Bellator recently announced a number of the bouts for the upcoming Bellator 223 and Bellator 224 events. Here are the newest struggles, along with my thoughts on the new matchups under:
Gegard Mousasi vs. Rafael Lovato Jr., Bellator 223
Bellator 223 occurs June 22 at SSE Arena 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 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 has been added 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 before that. He hasn’t won as 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 in 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 fighting to win his last couple of fights, he should 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 well 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 off of a TKO win over Justin Smitley. Even though Gallagher is overrated, he must nevertheless be preferred to win this fight.
Melvin Manhoef vs. Kent Kauppinen, Bellator 223
Middleweights Melvin Manhoef and Kent Kauppinen also meet at Bellator 223. Manhoef (30-14-1, two 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 record in Bellator. Kauppinen (11-4) is just 1-1 in Bellator but he is coming off of a KO win over Alessio Sakara that was a breakthrough functionality for him. Despite Manhoef’s edge in experience, you have to prefer the younger and more durable fighter here in Kauppinen.
Julia Budd vs. Olga Rubin, Bellator 224
And lastly, Bellator 224 takes place July 12 at WinStar Resort Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma and the main 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 submission defeat to Ronda Rousey way back in 2011. She’ll be coming into this fight off of a one-year layoff as she has not competed since 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 4-0 in Bellator, though her level of competition was sub-par, to say the least. Still, she obtained this title shot because of her perfect album and since there’s no one else worthy of battling Budd, that will undoubtedly be a huge favored to win the battle.
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