The main event has been announced for the upcoming Bellator 195 card and it is going to be a bantamweight title fight as champion Darrion Caldwell defends against Leandro Higo.
Caldwell (11-1-0) is making the first defense of his championship, which he won by defeating Eduardo Dantas by decision at Bellator 184. Caldwell also enters the bout on the strength of a two fight winning streak and he hasn’t suffered a defeat in well over a year. Caldwell has only suffered a single defeat as a professional MMA fighters and that came to Joe Taimanglo at Bellator 159.
Higo (18-3-0) has won just one of two in Bellator MMA competition and that lone win came over Joe Taimanglo at Bellator 184. Higo is also a former Legacy Fighting Alliance Bantamweight Champion, defeating Steven Peterson to win the belt at LFA 1. Higo was set to challenge for the Bellator MMA Bantamweight Title at Bellator 177, but he came in over weight for the encounter.
Bellator issued the following statement:
The Bellator bantamweight championship will be up for grabs Friday, March 2 when Darrion Caldwell (11-1) makes his first title defense against Leandro Higo (18-3) at Bellator 195 inside WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla., the same venue where “The Wolf” captured the belt earlier this year.
“Darrion Caldwell is an exciting young fighter that has worked his way to the top of a very competitive bantamweight division to become a world champion,” Bellator President Scott Coker said. “I’m excited to see what he can do in his first title defense against Leandro Higo, who is an incredibly tough competitor with the ability to submit his opponent at any time. The fans are in for a great matchup between these two grapplers.”
The event will be broadcast live and free on Paramount Network at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com and globally on the Bellator Mobile App. Tickets for Bellator 195: Caldwell vs. Higo go on sale this Friday, Dec. 22 at 10 a.m. CT and can be purchased at the WinStar World Casino and Resort box office, as well as through Ticketmaster and Bellator.com. Additional bouts will be announced in the coming weeks.
Caldwell has been on a steady ascension to championship status since signing with Bellator in 2014. Ahead of his championship victory over Eduardo Dantas at Bellator 184, which brought his Bellator record to 8-1, the 30-year-old collected five wins by way of first-round knockout or submission. The run was highlighted by a remarkable stoppage of former multi-division champion Joe Warren. Hailing from Rahway, N.J. and training alongside Bellator standouts Phil Davis and Justin Lawrence at Alliance MMA in San Diego, Calif., “The Wolf” also serves as one of the main sparring partners of former UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz.
Higo signed with Bellator in February riding an eight-fight win-streak and earned the Legacy Fighting Alliance 135-pound crown in the process. Fresh off an impressive win against Joe Taimanglo, the 28-year-old Pitbull Brothers product also competed on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 4 in 2015. A proud carrier of the Olympic torch ahead of the 2016 Summer Games in Brazil, “Pitbull” will now set his sights on carrying the torch in Bellator’s bantamweight division.
Bellator 195 takes place on Friday, March 2 from the Winstar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma with Darrion Caldwell and Leandro Higo headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which airs live on the Paramount Network.