Chidi Njokuani moves up to middleweight for Bellator return on Dec. 1

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Chidi Njokuani ended a seven-fight win streak in August. USATSI

With a history of recent trouble making 170 pounds, Chidi Njokuani will officially make the move up to middleweight for his return at Bellator 189.

Njokuani (17-5) will take on Hisaki Kato (8-2) on Dec. 1 in a 185-pound bout at WinStar Resort and Casino. A Bellator MMA official confirmed the news to CBS Sports on Tuesday. 

A native of Dallas, Njokuani snapped a nine-fight unbeaten streak in August when he was stopped by former Bellator welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov. But that fight was moved to a catchweight of 175 pounds the day before when Njokuani weighed in four pounds over. 

Njokuani, 28, who suffered his first defeat under the Bellator banner, also forfeited a portion of his fight purse for coming in over the welterweight limit. The fight marked the sixth time in as many years that Njokuani either missed weight or competed in a catchweight bout. 

Kato, 35, a French native of Japanese descent, turned pro just four years ago and has also competed for Bellator's kickboxing promotion. He enters the bout on a three-fight win streak in MMA, dating back to his 2015 knockout loss to Melvin Manhoef. Kato also owns separate knockout victories within one year of each other over Joe Schilling in both MMA and kickboxing. 

The card is headlined by the previously announced women's featherweight title match between Julia Budd (10-2) and Arlene Biencowe (10-6). Budd, who stopped Marloes Coenen in March to capture the inaugural 145-pound title, claimed a majority decision over Biencowe in their first meeting last October. 

In addition to Budd-Biencowe II, Bellator 189 will feature a co-main event of middleweights Chris Honeycutt (10-1) and Rafael Lovato Jr. (6-0). 

CBS Sports Insider

Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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