Bellator recently announced a number of the bouts for the approaching Bellator 223 and also Bellator 224 events. Here are the new struggles, Together with my thoughts on the new matchups under:
Gegard Mousasi vs. Rafael Lovato Jr., Bellator 223
Bellator 223 occurs June 22 in SSE Stadium in London, England, and the main event sees Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi carrying on Rafael Lovato Jr.. Read my thoughts on this fight in a former edition of this MMA odds and ends here.
Paul Daley vs. Erick Silva, Bellator 223
A fascinating welterweight bout between Paul Daley and Erick Silva has been inserted to Bellator 223. Daley (40-17-2) is 5-4 at Bellator and is coming off of a close decision loss to Michael Page with a decision loss to Jon Fitch before that. He hasn’t won since a KO win over Lorenz Larkin in September 2017. Silva (20-10, 1 NC) is 0-1 in Bellator, having lost by decision to Yaroslav Amosov within his promotional introduction. His last win came in July 2018 over Nick Barnes in LFA. Although Silva has a puncher’s chance, he’s a shell of his former self, and despite Daley struggling to win his last few fights, he must be chosen to win this bout.
James Gallagher vs. Jeremiah Labiano, Bellator 223
Featherweights James Gallagher and Jeremiah Labiano will fight at Bellator 223. Gallagher (8-1) has a 5-1 record in Bellator and rebounded nicely from his upset KO loss to Ricky Bandejas with a submission win over Stephen Graham his last time out. Labiano (12-6) is 2-2 total in Bellator and is coming from a TKO win over Justin Smitley. Although Gallagher is overrated, he should still be preferred to win this battle.
Melvin Manhoef vs. Kent Kauppinen, Bellator 223
Middleweights Melvin Manhoef and Kent Kauppinen also fulfill at Bellator 223. Manhoef (30-14-1, 2 NC) is 42-years-old now and is coming from consecutive losses to former champ Rafael Carvalho. His final win was a knockout victory over Hisaki Kato back in 2015, and he has a 2-3, 1 NC album in Bellator. Kauppinen (11-4) is only 1-1 in Bellator but he is coming off of a KO win over Alessio Sakara which was a breakthrough performance for him. Despite Manhoef’s edge in experience, you have to prefer the younger and more lasting fighter in Kauppinen.
Julia Budd vs. Olga Rubin, Bellator 224
And finally, Bellator 224 takes place July 12 at WinStar Resort Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma and the primary event features Bellator women’s featherweight champion Julia Budd against Olga Rubin. Budd (12-2) has a perfect 6-0 record in Bellator and hasn’t lost since a entry defeat to Ronda Rousey way back in 2011. She will be coming into this fight from a one-year layoff as she has not competed because a TKO win over Talita Nogueira last July, however, Budd is still one of the most formidable women’s featherweights in the world irrespective of any layoff. Rubin (6-0) is currently 4-0 in Bellator, though her degree of competition was sub-par, to say the least. However, she obtained this title taken because of her perfect record and because there’s no one else worthy of fighting Budd, who will no doubt be a massive favorite to win the fight.
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