Bellator’s fourth event of the calendar year goes down on Friday, Mar. 31. Bellator 293 currently features seventeen bouts, with a combination of rising prospects and ranked contenders. The event takes place inside the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California.
In the main event, ranked heavyweights Daniel James (No. 7) and Marcelo Golm (No. 5) look to separate themselves from the rest of the division. Both fighters hold a 2-0 promotional record, with James last fighting Tyrell Fortune in Nov. 2022, and Golm taking out Davion Franklin in Jul. 2022.
The co-main event will determine the next title challenger for Cris “Cyborg” Justino’s featherweight championship. Cat Zingano looks to extend her 3-0 promotional record by taking out submission specialist Leah McCourt.
Bellator 293 also has plenty of homegrown talent, including Joey Davis, Lucas Brennan, Lance Gibson Jr, Sullivan Cauley, and more. Other fights to watch are Jaleel Willis vs. Rustam Khabilov, John Salter vs. Aaron Jeffery, Adam Piccolotti vs. Mandel Nallo, and Archie Colgan vs. Justin Montalvo.
The Bellator 293 preliminary card airs live on YouTube starting at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the main card on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET. Check out the full preview and predictions below.
Marcelo Golm enters his showdown with Daniel James on a four-fight winning streak; can the Brazilian make it five in a row?
Marcelo Golm and Daniel James are intriguing heavyweights who still have a lot to prove before fighting for a title. On one side, Golm is an American Top Team fighter who is mostly a grappler. In his last fight, the Brazilian showcased his cardio by outlasting Davion Franklin to secure a late third-round submission.
Meanwhile, James is a massive heavyweight who cuts down to make the weight limit. There are positives and negatives with his size. ‘The American Predator’ possesses the power to eliminate his opponents, but his gas tank can be questionable. The 41-year-old had an impressive second-round TKO against Tyrell Fortune last time out.
Golm does a good job at racking up control time and breaking his opponents down in the clinch. At Bellator 293, the ATT fighter needs to ensure he’s not carrying the weight of James against the fence, which could drain his gas tank. Golm needs to continue moving and ensure he doesn’t end up on his back. Although James has dangerous power, the Brazilian should be able to expose his opponent’s gas tank and secure a finish in the second or third round.
Cat Zingano is undefeated since signing with Bellator; does the former UFC star keep rolling by defeating Leah McCourt?
Since joining Bellator in 2020, Cat Zingano has struggled at times, but always emerged victorious. The 40-year-old is coming off a win against Pam Sorenson in Jun. 2022, where she used her fight IQ and experience to win by unanimous decision.
When it comes to Leah McCourt, it’s difficult to predict what’s going to happen. There are times when she looks like a potential world champion, and other times looks one-dimensional with little hope when the fight stays standing. ‘The Curse’ holds a 6-1 Bellator record, with her only loss coming against Sinead Kavanagh in Feb. 2022.
McCourt deserves respect for her success in Bellator, but she has a tough fight coming against Zingano. Despite slowing down athletically, ‘Alpha’ is still a well-rounded fighter who can make adjustments as the fight goes on. The former UFC fighter should be able to secure a title shot with a unanimous decision win on Mar. 31.
John Salter has lost two straight fights heading into his fight with Aaron Jeffery; can the former title challenger right the ship this weekend?
John Salter has lost his last two fights against elite competition – Gegard Mousasi and Johnny Eblen. The 38-year-old’s only other loss in Bellator came against the undefeated former champion, and Aaron Jeffrey’s coach, Rafael Lovato Jr. Other than those three losses, he’s defeated every contender and rising prospect put in front of him.
Jeffery is looking to give Salter his fourth Bellator loss after putting the division on notice with a first-round knockout against Austin Vanderford. Jeffery has struggled to show his full potential at times, but he gets another opportunity to silence the doubters at Bellator 293.
The game plan for Salter is likely to get this fight to the ground. Jeffery is not a high-volume striker, but he’s fundamentally sound and can take out anyone in the Bellator middleweight division. Unless Salter can rack up control time, Jeffery should be able to pick his shots well and cruise to a unanimous decision win.
Which fight is the sleeper match-up on this card?
This was a tough decision, because there are several fights to watch, including Sullivan Cauley vs. Luke Trainer and Adam Piccolotti vs. Mandel Nallo. With that said, the Bellator 293 sleeper match-up is a lightweight bout between Archie Colgan vs. Justin Montalvo. Colgan (6-0) and Montalvo (5-0) are undefeated prospects with one decision win on each of their records.
Colgan is a training partner of Kamaru Usman and Justin Gaethje under the supervision of Trevor Wittman, while Montalvo works with Matt Serra and Ray Longo at Longo and Weidman MMA. There is also a contrast in styles. Colgan has a wrestling background, and Montalvo is a dangerous striker. The winner at Bellator 293 will take one step closer to their goal of earning Bellator gold.
|Main Card (Showtime, 10 p.m. ET)|
|HW: Marcelo Golm vs. Daniel James||Golm|
|Women’s FW: Cat Zingano vs. Leah McCourt||Zingano|
|MW: John Salter vs. Aaron Jeffery||Jeffery|
|WW: Jaleel Willis vs. Rustam Khabilov||Khabilov|
|LHW: Sullivan Cauley vs. Luke Trainer||Cauley|
|Preliminary Card (YouTube, 7 p.m. ET)|
|LW: Adam Piccolotti vs. Mandel Nallo||Piccolotti|
|LW: Archie Colgan vs. Justin Montalvo||Colgan|
|WW: Joey Davis vs. Jeff Creighton||Davis|
|FW: Lucas Brennan vs. Josh San Diego||Brennan|
|LW: Lance Gibson Jr. vs. Vladimir Tokov||Gibson Jr|
|Women’s FW: Pam Sorenson vs. Sara Collins||Sorenson|
|HW: Christian Edwards vs. Rakim Cleveland||Edwards|
|LW: Mike Hamel vs. Nick Browne||Hamel|
|Women’s CatchW (120 lbs.): Randi Field vs. Ashley Cummins||Field|
|BW: Bryce Meredith vs. Brandon Carillo|
|Women’s StrawW: Maria Henderson vs. Mackenzie Stiller||Henderson|