Former USA Wrestling World Team member Pat Downey will make his MMA debut at Bellator 284 on August 12th. He faces Jeff Souder, also making his professional MMA debut, in a middleweight bout.
Souder went 1-1 during a stint with Bare Knuckle Boxing and holds a 2-2 amateur MMA record.
Downey was originally scheduled to fight at Bellator 277 against Daniel Compton but was forced to withdraw due to a skin disease.
He competed at the 2019 World Freestyle Wrestling Championships, representing the United States in the 86-kilogram weight class, after winning the Dave Schultz Memorial International and US Open tournaments that year. He also was a Division 1 NCAA All-American for Iowa State in 2016.
Pat Downey is the Latest in an Elite List of NCAA Wrestlers to Join Bellator
The Bellator middleweight Division is not short on fighters with wrestling accolades. Current champion Johnny Eblen was an NCAA qualifier for the University of Missouri in 2015. 4-0 fighter Jordan Newman was a two-time Division 3 NCAA champion for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
It is also a division that is desperate for a new contender. Johnny Eblen’s domination of Gegard Mousasi leaves a large question mark as to who is next, and despite Downey only making his professional MMA debut, he could make a rise into the rankings quicker than most.
Bellator 284 takes place on August 12th, and will also feature:
Neiman Gracie vs. Goiti Yamauchi (Welterweight Main Event)
Valentin Moldavsky vs. Steve Mowry
Bruna Ellen vs. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane
Anthony Adams vs. Austin Vanderford
Gokhan Saricam vs. Said Sowma
Josh Hill vs. Matheus Mattos
DeAnna Bennett vs. Justine Kish
Sarvadzhon Khamidov vs. Jared Scoggins
Pat Downey vs. Jeff Souder
Mark Currier vs. Bailey Shoenfelder
Mitchell McKee vs. Tony Ortega
Featured image credit to TrackWrestling.com