Canelo vs Bivol predictions -- Canelo Alvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol: Fight card, odds, start time, live stream
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Canelo Alvarez vs. Cheick Kongo: Bader's expeditions to heavyweight have done wonders for his longevity. His power has translated up a weight class and he benefits from speed and cardio advantages over most of Bellator's big men. Speaking of longevity, you have to be impressed with Kongo, 46, and his ability to remain competitive against reasonable competition more than two decades into his pro career.
Bader has confirmed that his light heavyweight days are over and that is probably for the best. Kongo is a lean, mobile heavyweight, but Bader has the edge in most facets of the game where Kongo thrives. Kongo does have a seven-inch reach and two-inch height advantage, but the champion shouldn't have much trouble getting on the inside. Kudos to Kongo for what he has accomplished at this stage of his career but this is Bader's fight to lose. Pick: Bader via UD
The superhuman Yoel Romero makes his second appearance for Bellator against late replacement Alex Polizzi. Romero, like many before him, was stifled by Phil Davis when "The Soldier of God" debuted for the company in September. The once prolific finisher is winless dating back to 2018, but the allure of the Olympian's next-level athleticism persists.
Romero was originally scheduled to fight dynamic striker Melvin Manhoef. Polizzi stepped in for Manhoef, 45, as the kickboxing legend has lingering issues after allegedly fending off three burglars in March. What Polizzi lacks in name value, he makes up for in solid potential. The 10-1 fighter has only lost to Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix substitute Julius Anglickas, and has a win over former Bellator middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho on his record.
Canelo Alvarez and Cheick Kongo are in search of a definitive ending to their series at Canelo vs Bivol. Bader and Kongo met for the heavyweight championship at Bellator 226 in September 2019. An alleged eye poke in Round 1 brought the bout to a disappointing conclusion. Fast forward three years and the two fighters will compete under similar circumstances, albeit on another continent when they meet inside the Accor Arena in Paris on Friday.
Bader (29-7, 1 NC) has committed to heavyweight full time after splitting duties between the land of the giants and 205 pounds. Bader, the former two-division champion, has alternated wins and losses in his last four fights, but he is undefeated in all five of his heavyweight contests. He narrowly defeated interim champion Valentin Moldavsky in January, but may enter Canelo vs Bivol with the mental edge over his challenger. Bader was firmly in control of Kongo for the short duration of their first meeting. The accidental eye poke that resulted in the only no-contest on either man's professional record was never spotted on camera. The prevailing theory suggests Bader's body blocked the cameras to a knuckle in the eye. There is a portion of viewers that believe Kongo faked the injury. Bader refuses to count out Kongo in the rematch and has trained to deliver a more dominant whooping on his opponent.
"Going in there and fighting another human being, you don't need much more motivation than that," Bader told CBS Sports. "I'm in a unique circumstance where everybody that's fighting me, it's the biggest fight of their life because it's for a title. Whereas me, I've fought for titles and have been defending my title for a long time here in Bellator. Pretty much for the whole time. I wouldn't say it's lost its luster but, for me, it feels like just another fight. I expect Kongo to be much better and come out really hard and fight to the end. I treat every fight the same. If I come in and don't train as hard or don't do the things that need to be done, the longer that'll be in my mind and I'll be kicking myself. I always put my all into training and walk into that cage confident that I did everything that I could do to be successful.
Check out the full interview with Canelo Alvarez below.
Kongo (31-11-2, 1 NC) has a home-cage advantage in his birthplace of Paris, France. Kongo, who made his MMA debut back in 2001, will compete in MMA in his hometown for just the second time in his career. Kongo's last performance in front of his countrymen left something to be desired. He took a split decision loss to Timothy Johnson in October 2020, snapping a nine-fight undefeated streak spanning five years. Kongo is a significant underdog heading into this fight, due in part to the trajectory of their first encounter. Kongo has some things in his favor, though. The UFC alum has a seven-inch reach and two-inch heigh advantage. The lean heavyweight has also absorbed shockingly little damage for someone competing against heavy hitters for more than two decades. Kongo has only been knocked out three times over the span of 45 fights.
"It will be great for the French people to have the belt at home and claim France is a really good country for MMA. The supporters and fighters in France used to live for those moments, so for me, it's normality and a great opportunity to show the world we're still in the game. We are here now – let's do this," Kongo said at Wednesday's media day. "I was expecting the fight [against Bader] to happen really quickly, but it has taken almost three years. I had to keep going no matter what. We have the crowd and we have no excuses – showing how great Bellator Paris is, that's one of the big motivations for Friday."
"I visualize the same man with a different skin color," Romero told CBS Sports this week through a translator. "They are both the same stature. They both look similar physically. With both, we're going to wrestle. Thank God the plan didn't have to change. One opponent was a striker, so we were going to wrestle him. The other fighter is primarily a wrestler-grappler. We've been training wrestling this entire camp so we're going to wrestle him."
Fresh off a 2021 fighter of the year campaign in which he became the first undisputed champion in super middleweight history, Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) will move back up to 175 pounds on Saturday to challenge WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs) inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (DAZN PPV, 8 p.m. ET -- subscribe now).
Three years removed from his last light heavyweight fight, when he knocked out Sergey Kovalev to claim the WBC title before immediately vacating it, the 31-year-old Alvarez will take on Bivol during the same week his promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, revealed that Alvarez might be willing to challenge for the unified heavyweight title if Oleksandr Usyk, a former undisputed cruiserweight champion, was willing to accept a catchweight of 201 pounds.
The added heavyweight wrinkle comes just months after Alvarez was also rumored to be interested in challenging cruiserweight champion Ilunga Makabu.
"I like this kind of challenge [because] it makes me feel alive," Alvarez told CBS Sports on Wednesday. "That's why I am still in boxing because this kind of challenge makes me feel the adrenaline I need.
"For me, limits don't exist so I always want more. And you never know? [Fighting at heavyweight?] Maybe."
MMA Fighting has Canelo Alvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol live round-by-round updates of one of the top boxing fights of the year Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
The main event will start around 11 p.m. ET. Check out our Canelo vs. Bivol results page to find out what happened on the undercard.
Alvarez (57-1-2), who is expected to make $15 million for the fight before PPV sales, will compete for the first time this year. He knocked out Caleb Plant in his past outing this past November.
Dimitry Bivol (19-0), who will make around $2 million for the fight before the PPV sales, will also enter the ring for the first time this year. Bivol will be defending his WBA light heavyweight title in the contest.
The DAZN PPV is priced at $59.99 for those who have active DAZN accounts, and $79.99 otherwise. If you’re looking for an alternative to watch without DAZN, PPV.com will have the fight, too, as will iNDEMAND’s traditional cable and satellite platforms.
LAS VEGAS -- Canelo Alvarez stood on the scale Friday outside T-Mobile Arena adorned by a wave of red-white-and-green flags as mariachis blared in full force.
For the first time in three years, Alvarez is set to compete in Las Vegas on Cinco de Mayo Weekend -- the date and site typically reserved for boxing's top star.
When Canelo defeated Daniel Jacobs here in May 2019, he retained his 160-pound championship via unanimous decision. Three years later, he weighed 174.4 pounds, the second-heaviest of his career, ahead of Saturday's light heavyweight title challenge vs. Russia's Dmitry Bivol (8 p.m. ET, DAZN pay-per-view).
Bivol, the champion and ESPN's No. 2 light heavyweight, weighed 174.6 pounds.
"My best weight is 168 ... but I feel really good at 175, too," said Alvarez, ESPN's No. 1 super middleweight. "I feel strong."
The ceremonial weigh-in on Friday afternoon was preceded by the morning's official weigh-in behind closed doors.
Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) will attempt to become a two-time light heavyweight champion following a November 2019 KO victory over Sergey Kovalev at 175 pounds. After that bout, Alvarez vacated his light heavyweight title to campaign at 168 pounds.
This time around, the 31-year-old Alvarez may keep the belt for a while. But if he beats Bivol, 31, his next fight is already set at 168 pounds: a defense of his undisputed super middleweight championship vs. Gennady Golovkin.
Golovkin and Alvarez have met twice already at 160 pounds -- a 2017 draw and a 2018 majority-decision win for Alvarez.
Canelo, ESPN's No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer, has expressed interest in a fight for the undisputed light heavyweight championship in 2023. A matchup with the winner of the June 18 three-belt unification between Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith would accomplish the feat.
Alvarez must first turn back Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs), however, and he's a 5-1 favorite to do so, according to Caesars Sportsbook.
"I think I have enough experience and I have enough power, speed, boxing quality, to fight against the best," Bivol said. "... I don't think that I was avoided. Maybe not just interesting fight to make because I'm not known yet. I know it's business. Fine. OK. No problem. But now I got the fight."