Bellator MMA is set for a doubleheader, with Bellator Dublin and Bellator 227 sharing the same stage on Friday, Sept. 27, at the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland.
The Bellator Dublin headliner is a catchweight fight at 140 pounds between Roman Salazar and James Gallagher. Gallagher will once again fight on home soil and seeks to continue his two-fight winning streak. Salazar enters this fight after going 1-3 in his last four fights. Salazar lost to Mario Israel at Legacy Fighting Alliance 72 in July.
The co-main event for the Bellator Dublin card will have human highlight-reel Michael “Venom” Page make his return to the cage against Richard Kiely. Page took his first career loss in his last fight, where he was knocked out of the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix by former champion Douglas Lima. Kiely made his Bellator debut with a first-round finish against Mickael Bucher.
Bellator 227’s main event features two former UFC veterans as Myles Jury takes on former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson. Jury is making his Bellator debut after losing his last two fights inside the UFC. Henderson has seemingly turned around his fortunes after a tumultuous start to his Bellator career and currently rides a three-fight winning streak.
The Bellator 227 co-headliner is a catchweight affair between Kiefer Crosbie and Hugo Pereira. Crosbie suffered his first professional loss in his last fight when he threw an illegal knee against Mike Jackson. Pereira hasn’t fought in almost a year. The Portuguese fighter suffered a decision loss in his last outing.
The Bellator Dublin preliminary card airs at 11:30 a.m. ET on Bellator.com. The main card will air on the Paramount Network at 5:05 p.m. ET. Bellator 227 follows on the Paramount Network at 9 p.m. ET.
Myles Jury is set to make his Bellator debut after a lengthy run with the UFC. How will he fare against former UFC champion Benson Henderson?
Jury is one of those fighters that came off [i]The Ultimate Fighter[/i] and had a world of potential, but he never quite came close to hitting it. Henderson, the former UFC lightweight champion, has enjoyed the type of career arc that Jury should have duplicated. Now, here we are, with both fighters under the Bellator banner.
Jury moves back up to the lightweight division, and the extra weight should help him. Even though he has been fighting in a lower weight class, Jury still has a size and reach advantage over Henderson. He hasn’t looked the best over his last couple of fights, though, with losses to both Andre Fili and Chad Mendes to close out his UFC tenure. Jury is a grappler, but he has some solid striking, too. He has time and time again utilized his size and reach very effectively, especially against smaller fighters.
Henderson has turned the corner since his shaky start with Bellator. The former UFC champ has now rattled off three straight victories. He barely got past Adam Piccolotti in his last fight, but he was able to take the split decision.
Henderson can hold his own on the feet, but he has been struggling to overcome larger opponents in the Bellator cage. Despite Jury’s background as a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Henderson will want to take this fight to the ground. This will nullify the size disadvantage Henderson faces in this fight, similar to how Mendes overcame an even larger size discrepancy against Jury. However, Jury should have enough in the bag to not only keep the fight standing, but to really show that his striking is something to be feared. It won’t end in a finish, but Jury will win this contest.
The other high-profile fights reside further down the lineup as the top-billed contests for the European Series portion of the event. James Gallagher headlines against Roman Salazar, and Michael Page holds down the co-main slot opposite Richard Kiely. Which Bellator star is most likely to experience a setback this weekend?
Gallagher and Page are two fighters that Bellator would like to keep building up. While neither fighter is all that likely to suffer a loss this weekend, Gallagher is at a bigger risk.
Both Gallagher and Page have just one loss on their respective records, but Gallagher’s loss came against competition he should have beaten. Page suffered his defeat at the hands of Douglas Lima, a former Bellator welterweight champion. The 22-year-old Gallagher, on the other hand, fell to Ricky Bandejas.
If Gallagher does lose this fight, it will be due to Salazar’s ability to draw him into a brawl. Bandejas was able to lure Gallagher into a stand-and-trade war and hand the Irishman a loss. Salazar has to utilize the same strategy. Gallagher is a very good, well-rounded fighter, but if his opponent makes him pick up the pace, get aggressive, and turn cocky in the striking exchanges, then he leaves openings for that opponent to score points or a stoppage. There’s one problem, though: Salazar isn’t as good as Bandejas.
In reality, these fights are designed to prevent both men from suffering a setback. Page only loses if Kiely brings the fight to the ground. It’s an obvious, glaring hole in Page’s game. However, Kiely isn’t the quality of a fighter to do that repeatedly and take Page out of his game. The same holds true for Salazar against Gallagher.
Which fight is the sleeper match-up on this card?
Blaine O’Driscoll and Jake Hadley.
O’Driscoll has secured a rear-naked choke in his last three victories, which have come in promotions like BAMMA and Cage Warriors. These are some of the best regional promotions in Europe. Only two of the flyweight’s seven victories have gone to the scorecards. Three of Hadley’s four victories have also come before the final bell. While he hasn’t fought at the same level as O’Driscoll, Hadley is still off to an undefeated start to his career.
Bellator 227 (Paramount Network, 9 p.m. ET)
LW: Benson Henderson vs. Myles Jury
Catchweight (165 pounds): Kiefer Crosbie vs. Hugo Pereira
Women’s FW: Leah McCourt vs. Kerry Hughes
BW: Frans Mlambo vs. Dominique Wooding
MW: Norbert Novenyi Jr. vs. Will Fleury
Bellator Dublin Main Card (Paramount Network, 5:05 p.m. ET)
Catchweight (140 pounds): James Gallagher vs. Roman Salazar
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