Corey Anderson (Lucas Noonan/Bellator MMA)

Bellator Champions Series: Belfast Preview and Predictions

Bellator may have joined forces with the Professional Fighters League, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have separate events.

Later this week, Bellator travels to the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for a stacked event featuring 11 fights. The night will end with two title fights, as the vacant light heavyweight throne is up for grabs in the main event, while Patricio “Pitbull” Freire looks to defend his featherweight strap in the co-headliner.

In Apr. 2022, Corey Anderson was on track to win the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix against Vadim Nemkov before an accidental clash of heads changed everything. Two years later, Anderson has an opportunity to accomplish his goal of becoming a world champion by securing the vacant 205-pound throne in Friday’s main event.


It’ll be easier said than done for Anderson, as he’s scheduled to face Karl Moore, who plans to extend his winning streak to five fights. “Overtime” must also overcome hostile territory, as Moore was born and raised in Belfast.

As for the co-main event, the great Patricio Pitbull plans to further his legacy by retaining his featherweight throne. To do so, the 36-year-old must end a two-fight skid by taking out Jeremy Kennedy, who’s coming off wins against Emmanuel Sanchez, Aaron Pico, and Pedro Carvalho.

On Friday, Bellator Champions Series: Belfast is scheduled to air on DAZN outside of the U.S. at 1 p.m. ET. It was also announced this week that the event will air on MAX through a new streaming deal. Let’s take a look at the preview and predictions.

Corey Anderson looks to claim the vacant light heavyweight title in the main event against Karl Moore; which man leaves with the belt wrapped around his waist?

Corey Anderson has improved his striking over the years after facing high-level competition. With that said, Anderson’s bread and butter will always be his grappling skills, which feature fundamental wrestling, brutal ground and pound, and heavy top control.

Meanwhile, Karl Moore isn’t afraid to let his hands go, but he also leans on his grappling skills when the going gets tough. Moore also has a secret weapon in his durability, besides when he fought Mauro Cerili, which he utilizes to outlast his opponents and emerge victorious.

There’s one primary factor in this matchup that could make me look dumb in the long run. Moore’s level of competition – his last fight against Alex Polizzi – is nowhere near Anderson’s, whose last fight against Phil Davis.
Therefore, Anderson’s experience and grappling advantage should lead to a TKO win in the championship rounds.

Patricio “Pitbull” Freire has lost two fights in a row but is still the Bellator featherweight champion; can he hold onto his belt and get back in the win column by defeating Jeremy Kennedy?

Patricio Pitbull is widely considered the greatest Bellator fighter of all time. Yet, he’s run into trouble recently by suffering back-to-back losses – to Sergio Pettis and Chihiro Suzuki – for the first time in his career. It should be noted there’s a negative stereotype about fighters after 35 years old struggling in the lower weight classes. Pitbull is currently 36.

Looking to capitalize on Pitbull’s potential downfall is Jeremy Kennedy, who’s hit the prime of his fighting career. The UFC veteran has a grappling base that he utilizes to drag his opponents into deep waters and ensure he’s the fresher fighter in the later rounds.

This matchup is tough to predict. Are we going to see the hard-hitting and dangerous Patricio Pitbull? Or has Father Time caught up with the Brazilian? I’m giving the Bellator featherweight king the benefit of the doubt and predicting him to silence the doubters with a knockout win in round two or three.

The last time Fabian Edwards fought he lost his bid for the middleweight championship; will he drop back-to-back fights for the second time in his career or does he emerge with a win over Aaron Jeffery?

Fabian Edwards has many similar fighting attributes to his older brother, UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards. “The Assassin” attempted to extend the family’s legacy by becoming the Bellator 185-pound king last time out, but Johnny Eblen had other plans.

Edwards returns to action on Friday night for the first time since facing Eblen and plans to get back on track. Standing on the other side of the cage will be Aaron Jeffery, who holds a promotional record of 3-1 after taking out Dalton Rosta in his last fight.

Edwards and Jeffery have a similar fighting style of calculated striking. The biggest difference is that Edwards has better distance control, while Jeffery likes to clinch up and make the fight ugly at times. This fight will be close, but Jeffery should be able to squeak out a unanimous decision win.

Which fight is the sleeper match-up on this card?

The sleeper matchup for Bellator Champions Series: Belfast is between lightweights Tim Wilde and Manoel Sousa.

No matter what’s happened over the last five years, Tim Wilde always finds a way to get his hand raised. “The Experiment” has an unorthodox striking style that is entertaining to watch and nearly impossible for his opponents to replicate in training.

Wilde now looks to extend his six-fight unbeaten streak, including one draw, and add another entertaining performance to his resume. The 36-year-old’s latest opponent will be Manoel Sousa, a 26-year-old Brazilia hungry to build on his 10-0 professional MMA record.

Can Wilde take down another more athletic opponent with his funky violence? Or will Sousa be the first fighter to knock out the English lightweight since 2017? The answer will be revealed during Friday’s main card.

Fight Pick
Main Card (DAZN/Max, 1 p.m. ET)
LHW Championship: Corey Anderson vs. Karl Moore Anderson
FW Championship: Patricio Pitbull vs. Jeremy Kennedy Pitbull
MW: Fabian Edwards vs. Aaron Jeffery Jeffery
LW: Tim Wilde vs. Manoel Sousa Wilde
FW: James Gallagher vs. Leandro Higo Gallagher
LW: Oscar Ownsworth vs. Alfie Davis Davis
BW: Ciaran Clarke vs. Darius Mafi Clarke
FW: Nathan Kelly vs. Vikas Singh Ruhil Kelly
HW: Abraham Bably vs. Isaiah Pinson Bably
MW: Steven Hill vs. Jordan Newman CANCELED
LHW: Luke Trainer vs. Grant Neal Trainer
CatchW (130 lbs.): Nate Kelly vs. Jordan Elliott (amateur) Kelly