It’s very unlikely that the judges will be needed when Gregory Babene competes in the Bellator cage. The Paris native, who has been training in MMA since 15, has not competed in a fight that has needed the judges since June 2009. Babene, who has won eight straight entering tonight, has scored 20 finishes, with his last 10 wins all being finishes, including nine via submission. Babene enters tonight’s #1 contender’s fight with a 5-0 Bellator record, with all of his fights in the Bellator cage ending via first-round victories. Babene last fought at Bellator 299, scoring a first-round submission of Charlie Ward.


A 10-year veteran of MMA, Costello van Steenis enters tonight with a 14-3 record, including 10 wins by knockout or submission and victories in eight of his last 10 fights. Van Steenis is a longtime training partner of former Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi and has noteworthy wins over Fabian Edwards and Mike Shipman. Van Steenis, who has never been knocked out or submitted in his career, dropped a decision to former Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima in his most recent outing at Bellator 296.


Which of these two will guarantee themselves a shot at the Bellator middleweight championship in the future?



Round 1


Van Steenis bouncing on his feet. Left hand from Babene. Combination from Babene as he presses forward. A high kick from Van Steenis misses. Babene presses forward and presses Van Steenis into the fence; however, it’s van Steenis who gets the takedown. Babene looking for a triangle. Van Steenis defends well and gives Babene a small slam to keep his defenses up. Van Steenis trying to work Babene over with strikes from up top, even battling Babene’s guard. Van Steenis gets locked in a triangle choke, but he escapes and gets into a north-south position.


Van Steenis transitions into side control. Short shots to the head from van Steenis. Van Steenis threatens an Americana lock, trying to take a hold of the arm. Babene answers by trying to get butterfly guard back, but van Steenis finds his way back into side control. Van Steenis wrestles through Babene’s transitions and looks to take the back. Van Steenis lands several hard strikes to the head. Babene gets back to the feet. Babene tries to swing away, but van Steenis scores a body lock and presses Babene against the fence. Van Steenis misses a spinning back fist before the bell.



Round 2


Front kick by van Steenis. Combination from van Steenis. Low kick from van Steenis. Low kick from Babene. Low kicks from van Steenis. Kick to the body from van Steenis. Low kick from Babene. Front kick from van Steenis, but he misses the follow-up right hand. Low kick from Babene. High kick by van Steenis with Babene’s back to the fence, and van Steenis scores a takedown. Babene tries to get in a choke with his arm around the neck of van Steenis, but van Steenis counters and gets into side control. Van Steenis looks for his own choke and he gets the tap with the Von Flue!



Costello van Steenis now could be in the near future of Bellator middleweight champion Johnny Eblen!





Costello van Steenis defeats Gregory Babene by 2nd round submission (Von Flue Choke) in a middleweight #1 contender fight