Maui’s Zach Zane and Nick Newell will finally get a chance to face off in the Bellator cage at the end of the month.
The lightweight showdown has been re-booked for Bellator 250 on Oct. 29 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., seven months after the two were supposed to fight at Bellator 241.
The cancelation of the original bout came in the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. Back in March, the event was canceled just hours before the showdown was set to take place.
“It was super shocking. Very unexpected, unplanned. We did the whole ceremony of weigh-ins and what not, we had eye to eye. We shared that moment just knowing that we were going to fight each other that next day and they called it off the day of our fight,” Zane told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello. “I actually got a DM from Nick Newell the day of our fight and he was saying to me that our fight was off, and I was like, ‘I think we’re just not fighting in front of a crowd,’ but then all the posts from the (Bellator) president happened, everything happened so fast and then just like that, it was done.”
Zane (14-9) is looking to build upon an extremely successful Bellator debut where back in December, he scored a unanimous decision victory over then-undefeated Nainoa Dung at the Neal Blaisdell Center. Although as a veteran in the sport knowing full well that nothing is promised in the world of MMA, he was confident that the organization wouldn’t proceed without the matchup taking place.
“Honestly, I just took Rich Chou’s word, the matchmaker for Bellator. I didn’t know when but I believe that me and Nick were still going to do it but I didn’t know if it was going to be months, weeks, or even a year because of this whole pandemic,” Zane said. “I just had to keep my faith strong through everything that was happening. I just look at my kids every day and how could I not try to be better?
“Mind, body, and soul, I just needed to keep progressing, and keep evolving. I can’t have this pandemic or anything stop me or slow me down.”
Newell (16-3) is coming off of a split decision loss to Manny Muro at Bellator 232 last October. “Notorious” is 1-1 with Bellator so far after joining the promotion with wins in four of his previous five bouts. Much like Zane’s previous opponent, Newell is considered a rising star in the company and brings much attention to any matchup, having been born with a congenital amputation leading to a much publicized journey into professional MMA after a successful wrestling career.
“I have a lot of respect for Nick. We have that shared respect and I’m really looking forward to competing. We’re both humble, we’re both proud. There’s just a lot of respect. Both sides. We’ll both be ready. I can’t wait,” said Zane.
Bellator 250, which takes place on Oct. 29, will be televised on CBS Sports Network at 1:30pm HST.