Bellator recently announced a number of the bouts for the upcoming Bellator 223 and also Bellator 224 events. Here are the new fights, Together with my thoughts on the new matchups below:
Gegard Mousasi vs. Rafael Lovato Jr., Bellator 223
Bellator 223 occurs June 22 in SSE Stadium in London, England, and the major event sees Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi taking on Rafael Lovato Jr.. Read my thoughts on this struggle in a former edition of this MMA odds and endings.
Paul Daley vs. Erick Silva, Bellator 223
An intriguing welterweight bout between Paul Daley and Erick Silva was added to Bellator 223. Daley (40-17-2) is currently 5-4 in Bellator and is coming from 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 debut. His last win came in July 2018 over Nick Barnes in LFA. Though Silva has a puncher’s chance, he’s a shell of his former self, and despite Daley fighting to win his last couple of fights, he must be chosen to win this bout.
James Gallagher vs. Jeremiah Labiano, Bellator 223
Featherweights James Gallagher and Jeremiah Labiano will fight Bellator 223. Gallagher (8-1) has a 5-1 record in Bellator and rebounded nicely from his furious KO loss to Ricky Bandejas using a submission win over Stephen Graham his last time out. Labiano (12-6) is 2-2 overall in Bellator and is coming from a TKO win over Justin Smitley. Even though Gallagher is overrated, he must still be favored to win this battle.
Melvin Manhoef vs. Kent Kauppinen, Bellator 223
Middleweights Melvin Manhoef and Kent Kauppinen also meet at Bellator 223. Manhoef (30-14-1, 2 NC) is 42-years-old now and is coming from successive losses to former champ Rafael Carvalho. His last win was a knockout victory over Hisaki Kato back in 2015, and he has a 2-3, 1 NC record 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 functionality for him. Despite Manhoef’s edge in experience, you have to favor 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 contrary to Olga Rubin. Budd (12-2) has a perfect 6-0 record in Bellator and has not lost since a entry defeat to Ronda Rousey way back in 2011. She will be coming to this fight from a one-year layoff as she hasn’t competed because a TKO win over Talita Nogueira past July, however, Budd remains 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 level of competition has been sub-par, to say the very least. Still, she obtained this name shot because of her perfect record and because there’s no one else worthy of fighting Budd, that will no doubt be a huge favorite to win the fight.
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