While Bellator’s Lightweight division may be the promotion’s deepest, Bellator’s Heavyweight division is easily the thinnest in terms of top-level talent. Not to take anything away from Bellator’s attempts to build a roster of solid heavyweight fighters, but their own lack of tournaments speaks volumes. Bellator’s initial Heavyweight Tournament came during the Fall of 2010 in Season 3 where Cole Conrad emerged and won the Bellator Heavyweight Championship defeating Neil Grove. A year later they returned the Heavyweights to the cage and while exciting finishes were the norm throughout the tournament, an anti-climactic ending when a Thiago Santos kick to Eric Prindle’s groin left Prindle unable to continue resulting in a No Contest. Meanwhile, Cole Conrad defeated the lone challenger for his belt and abruptly retired from the sport with a belt around his waist and a perfect record.
Given the tournament format of Bellator leaving little debate in terms of fighter rankings, it is still important to look at the big picture of recent activity from each fighter as well as their historic results.
And now the ranking of the best of othe Bellator Heavyweight Division…
Top Bellator Heavyweight Fighter Rankings:
1. Alexander Volkov – (19-3, 3-0 BFC) – Bellator’s new Heavyweight Champion, Alexander Volkov, is also a 11-time M-1 Global veteran having fought many of the top fighters in Eastern Europe and Russia. After Cole Conrad’s abrupt retirement from MMA competition, Volkov won the Bellator Season 7 Heavyweight Tournament defeating Brett Rogers, Vinicius Queiroz to advance to the finals then defeating Rich Hale in the final for the vacant belt. Volkov is undefeated in his past 10 fights and will await another tournament winner for his next challenge.
2. Richard Hale – (21-5, 6-2 BFC) – Richard “Rare Breed” Hale is a former light heavyweight who advanced to the Season 4 Light Heavyweight Tournament finals before losing to Champion Christian M’Pumbu. After struggling with his weight cut heading into the opening round of the Summer Series 2012 tournament at Bellator 71, Hale made the move to heavyweight. Once again Hale advanced to the finals of a Bellator Tournament but fell by decision to the new Bellator Heavyweight Champion, Alexander Volkov, at Bellator 84.
3. Eric Prindle – (7-3-1, 3-2-1 BFC) – Bellator Season 5 Heavyweight Tournament finalist Eric Prindle (pictured) finally got his rematch with Thiago Santos after receiving a kick to the groin and No Contest at Bellator 59 and having two fights called off during Bellator’s 6th season. The two met at Bellator 75 in October and Prindle’s poor attempt at an axe kick to his downed opponent resulted in more groin shot controversy and a disqualification. Prindle had wins over TUF 10 vet Abe Wagner at Bellator 52 and knocked out previously unbeaten Ron Sparks at Bellator 56 to make the finals in his first go around with Bellator. There’s not a fighter on this list that Prindle cannot beat, but bad luck and a poor decision on that axe kick kept him from having a chance to prove it.
4. Brett Rogers – (12-5-1, 1-1 BFC) – Brett “The Grim” Rogers, the former top contender for Strikeforce, began his pro MMA career at 10-0 before a rough patch which saw him win just two of his past eight fights. After a win at Bellator 71, Rogers entered the Season 7 Heavyweight Tournament and dropped a one-sided decision to the eventual Champion Volkov, and it was later released that Rogers broke his arm early in the Bellator 75 fight.
5. TBD – An overall lack of depth in the heavyweight division leaves the #5 spot open. One could make an argument for Vinicius Queiroz or Thiago Santos for this spot, but neither has been highly impressive win or lose. Santos, given his incredibly erratic behavior inside and outside of the cage, has show little reason to even be a part of a major organization.
Photo courtesy of Intimidation Interactive Media
Complete Bellator Rankings:
- Bellator Heavyweight Division Rankings
- Bellator Light Heavyweight Division Rankings
- Bellator Middleweight Division Rankings
- Bellator Welterweight Division Rankings
- Bellator Lightweight Division Rankings
- Bellator Featherweight Division Rankings
- Bellator Bantamweight Division Rankings