Bellator recently announced some of the bouts for the upcoming Bellator 223 and Bellator 224 events. Here are the newest struggles, Together with my thoughts on the new matchups below:
Gegard Mousasi vs. Rafael Lovato Jr., Bellator 223
Bellator 223 takes place June 22 at 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 fight in a former edition of this MMA odds and ends here.
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 at Bellator and is coming off of a close decision loss to Michael Page using a decision loss to Jon Fitch prior to that. He has not 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 within his promotional debut. His last win came in July 2018 over Nick Barnes in LFA. Although Silva has a puncher’s chance, he is a shell of his former self, and despite Daley struggling to win his last few fights, he must be favored 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 out time. 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 currently and is coming off of successive 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 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 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 contrary to 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 battle off of a one-year layoff as she has not competed because a TKO win over Talita Nogueira past July, however, Budd is still one of the most formidable women’s featherweights in the world irrespective of any layoff. Rubin (6-0) is 4-0 in Bellator, although her level of competition was sub-par, to say the least. Still, she obtained this name shot because of her perfect record and since there’s no one else worthy of fighting Budd, who will undoubtedly be a huge favorite to win the fight.
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