Logan Storley (Dave Mandel/Combat Press)

Bellator 298: Storley vs. Ward Preview and Predictions

On Friday, Aug. 11, Bellator returns to the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. for the first time in 2023. The Scott Coker-run promotion has assembled an action-packed fight card featuring 17 matchups between title contenders, rising superstars, and new prospects.

In the Bellator 298 main event, Logan Storley and Brennan Ward will meet for a five-round clash of styles. The top-ranked welterweights had polar opposite results in their last fights.

Second-ranked Storley is coming off a loss against Yaroslav Amasov for the title, while seventh-ranked Ward is riding a three-fight winning streak, all inside the distance, since returning from a four-and-a-half-year layoff.


The co-main event of the evening is a heavyweight rematch between Steve Mowry and Valentin Moldavsky. They fought in August 2022, with No. 2 Moldavsky accidentally poking No. 3 Mowry in the eye, leading to a no-contest after less than a minute into the first round.

Bellator 298 contains several other highly-intriguing matchups, including James Gallagher vs. James Gonzalez, Dalton Rosta vs. Aaron Jeffery, and Alfie Davis vs. Aalon Cruz.

The Bellator 298: Storley vs. Ward preliminary airs live on YouTube starting at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by the main card on Showtime starting at 10 p.m. ET. Check out the full preview and predictions below.

Brennan Ward has gone 3-0 since returning to action; can he make it four straight wins and defeat Logan Storley?

Brennan Ward overcame drug addiction to end a four-and-a-half-year layoff from fighting. Since returning to Bellator, the 35-year-old has secured three consecutive knockouts, including a second-round knockout against Sabah Homasi in February. “Rush” now looks to potentially earn a title shot by taking out Logan Storley at Bellator 298.

Ward will have his work cut out on Friday night, as Storley is a nightmare stylistic matchup for strikers. The former University of Minnesota wrestler has a grappling skillset that can negate his opponents, which could lead to Ward’s winning streak ending.

Ward has reliable takedown defense, but Storley’s relentless grappling attacks will likely be an issue. Unless Ward can secure a first-round knockout, “Storm” Storley should be able to take over in the last three rounds to win by unanimous decision.

Valentin Moldavsky was stopped for the first time ever in his last fight; how does the Russian standout look against Steve Mowry as he tries to get back to his winning ways?

Steve Mowry and Valentin Moldavsky didn’t get an opportunity to execute their game plans when they fought in 2022. Since then, both heavyweight fighters struggled in the fights following the no-contest. Mowry fought to a draw against Ali Isaev in February, while Moldavsky lost in the first round against Linton Vassell in March.

Mowry and Moldavsky have a similar skill set, with the latter arguably having a slight advantage in the striking department. If the fight stays standing, Mowry can’t be counted out, but Moldavsky should be able to outpoint him. If the fight goes to the ground, it’ll come down to who ends up on top, as both fighters haven’t been impressive off their back.

Mowry showed some striking improvements in his last fight against Isaev. With that said, the 31-year-old’s bread and butter is still his ground-and-pound and submissions. Moldavsky will likely find success on the feet early before getting taken down and losing a split decision.

Dalton Rosta has fought his entire career under the Bellator banner; can the prospect make it a perfect 9-0 by beating Aaron Jeffery?

Dalton Rosta and Aaron Jeffery have a strong argument for being the future of the Bellator welterweight division. Although Jeffery suffered a setback in his last fight against John Salter, the 30-year-old could be set for a statement performance at Bellator 298.

Rosta might have a shiny undefeated record, but he hasn’t faced the level of competition Jeffery has. Meanwhile, Jeffery’s primary flaw, at least based on his last fight, is advanced grappling, which Rosta has shown flashes of in his first nine fights. “Hercules” has also proven that any opponent willing to stand with him could be in for a long night.

Jeffery has a potential path to victory by making his upcoming fight dirty. The more clinch exchanges and takedowns secured by Jeffery will increase his chances of slowing down the always-dangerous Rosta and securing a victory. Jeffery should be able to impose his will and secure a unanimous decision win.

Which fight is the sleeper matchup on this card?

The sleeper matchup came down to either Alfie Davis vs. Aalon Cruz or James Gallagher vs. James Gonzalez. After diving deeper into both matchups, the lightweight bout between Davis and Cruz is the Bellator 298 sleeper fight.

Since making his Bellator debut in Oct. 2019, Davis has established a promotional record of 6-1-1. The 31-year-old now plans to make a statement in the 155-pound division by securing a win at Bellator 298.
Meanwhile, Cruz is a former UFC fighter who won two fights on the regional scene before signing with Bellator. He made his promotional debut in April and took out Bobby King to establish himself as a potential threat in the division.

On Friday night, Davis and Cruz will go toe-to-toe in a preliminary bout that should be filled with action. Don’t miss this fight, as it has sneaky dark horse potential to be “Fight of the Night.”

Bonus: Keep an eye on former collegiate wrestling superstar Jordan Oliver, who is making his MMA debut on the preliminary card against Andrew Triolo.

Fight Pick
Main Card (Showtime, 10 p.m. ET)
WW: Logan Storley vs. Brennan Ward Storley
HW: Valentin Moldavsky vs. Steve Mowry Mowry
MW: Dalton Rosta vs. Aaron Jeffery Jeffery
FW: James Gallagher vs. James Gonzalez Gallagher
LW: Sidney Outlaw vs. Islam Mamedov Mamedov
Preliminary Card (YouTube, 6:30 p.m. ET)
FW: Lucas Brennan vs. Weber Almeida Brennan
BW: Enrique Barzola vs. Jaylon Bates Bates
Women’s FlyW: Diana Avsaragova vs. Justine Kish Kish
LW: Vladimir Tokov vs. Jairo Pacheco Tokov
Women’s FW: Dayana Silva vs. Ekaterina Shakalova Shakalova
LHW: Sullivan Cauley vs. Hamza Salim Cauley
LW: Alfie Davis vs. Aalon Cruz Cruz
BW: Leandro Higo vs. Nikita Mikhailov Higo
BW: Josh Hill vs. Kasum Kasumov Kasumov
BW: Jerrell Hodge vs. Marcirley Alves Hodge
FW: Jordan Oliver vs. Andrew Triolo Oliver
FW: Michael Blockhus vs. Eli Mefford Blockhus