Member Since: 10/24/11
Nearly a year after winning Bellator's vacant heavyweight title, Alexander Volkov has a date for the first defense of his belt.
Volkov (19-3 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) will headline Bellator 109 in November against fellow Russian and unbeaten tournament winner Vitaly Minakov (12-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA). Bellator officials announced the bout on Friday.
Bellator 109 takes place Nov. 22 at Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, Pa. The main card will air on Spike TV following prelims on Spike.com. On Thursday, MMAjunkie.com was first to report the card's first fight, which will feature the unretired Matthew Riddle against an opponent still to be named. Tickets for the event already are on sale.
In addition, Bellator officials said the event will feature a pair of Season 9 tournament finals. Already likely for one of those spots is the final of the lightweight tourney. The two other Season 9 tournament divisions that don't have announced dates for the finals are at bantamweight and heavyweight. Tonight's Bellator 102 features the heavyweight tourney semifinals.
Volkov beat Richard Hale by unanimous decision in December 2012 to win the vacant heavyweight title after previous champ Cole Konrad retired after holding the belt for nearly two years. That win wrapped up the Season 7 tournament title for him after beating Brett Rogers in the opening round and stopping Vinicius Queiroz in the second round of the semifinals.
Volkov will go into the fight with a 10-fight winning streak. Before signing with Bellator in 2012, all his wins came in his home country of Russia.
Minakov debuted with the promotion at Bellator 79, stopping Vladimir Starcencov in the second round. He then got a spot in the 2013 "Summer Series" four-man heavyweight tournament, where he stopped Ron Sparks in just 32 seconds at Bellator 96, then stopped Ryan Martinez in the third round at Bellator 97 to punch his ticket to the title fight against Volkov.