Bellator will return to Dublin, Ireland for the second time in 2022 on Friday, Sep. 23. The fight card currently features 13 matchups that include several Ireland natives. The 3Arena will be quite the scene for Bellator 285 as the loyal Irish fans show why they are arguably the most supportive fanbase in the world.
In the main event, Peter Queally has fought in Dublin for three of his four Bellator fights and will add a fourth appearance against Benson Henderson. At 38 years old, Henderson is not the fighter he once was, but a split-decision win against Islam Mamedov in Jan. 2022 shows he still has more in the tank.
The co-main event displays two fighters who have denied father time by continuing to fight at a high level past their 45th birthdays. Yoel Romero, 45, looks to ride his momentum with win against Melvin Manhoef, 46, who hasn’t fought in nearly two years and is considering retirement.
Bellator 285 is well-represented with Irish talent as Ciaran Clarke, Kenny Mokhonoana, Darragh Kelly, Brian Moore, and Karl Moore represent the home crowd. The fight card also features the return of Brett Johns and a potential banger between Mads Burnell and Pedro Carvalho.
The Bellator 285 preliminary card airs live on Bellator’s YouTube channel starting at 1 p.m. ET with the main card following on Showtime at 4 p.m. ET. Check out the full preview and predictions below.
Benson Henderson snapped a three-fight losing streak in his last fight; does he make it back-to-back victories by defeating Peter Queally?
Henderson would probably be unbeatable for Queally in their respective primes. Luckily for “The Showstopper,” two factors could have a massive effect at Bellator 285. Firstly, “Smooth” is 38 years old and seems to be slowing down. Also, the Dublin crowd tends to give Queally an extra boost on fight night.
That said, Henderson picked up a crucial win last fight against Mamedov (21-2-1) after losing three straight. If Smooth can avoid Queally making the fight dirty, he has the technical advantage to pick the hometown favorite apart and win on the judge’s scorecards. Meanwhile, Queally needs to make this fight a brawl and capitalize on potential openings to put Henderson away.
Two hard-hitting veterans square off in the co-main event as Yoel Romero takes on Melvin Manhoef; does this fight make it out of the first round?
You never know what to expect from Romero and Manhoef, even in their mid-40s. Romero scored his first Bellator win four months ago against Alex Polizzi while breaking his opponent down brutally. On the contrary, Manhoef lost in 2020 to Corey Anderson and hasn’t returned since. The time is now for both fighters to show what they have left.
Romero and Manhoef were supposed to fight at Bellator 280, but “No Mercy” pulled out with a hand injury. Romero gained momentum against his replacement opponent Polizzi and now looks to keep it going with another win inside the distance. Both fighters will come out swinging, so Romero having fewer fights and being more active should lead to a first-round finish.
Leah McCourt lost her last fight, which also took place in Dublin; does she have more success this time around?
Earlier this year, McCourt had the opportunity for a breakout performance at Bellator 275. She ultimately lost when Sinead Kavanagh fought through a leg injury to score a gritty decision win. Now it’s time for “The Curse” to potentially bounce back against Dayana Silva.
McCourt needs to get this fight to the ground. Silva is a gritty fighter with solid power that draws some comparisons to Kavanagh. The Brazilian has ground skills, but McCourt’s sneaky submissions could get the job done. Silva is a bad matchup for McCourt and should win by decision, unless she makes a mistake and gets submitted.
Which fight is the sleeper match-up on this card?
There are several low-key fights to keep an eye on at Bellator 285, but Dante Schiro vs. Luca Poclit could steal the show. Poclit lost his pro-MMA debut and then rattled off seven straight wins, the last four being inside the distance. He will be making his Bellator debut against Schiro.
Meanwhile, Schiro is 28 years old, finished eight of his nine wins, and lost a split decision last year to current Bellator champion Logan Storley. Both fighters have racked up some experience and now look to make a name for themselves in the welterweight division. With their tendencies to finish fights, this is the matchup to watch on the preliminary card.
Main Card (Showtime, 4 p.m. ET)
LW: Benson Henderson vs. Peter Queally
LHW: Yoel Romero vs. Melvin Manhoef
FW: Mads Burnell vs. Pedro Carvalho
Women’s FW: Leah McCourt vs. Dayana Silva
FW: Ciaran Clarke vs. Georges Sasu
Preliminary Card (YouTube, 1 p.m. ET)
LW: Darragh Kelly vs. Kye Stevens
LW: Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Kane Mousah
FW: Kenny Mokhonoana vs. Alex Bodnar
MW: Luca Poclit vs. Dante Schiro
BW: Brett Johns vs. Jordan Winski
FW: Asael Adjoudj vs. Jordan Barton
BW: Brian Moore vs. Arivaldo Lima Da Silva
LHW: Karl Albrektsson vs. Karl Moore
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