Bellator is back in action as Bellator 261 will take place on Friday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Montville, Connecticut. On the main card, there five bouts, including a battle for the Interim Heavyweight Championship. Bellator 261 will air live on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET. The preliminary card will start at 5:30 p.m. and air on Showtime Sports YouTube channel, Bellator MMA YouTube channel and Pluto TV.
The main event will be Timothy Johnson vs. Valentin Moldavsky, and they will battle for the Interim Heavyweight title. This bout will be the first fight for the heavyweight title since September 2019. Ryan Bader is the current Bellator Heavyweight Champion but has entered the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. Johnson is the No. 1-ranked heavyweight while Moldavsky is ranked No. 3.
"I'm counting this as a title, I'll let everyone else put interim in front of it," Johnson said. "Moldavsky is a championship level fighter and so am I, so in my eyes this fight is to become the best heavyweight in the division." Johnson also said: "It was easy to focus on his gameplan because it is the exact same thing I do. We both are strong wrestlers and have heavy ground and pound. I guess we are going to have see who does it better on Friday."
Moldavsky thinks his style is a little different than Johnson's. "Yes, there are some similarities between me and Tim," he said. "My style is a little different, though, I like to take people down and finish them there." Moldavsky also noted that he's approaching the fight no different than any match in his career. He said: "Now that this is a title fight, I understand that there is more on the line, but this is just another fight for me. I plan to do what I always do and that is fight my fight and come out with a victory."
The co-main event is a flyweight bout between Liz Carmouche and Kana Watanabe. This will be Carmouche's third Bellator fight after spending many years in UFC. Watanabe is one of the top fighters in MMA as she has a 10-0-1 record. In a featherweight bout, Daniel Weichel will look to earn his 41st career MMA win against undefeated Keoni Diggs. Myles Jury will battle Sidney Outlaw in a lightweight fight, and the final match on the card features two light heavyweight fighters, Christian Edwards and Simon Biyong. Disclosure: PopCulture is owned by ViacomCBS Streaming, a division of ViacomCBS.