Bellator MMA is looking to put a fight back together that was scratched hours before it was set to go down.
According to MMA Fighting on Thursday, the promotion is looking to match Josh Barnett (35-8) against Ronny Markes (19-7) once more at Bellator 241 in March. The promotion has since confirmed that this bout is being targeted for this event, but that the agreement is not yet in place. The two were originally booked to headline Bellator 235, but on the night of the fight, Barnett was not cleared to compete by the medical staff due to illness.
Barnett as not appeared in a pro MMA bout since he handed Andrei Arlovski his first career submission defeat in September 2016. “The Warmaster” went on to fail a post-fight drug test and was kept out of action for over a year. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency went on to reverse its decision and not suspend Barnett, on the grounds that he tested positive for a contaminated supplement. Barnett sought and received his release from the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and signed with Bellator.
Markes last appeared inside a cage when he finished Sigi Pesaleli at PFL 3 in June 2019. That victory snapped a two-fight skid against Brandon Halsey and Sean O'Connell in the PFL 2018 season and playoffs. A former middleweight with the UFC, Markes competed as high as super heavyweight, wresting the King of the Cage super heavyweight crown from longtime champ Tony Lopez in 2017. This bout will spell the Bellator debuts for both Markes and Barnett.
Bellator 241 takes place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, on March 13. The event will be headlined by duo of featherweight tournament battles as Patricio Freire defends his 145-pound strap against Pedro Carvalho, while Daniel Weichel takes on Emmanuel Sanchez. Additionally, Paul Daley will collide with Sabah Homasi at welterweight that night.