LOS ANGELES – Bellator returns to Tel Aviv, Israel for the third-consecutive year on Thursday, Nov. 15 with a featherweight world title clash pitting Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (27-4) against Emmanuel Sanchez(17-3) set to anchor Bellator 209 inside Menora Mivtachim Arena. In addition, Haim Gozali (8-5) looks to get revenge against Ryan Couture (11-6) in co-main event welterweight action, while Phil Davis (19-4, 1 NC) will take on Vadim Nemkov (9-2) at light heavyweight. Additionally, a women’s featherweight contest between undefeated Israeli Olga Rubin (4-0) and veteran Cindy Dandois (12-3) will be featured on the card.
Tickets are on sale now and are available at Eventim.co, as well as Bellator.com. The event will air Friday, Nov. 16 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on Paramount Network and can also be streamed on DAZN.
Bellator has partnered with Ananey Communications, an Israeli television conglomerate boasting 14 channels, including the EGO and EGO TOTAL channels, which have broadcast Bellator in Israel since 2012.
Hailing from Natal, Brazil, two-time featherweight champ Patricio “Pitbull” will enter the Bellator cage for a promotional record 20th time on Nov. 15. With 15 wins under the Bellator umbrella, “Pitbull” will be making his second title defense since reclaiming the world title at Bellator 178 against Daniel Straus last year. Most recently, “Pitbull” defeated Daniel Weichel, edging out his opponent via split decision at Bellator 203 in Rome. Having earned a finish in 20 of his 27 wins as a professional, the reigning champion has become synonymous with excitement and fans can certainly expect more fireworks when he enters the cage on Nov. 15.
Sanchez has officially emerged from prospect to title contender when he challenges for the featherweight title in Tel Aviv. Unlike his opponent, Sanchez will find himself in unfamiliar territory on Nov. 15, as the 28-year-old Milwaukee, Wis.-fighter will make his first professional appearance outside of the United States. “El Matador” will be seeking his 10th promotional win and his fifth consecutive victory, a streak that began in January of last year. With his last defeat coming over two years ago and with recent victories over former Bellator champions Daniel Straus and Marcos Galvao, as well as Sam Sicilia, there may not be another athlete on Bellator’s roster more deserving of a title fight than the Roufusport Academy-product.
A member of Team Renzo Gracie, Gozali returns to the Bellator cage for the fifth time in his 20-year career. The Israeli fighter will once again fight Ryan Couture on Nov. 15, following a three-round thriller at Bellator 180 last summer. Fighting out of Bat Yam, Israel, “Batman” favors events on home turf, notching two opening round submission wins in each of his las two bouts inside Menora Mivtachim Arena. Now, with seven of his eight career victories coming by way of submission, the former Israeli army soldier hopes to keep his rematch with Couture out of the judges’ hands.
Couture looks to duplicate the success he had in his first matchup with Gozali, when he picked up a unanimous decision win inside Madison Square Garden last June. A veteran of UFC and STRIKEFORCE, Couture has appeared six times in the Bellator cage and will make the jump back up to welterweight in hopes of collecting the 12th win of his career. A member of Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, the Seattle native will look to play the role of spoiler to Gozali when the two rematch in Tel Aviv.
Hailing from Harrisburg, Penn. Davis has earned impressive victories over elite competition during his illustrious 10-year career, including wins over the likes of Lyoto Machida, “King Mo” Lawal, Liam McGeary and most recently Linton Vassell at Bellator 200 earlier this year. Fighting out of San Diego, Calif. the former four-time NCAA Division-1 All-American wrestler out of Penn State University holds a near flawless mark of 6-1 in Bellator. “Mr. Wonderful” trains alongside current Bellator bantamweight champ Darrion Caldwell, Dominick Cruz and A.J. Matthews amongst others at Alliance MMA.
Fighting out of Stary Oskol, Russia, 26-year-old knockout artist Vadim Nemkov will make his third appearance with Bellator when he meets Davis. A protege of Bellator heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, Nemkov will be looking to build on his pair of knockout wins, which includes a win over former light heavyweight champion Liam McGeary at Bellator 194. With eight of his nine career victories coming by way of first round stoppage, the former Sambo world champion does not waste much time inside the cage. His ability for finishing fights will be tested when he meets Davis, an athlete who has yet to be finished in his career.
Israeli women’s featherweight Olga Rubin steps back inside the Bellator cage for the third time to put her undefeated streak on the line in her home country. With her previous promotional victories at Bellator 164 and Bellator 188 coming via TKO, “Big Bad” has developed a reputation as one of the more dangerous prospects in the division. She is now set to take on UFC and Invicta FC veteran Cindy Dandois, who owns career wins over Marloes Coenen, Jorina Baars and Megan Anderson. Training out of Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, “Battlecat” is currently riding a four-fight win streak, which includes a victorious appearance in RIZIN.
Updated Bellator 209: ‘Pitbull’ vs. Sanchez Fight Card:
Featherweight World Title Bout: Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (27-4) vs. Emmanuel Sanchez (17-3)
Welterweight Co-Main Event: Haim Gozali (8-5) vs. Ryan Couture (11-6)
Light Heavyweight Feature Event: Phil Davis (19-4, 1 NC) vs. Vadim Nemkov (9-2)
Women’s Featherweight Bout: Olga Rubin (4-0) vs. Cindy Dandois (12-3)