Levan Chokheli is the fighter to watch at Bellator 294.
Bellator returns to Hawaii this weekend for a two-day event, with fight nights on both Friday and Saturday. Friday night, Georgia's Levan Chokheli looks to go on his first win streak since 2020 in a matchup against Michael Lombardo.
Chokheli joined Bellator with an undefeated record, going 8-0 and finishing every fight before the final bell, though his opponents combined records were 9-16 with five of them making their pro debuts. Chokheli has alternated wins and losses in his four fights with Bellator, suffering a loss to Kyle Crutchmer in his debut and a submission loss to ace Goiti Yamauchi in a big step up in competition. Chokheli's wins have come against Vinicius de Jesus and most recently Roman Faraldo, who suffered his first loss at the hands of Chokheli at Bellator 288.
Levan Chokheli takes on Michael Lombardo in a pivotal welterweight matchup at Bellator 294
Both Chokheli and Michael Lombardo are looking to make it two in a row, Lombardo was originally linked to fighting former title challenger Neiman Gracie in February but was canceled. American Top Team's Lombardo is a veteran of many promotions including Titan Fighting Championship and Professional Fighters League, also being featured on Dana White's Contender Series twice.
Lombardo fought at Bellator MMA Series: Miami in 2017, going 4-0 after that and appearing on DWCS in 2019. Lombardo would get another shot on DWCS a year later, but wouldn't receive a contract. After a one-fight stint in the PFL, Lombardo signed to Bellator and has been 1-1, also losing to Crutchmer, but most recently knocking out Mark Lemminger at Bellator 289.
Chokheli is looking to make a jump into the rankings, and with both fighters basically identical in height and reach, Chokheli will look to avoid the power of Lombardo. Chokheli and Lombardo will kick off the main card, setting the tone for the rest of the night.