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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 Bellator 224 occasions. 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 Arena in London, England, and the major event sees Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi carrying on Rafael Lovato Jr.. Read my thoughts on this fight in a previous edition of the MMA odds and endings.
Paul Daley vs. Erick Silva, Bellator 223
An intriguing 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 with a decision loss to Jon Fitch prior to 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 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 should be chosen 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 from a TKO win over Justin Smitley. Although Gallagher is overrated, he must 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 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 only 1-1 in Bellator but he’s 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 occurs 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 hasn’t lost since a entry defeat to Ronda Rousey way back in 2011. She’ll be coming into this fight from a one-year layoff as she hasn’t competed since a TKO win over Talita Nogueira past July, however, Budd remains one of the most formidable women’s featherweights in the world regardless of any layoff. Rubin (6-0) is 4-0 in Bellator, though her degree of competition has been 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 battling Budd, that will no doubt be a massive favorite to win the fight.
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