Bellator 243 Live: Bellator 243 is headlined by a pivotal lightweight fight between former Bellator champion Michael Chandler and former Ultimate Fighting Championship and World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight king Benson Henderson. This is the second meeting between the two talented mixed martial artists, with Chandler (20-5) capturing a split decision over “Smooth” back in 2016. Since that fight,
GAME: Bellator 243: Chandler vs. Henderson 2
When: 7 Aug, 8:30am E.T
How to watch: Click Here
“Iron Mike” has dropped the lightweight belt on two separate occasions, against Brent Primus – a loss Chandler later avenged — and to current titleholder Patricio Freire in first-round TKOs. Since the championship defeat to Freire, Chandler returned to form with an early knockout of Sidney Outlaw in his last bout. Chandler looked prepared on the scales and officially weighed 155.9 pounds.
Bellator 243 features a rematch of a classic fight between Michael Chandler and Benson Henderson in the main event and Cageside Press has its picks set.
Championship gold has eluded Henderson (28-8) inside the Bellator cage, but a win over Chandler could earn him another title shot. The standout lightweight is currently on a four-fight win streak that saw him submit Roger Huerta and win decisions over Myles Jury, Adam Piccolotti and Saad Awad. Henderson had no issue making weight and came in at 155.6 pounds.
After today’s weigh-ins, the 10-fight card is now official, and only one fighter missed weight: Mike Hamel (154.6)*, who came in heavy for his scheduled 150-pound catchweight fight against Adam Borics as a late replacement. He has been fined a percentage of his purse and the fight will still go ahead as planned.
Riding a four-fight win streak, Henderson appears reborn following a 1-3 start to his Bellator MMA career upon joining the promotion as a prized free agent in 2016. Two of those losses came in title bouts in two different divisions, including a split-decision loss to then-lightweight champion Chandler four years ago.
Since then, the 34-year-old three-time lightweight champ, Chandler (20-5), has gone 4-2 in the cage, defeating Sidney Outlaw via first-round KO (punches) in December to bounce back from dropping the lightweight strap to Freire by first-round TKO (punches) in May. Henderson (28-8) has posted a 4-1 record, having won four straight bouts, since losing to Chandler nearly four years ago. Henderson, 36, last defeated Myles Jury by unanimous decision in September.
Now, the veterans are set to renew their rivalry, as they’ll fight in the main event of Bellator 243 at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn., on Friday night. The winner will put himself in prime position to challenge Bellator lightweight champion Patricio Freire next.
After Bellator’s original plan to have Chandler and Henderson scrap it out on June 6 was dashed due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the fighters can’t wait to step into the cage to see who reigns supreme. The two are far from strangers, as Chandler edged Henderson by a split decision to defend the lightweight title back at Bellator 165 in November 2016.
While the majority of storylines entering Friday’s Bellator 243 card have centered around former three-time lightweight champion Michael Chandler’s future whereabouts entering the final fight of his deal, it surely isn’t the only one.
Chandler (20-5) will look to enter free agency with his brand positioned at its highest value when the 34-year-old takes on former UFC champion Benson Henderson (28-8) in a 155-pound rematch that headlines the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut (DAZN/Paramount Network, 10 p.m. ET). But the 36-year-old Henderson needs a win just as badly.