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UPDATES TO BELLATOR 223 AND BELLATOR 224 INCLUDING RETURN OF JULIA BUDD

Bellator recently announced some of the bouts for the approaching Bellator 223 and also Bellator 224 events. Here are the new fights, along with my thoughts on the new matchups under:
Gegard Mousasi vs. Rafael Lovato Jr., Bellator 223
Bellator 223 takes place June 22 in 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 struggle 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 has been inserted 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 with a decision loss to Jon Fitch before 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 in his promotional debut. 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 must be favored 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 furious KO loss to Ricky Bandejas using a submission win over Stephen Graham his out time. Labiano (12-6) is 2-2 overall in Bellator and is coming off of a TKO win over Justin Smitley. Although Gallagher is overrated, he should nevertheless 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, two NC) is currently 42-years-old currently and is coming from consecutive losses to former champ Rafael Carvalho. His last win was a knockout victory over Hisaki Kato back in 2015, and overall he has a 2-3, 1 NC album in Bellator. Kauppinen (11-4) is just 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 favor the younger and more durable fighter here in Kauppinen.
Julia Budd vs. Olga Rubin, Bellator 224
And lastly, Bellator 224 takes place July 12 in 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 has not lost since a entry defeat to Ronda Rousey way back in 2011. She’ll be coming into this fight from a one-year layoff because she has not competed since 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 has been sub-par, to say the very least. However, she received this title taken because of her perfect album and because there’s no one else worthy of battling Budd, that will no doubt be a massive favored to win the battle.
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