LOS ANGELES (May 16, 2023) – After a night to remember in Paris, France, Fabian Edwards (12-2) surpassed MMA legend Gegard Mousasi (49-9-2) to become BELLATOR’s No. 1-ranked middleweight contender thanks to a dominant, star-making unanimous decision victory. The win, Edwards’ third straight, cemented a September 23 showdown in Dublin, Ireland with Middleweight World Champion Johnny Eblen (13-0), who jumped two spaces in the men’s pound-for-pound rankings in this iteration of the independently-organized list this week.

In the co-main event, former Lightweight World Champion Brent Primus (12-3) proved he belongs right in the thick of things in the $1,000,000 Lightweight World Grand Prix, handing fast-rising local star Mansour Barnaoui (20-5), who dropped to No. 9 in the division, his first BELLATOR loss. Primus remained ranked No. 4 in the division and moves on to face Lightweight World Champion and pound-for-pound No. 6 talent Usman Nurmagomedov (17-0) in the semi-final round of the tournament.

Elsewhere on the BELLATOR 296 card, Dutch flyweight contender Denise Kielholtz (7-5) earned her way back into the women’s pound-for-pound rankings at No. 10 with a hard-fought unanimous decision over Brazil’s Paulina Cristina (6-2). Plus, former Welterweight World Champion Douglas Lima (33-11) returned to the win column and entered the middleweight rankings at No. 9 with a statement victory against Costello van Steenis (14-3), who lost his spot among the division’s upper echelon.

On June 16, BELLATOR touches down again in Chicago, Illinois, for a history-making event headlined by a Light Heavyweight World Championship between the sport’s top 205-pound fighter, Light Heavyweight Champion Vadim Nemkov (16-2), and fearsome Olympic silver medalist-turned-knockout artist Yoel Romero (15-6). In the blockbuster show’s co-main event, reigning Featherweight World Champion Patricio Pitbull (35-5) will look to enter the recordbooks as the first fighter in a major MMA promotion to hold titles in three weight classes when he welcomes back Bantamweight World Champion Sergio Pettis (22-5) for the pride of Milwaukee’s 135-pound title.

BELLATOR 297Nemkov vs. Romero airs LIVE in the U.S. at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT/6 p.m. PT on SHOWTIME. The preliminary contests will air live at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT on the BELLATOR MMA YouTube channel, the SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel, and Pluto TV. 

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