It was the most-watched fight in the history of mixed martial arts with 7.28 million viewers, and on Sunday night Bellator MMA President Scott Coker joined ESPN’s SportsCenter to officially announce that Kimbo Slice (6-2) and James Thompson (20-16) are going to run it back inside the world famous O2 Arena in London on July 16 during the main event of “Bellator 158: London.” The tentpole event also features another highly anticipated rematch in the co-main event — when a grudge match nearly six years in the making boils over as Josh Koscheck (17-10) takes on Paul “Semtex” Daley (38-13-2).
In the United Kingdom, the event will be broadcast free on SPIKE UK and Channel 5, while in America, the card will air free on SPIKE. Exact broadcast details for “Bellator 158: London” will be revealed in the near future.
Tickets for “Bellator 158: London,” go on sale this Friday, April 22, with a Bellator Nation presale running this Thursday, April 21. Tickets starting at £40.00 will be available at TheO2.co.uk or The O2 Box Office.
In addition, a pair of English natives will also be in action on July 16, when Michael “Venom” Page (9-0) and Linton “The Swarm” Vassell (16-5) face yet-to-be-announced opponents. London’s Page, also known as “MVP,” will be competing during the main card of “Bellator 153: Koreshkov vs. Henderson” this Friday, live and free on Spike at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.
Fresh off his performance in the main event of “Bellator 149: Shamrock vs. Gracie,” the record-shattering card that generated 3.5 million viewers, Slice returns to action against the man he previously defeated back in 2008. It’s without question that Slice, a member of American Top Team in his home state of Florida, is one of the most must-see competitors in the sport of mixed martial arts, as it’s become increasingly clear fans can never truly expect what will happen when the brawler enters the Bellator cage.
“The Colossus” will likely have a sold-out O2 Arena strongly in his corner, being that he hails from Bristol, England and hasn’t fought on home turf since 2010. Thompson, 37, has been calling for a rematch with Slice since their infamous meeting nearly eight years ago and would like nothing more than to bounce back from a recent string of bad luck with a win against a name the likes of the former YouTube sensation. Thompson’s resume already features wins against Dan Severn, Don Frye and Bobby Lashley, amongst others.
In the card’s co-main event, Koscheck will make his promotional debut a little over a year after signing with Bellator MMA. Its pained the Fresno native to be out of action for so long, especially after being forced to withdraw from a headlining spot in his hometown against Matt Secor at “Bellator 148,” a card that “Semtex” went on to main event. It was there that the seeds for a rematch were cemented even further, as Daley trashed “Kos” in front of his partisan fans, pushing the 38-year-old to return.
While Daley may have the results as of late to upstage his foe, Koscheck owns a victory over the Brit in their first meeting, which Daley followed with an infamous punch after the bell that changed the trajectory of his career. Now, with nine wins in his last ten fights, Daley returns home to put an end to a moment in his profession that has cast a shadow over most of his success, while Koscheck looks to prove that their first meeting was no fluke.
These two momentous matchups are set to take place on July 16 at the legendary 20,000-seat O2 Arena, as Kimbo Slice-James Thompson II and Josh Koscheck-Paul Daley II emanate from the United Kingdom, and there’s no other place to watch the action unfold than FREE on Spike.
Updated “Bellator 158: London” Fight Card
Bellator MMA Heavyweight Main Event: Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson (6-2) vs. James Thompson (20-16)
Bellator MMA Welterweight Co-Main Event: Josh Koscheck (17-10) vs. Paul Daley (38-13-2)
Bellator MMA Welterweight Bout: Michael Page (9-0) vs. TBA
Bellator MMA Light Heavyweight Bout: Linton Vassell (16-5) vs. TBA