Bellator recently announced some of the bouts for the approaching Bellator 223 and Bellator 224 occasions. Here are the new fights, Together with my thoughts on the new matchups under:
Gegard Mousasi vs. Rafael Lovato Jr., Bellator 223
Bellator 223 takes place June 22 at SSE Stadium in London, England, and the main event sees Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi taking on Rafael Lovato Jr.. Read my thoughts on this fight in a previous edition of the MMA odds and ends here.
Paul Daley vs. Erick Silva, Bellator 223
A fascinating welterweight bout between Paul Daley and Erick Silva was inserted to Bellator 223. Daley (40-17-2) is 5-4 in Bellator and is coming from a close decision loss to Michael Page using a decision loss to Jon Fitch prior to that. He has not 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. Though Silva has a puncher’s chance, he is a shell of his former self, and even though Daley fighting 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 struggle Bellator 223. Gallagher (8-1) has a 5-1 record in Bellator and rebounded nicely from his furious KO loss to Ricky Bandejas with a submission win over Stephen Graham his out time. Labiano (12-6) is 2-2 total in Bellator and is coming off of a TKO win over Justin Smitley. Even though Gallagher is overrated, he should nevertheless be favored 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 currently 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 record in Bellator. Kauppinen (11-4) is only 1-1 in Bellator but he is coming from a KO win over Alessio Sakara that was a breakthrough performance for him. Despite Manhoef’s edge in experience, you have to favor the younger and more lasting fighter here in Kauppinen.
Julia Budd vs. Olga Rubin, Bellator 224
And lastly, Bellator 224 occurs 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 because 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, although her level of competition was sub-par, to say the very least. Still, she obtained this title taken because of her perfect record and since there’s no one else worthy of fighting Budd, that will undoubtedly be a massive favorite to win the battle.
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