silva got to work with his patented knees from the clinch. The Brazilian sent Rampage falling unconscious, only being held up by the ring ropes in one of the most iconic images in all of MMA.
Rampage would get his revenge in 2008, however, when he put hands on Silva to brutally knock him out in less than three and a half minutes at UFC 92. Fast forward one decade, and these two combat sports icons will get it on once again. But, unlike the first-three fights, this one will take place in the heavyweight division.
Present day, Rampage has been trying his hand in Bellator’s heavyweight division. He earned a split decision victory over Satoshi Ishii before dropping back to back unanimous decisions – first to King Mo and then to Chael Sonnen in the Heavyweight Grand Prix. In his promotional debut, Silva recently lost a unanimous decision to Chael Sonnen at Bellator NYC. Before that, he fought Brian Stann at UFC on Fuel TV 8 in 2013.
Douglas Lima (29-7 MMA/11-3 Bellator) vs. Andrey Koreshkov (21-2 MMA/12-2 Bellator): Welterweight
If you are going to kick off your welterweight tournament, then why not have the first matchup between your two-previous champs who have already squared off twice before? The first time these warriors battled it out, Koreshkov leaned on his takedowns to walk away with a unanimous decision and Bellator’s 170 pound belt at Bellator 140 in 2015. Lima would get his revenge the following year when he knocked out Koreshkov in the third round at Bellator 164 to reclaim his strap.
Since then, Lima successfully defended his crown against Lorenz Larkin, but then relinquished his title to Rory MacDonald by unanimous decision at Bellator 192 this past January. After dropping the title to Lima, Koreshkov rebounded with a sensational TKO stoppage of Chidi Njokuani, and then melted Vaso Bakocevic by spinning back kick in just over 60 seconds at Bellator 203.
Considering it’s been nearly two years since the these welterweights went to war with one another, and how starkly different those encounters were, it’s rather difficult to gauge what this bout will look like.
Aaron Pico (3-1 MMA/Bellator) vs. Leandro Higo (18-4 MMA/1-2 Bellator): Featherweight
Pico came into his professional MMA career with tons and tons of hype behind him, but fell short in his debut to Zach Freeman at Bellator NYC back in 2017. Since then, Pico has dropped down to featherweight where he has been catching bodies left and right. The wrestling standout has been unleashing his nuclear left hand in the form of a hook, an uppercut, and a body shot that have claimed three-straight victims by first-round stoppage. At only 3-1, is Pico ready for the caliber of opposition in former Bellator title challenger Leandro Higo?
Higo may have only had three promotional bouts with Bellator, but he has already locked horns with world champions Eduardo Dantas and Darrion Caldwell. Despite losing efforts, facing that level of opposition comes with its own intangible benefits – such as seeing the mountain top and knowing what it takes to compete at that level. His opponent Pico has not seen anything close to what Higo has witnessed in a pro MMA career that dates back to 2006. Will Higo be able to pull from his deep well of experience to defeat Pico and send him back down to prospect territory?
Keri Melendez 2-0 MMA/Bellator vs. Dakota Zimmerman (Pro/Bellator Debut): Strawweight
Keri Melendez, the better half of MMA standout Gilbert Melendez, is set for her third professional/Bellator MMA bout. After earning a unanimous decision in a Bellator 142 kickboxing bout, Melendez TKO’d Shelia Padilla in her MMA debut in less than a minute at Bellator 165. And then followed that up by choking out Tiani Valle in less than three minutes at Bellator 201. She will be taking on the 0-0-0 Dakota Zimmerman, who has a posted amateur record of 2-0 in Shamrock FC.
Bellator 206 takes place this Saturday, September 29th, in San Jose, CA. The event will stream live on DAZN’s new platform, starting at 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific for the main card. Prelims will start at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific.