Ryan Bader and Anthony Johnson are set to run it back, but it won’t be in the Bellator cage.
Bader has agreed to replace Fabricio Werdum against Johnson at Sunday’s Submission Underground 19 grappling event.
Chael Sonnen, who serves as the promoter of the event, announced the switch on Tuesday (via Twitter):
“Rumble joined Bellator this month after a mutually agreed upon split from his UFC contract. UFC president Dana White played coy when asked why the two sides parted ways, but indicated that Johnson still wanted to be with UFC.”
— Rumble 🐺 (@Rjgot9lives) December 14, 2020
“Nevertheless, he signed with Bellator, with his MMA return set to come in the first half of 2021 after roughly four years of retirement. First, though, he will meet Bader – who is just one fight removed from losing the Bellator 205-pound title and double champ status – in the grappling matchup.”
It won’t be the first time the pair have crossed paths in a competitive setting. Johnson scored an 86-second knockout of Bader at UFC on FOX 18 in January 2016.
Bader shot for an early takedown in the bout, only to have it stuffed by Johnson, who proceeded to batter him into unconsciousness.
It’s possible a true MMA rematch could come under the Bellator banner in the future, but first they’ll get a taste in a grappling-only setting.