Leading mixed martial arts promotion Bellator MMA will return to London on Saturday, May 16, with The SSE Arena, Wembley, once again chosen to host another night of world class combat sports action.
Last year, 2019 saw Bellator stage two fight nights in the English capital, with a Bellator middleweight championship bout headlining the first in June, before local star Michael “Venom” Page topped the card in November. With a third event in less than 12 months confirmed, the scene is set for another explosive European Series card.
Making his highly anticipated debut on the card is recent Bellator signing, ex-international rugby star James Haskell (Pro Debut), whose opponent will be confirmed at a later date. Featuring in the main event is a rebooked bantamweight bout between Irish MMA hero James “The Strabanimal” Gallagher (10-1) and Sunderland’s Cal “Pacino” Ellenor (8-2), who were due to headline this weekend’s card in Dublin.
The event will air LIVE at 10 p.m. BST on Channel 5 in the UK. In the U.S., the event will be streamed live on Bellator MMA’s YouTube Channel at 5 p.m. ET/4 p.m. CT.
Bellator unveiled Haskell as their new heavyweight signing in August 2019, following his decision to retire from professional rugby and pursue a career in mixed martial arts. The 34-year-old enjoyed an incredibly successful rugby career, which saw him achieve major honours for both club and country. He played for England 77 times between 2007 and 2018, representing his country in two Rugby World Cups and playing a key role in helping England win the Six Nations title in 2016 and 2017, which included a first ‘Grand Slam’ in 13 years.
Having used MMA to aid his rugby training, Haskell has been preparing for his professional debut at London Shootfighters, where he has trained for many years, alongside the likes of British MMA star Michael “Venom” Page.
Fans can expect an explosive first appearance from Haskell, whose opponent will be announced in the coming weeks.
Bellator have also confirmed that James Gallagher and Cal Ellenor will face each other in the main event, after their eagerly awaited headline bout, set for Bellator Dublin this weekend, was rebooked for a second time due to an injury to Gallagher earlier this month.
Gallagher – a rising star in the Bellator bantamweight division – enjoyed a perfect 2019, with a unanimous decision victory over Jeremiah Labiano in London bookended by first round submission finishes in front of raucous Irish crowds at Dublin’s 3Arena. Gallagher, who has won all but one of his 11 professional bouts to date, is aiming to carry that impressive form into 2020 with a win in enemy territory.
Ellenor, who is preparing to face Gallagher at the third time of asking, only made his Bellator debut last year, but holds a similar professional record to his Irish opponent. Originally due to face each other on Irish soil, Ellenor will relish the opportunity to take this bout to an English crowd and is confident he can stop Gallagher’s self-proclaimed “Jimmy Show” in its tracks.
With further bouts to be announced in the coming weeks, fans can expect another stacked card and another unforgettable night of MMA action in the English capital.
Bellator London: Gallagher vs. Ellenor Fight Card:
Bantamweight Main Event: James Gallagher (10-1) vs. Cal Ellenor (8-2)
Heavyweight Main Card Bout: James Haskell (Pro Debut) vs. TBA