UPDATES TO BELLATOR 223 AND BELLATOR 224 INCLUDING RETURN OF JULIA BUDD

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Bellator recently announced a number of the bouts for the upcoming Bellator 223 and also Bellator 224 events. Here are the new fights, Together with my thoughts on the new matchups under:
Gegard Mousasi vs. Rafael Lovato Jr., Bellator 223
Bellator 223 takes place June 22 in SSE Arena in London, England, and the major event sees Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi carrying on Rafael Lovato Jr.. Read my thoughts on this fight in a previous edition of this MMA odds and ends here.
Paul Daley vs. Erick Silva, Bellator 223
A fascinating welterweight bout between Paul Daley and Erick Silva was added to Bellator 223. Daley (40-17-2) is currently 5-4 at Bellator and is coming from a close decision loss to Michael Page with a decision loss to Jon Fitch prior to that. He has not won as a KO win over Lorenz Larkin in September 2017. Silva (20-10, 1 NC) is 0-1 in Bellator, having lost by decision to Yaroslav Amosov within his promotional debut. His last win came in July 2018 over Nick Barnes in LFA. Though Silva has a puncher’s chance, he is a shell of his former self, and even though Daley fighting to win his last couple of fights, he should be favored to win this bout.
James Gallagher vs. Jeremiah Labiano, Bellator 223
Featherweights James Gallagher and Jeremiah Labiano will fight Bellator 223. Gallagher (8-1) has a 5-1 record in Bellator and rebounded well from his furious KO loss to Ricky Bandejas with a submission win over Stephen Graham his last time out. Labiano (12-6) is 2-2 total in Bellator and is coming from a TKO win over Justin Smitley. Although Gallagher is overrated, he should nevertheless be favored to win this fight.
Melvin Manhoef vs. Kent Kauppinen, Bellator 223
Middleweights Melvin Manhoef and Kent Kauppinen also meet at Bellator 223. Manhoef (30-14-1, two NC) is currently 42-years-old currently and is coming off of successive losses to former champ Rafael Carvalho. His final win was a knockout victory over Hisaki Kato back in 2015, and overall he has a 2-3, 1 NC record in Bellator. Kauppinen (11-4) is just 1-1 in Bellator but he is coming off of a KO win over Alessio Sakara that was a breakthrough performance for him. Despite Manhoef’s edge in experience, you have to favor the younger and more lasting fighter here in Kauppinen.
Julia Budd vs. Olga Rubin, Bellator 224
And finally, Bellator 224 occurs July 12 in WinStar Resort Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma and the primary event features Bellator women’s featherweight champion Julia Budd contrary to Olga Rubin. Budd (12-2) has a perfect 6-0 record in Bellator and has not lost since a entry defeat to Ronda Rousey way back in 2011. She’ll be coming to this fight off of a one-year layoff because she has not competed because a TKO win over Talita Nogueira past July, but Budd remains one of the most formidable women’s featherweights in the world irrespective of any layoff. Rubin (6-0) is 4-0 in Bellator, though her degree of competition has been sub-par, to say the very least. However, she received this title taken because of her perfect record and because there’s no one else worthy of battling Budd, that will undoubtedly be a massive favored to win the fight.
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