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Ryan Bader to defend heavyweight title against Cheick Kongo at Bellator 226

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Bellator’s first champ-champ will be returning to action this fall.

Heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader will be defending his heavyweight crown against long-time veteran Cheick Kongo in the main event of Bellator 226. The card is set to go down at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. on Sept. 7. The news was announced by the promotion on Thursday morning.

This bout marks Bader’s first title defense at heavyweight since winning the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix with a first-round knockout of Fedor Emelianenko earlier this year. The 36-year-old champion is unbeaten since joining the Bellator ranks and he’s currently enjoying a seven-fight win streak. Bader is 27-5 in his MMA career.

Meanwhile, Kongo is also on an impressive run himself. The veteran fighter has remained unbeaten for the last four years, compiling eight straight wins. The 44-year-old last fought in February where he outpointed former Bellator champ Vitaly Minakov. Kongo is 30–10–2 in his professional fighting career.

Bellator 226 will also serve as the start of the 16-man Featherweight Grand Prix. The promotion expects to announce matchups in the coming weeks.