This past weekend, Bellator closed out their season 7 with Bellator 84 at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana. The main event of the evening saw Russian Alexander Volkov outlast Richard Hale to take the vacant Bellator Heavyweight Title. Volkov moved his record to an impressive 19-3 overall. The show was tarnished a bit when the welterweight tournament final between Poland’s Marcin Held and Dave Jansen was postponed due to a ‘clerical error’. More on that in a bit….
Volkov was able to keep the fight standing, and in fact got a takedown or two of his own against Hale, who looked like the favorite going in. Volkov never relented, and if you allow the 6 foot 7 inch Russian to get off on his strikes, his punches and kicks are very diverse.
In Volkov, Bellator now has a champion that is a crowd pleasing striker, albeit one that speaks no english and must use a translator. He earned the title when Cole Konrad, the former champion, retired. Konrad was a tough guy, with no charisma and a disgusting looking body, but he was tough and he would have mauled Volkov.
So in Volkov they have a limited champion, and it is also unclear what they will be doing with Volkov, since their season 8 plans do not include a Heavyweight tournament. According to the Bellator format, only tournament champions can challenge for the belts, so Volkov will be without an opponent until at least after Season 9.
Volkov, should he compete in the UFC ever, would be ill suited to their Heavyweight division, but he may be a fit at 205 lbs.
In another sign of disorganization, the welterweight tournament final between Marcin Held and Dave Jansen was postponed because Held is just 20 years old and the gambling commissions that run the casino would not allow him in the venue as a minor.
Thankfully in this case, Welterweight champion Ben Askren has his next match defined with tournament season 6 winner Karl Amossou. Askren will be favored against either Held or Jansen, and he is expected to win the bout with Amossou. Let us see if Bellator can get Askren two fights that are already made in this upcoming season 8.