Five things to watch at #Bellator158

#Bellator158 is fast approaching and we are just over a week away from the promotion putting on their first ever show on UK soil. The card features some big well known fighters at the top but is bolstered with some house hold #UKMMA names from the start.

So in typical #WHOATV fashion we have reviewed the card and came up with five things we recommend keeping an eye on at #Bellator158;

James Gallagher

All eyes will be on the Irishman as he makes his promotional debut in just his fourth professional bout. Gallagher has picked up three wins on the bounce via submission and will be looking to overcome a much more experienced opponent in Mike Cutting who despite his 7-4 record has been in there with some big names across the #UKMMA scene including Aaron Blackwell, Ed Arthur, Mike Grundy and Nathaniel Woods. With just three professional bouts under his belt I hope that Gallagher will be able to handle the pressure of fighting on a big show and knowing that eyes will be watching him around the world, but I see him being able to pull on his teammates and coaches experiences of dealing with big situations to put on a show and maintain his undefeated record.

Nathaniel Wood Vs Chase Morton

For me this one has all the makings for FOTN and having followed both guys careers for a few years really expect these two to step up and put on a show. One thing to note is that this will be Nathaniel’s first experience of fighting at the higher weight so will be really interested to see the size difference between this pair and whether or not Nathaniel will be able to take his speed up to the higher weight class, something which has really set him apart in the Bantamweight division. Morton last competed in April 2015 and has had a long layoff, focusing on his music career, which adds another dynamic to this fight. Will he be able to shake off the ring rust and how will he perform after a long break. Morton has also bounced across weight classes during his career starting at Welterweight and moving all the way down to Featherweight so its another variable to throw into the mix as to how he deals with his cut back down to Featherweight. Both of these guys in my eyes are on great trajectories in their MMA careers and I think the winner of this one will definitely be receiving a callback from Bellator to perhaps fight Stateside at a later date.

Michael Page

Love him or hate him its quite apparent that nearly most MMA fans have an opinion on MVP. At #Bellator158 he faces arguably the biggest named opponent of his career and really gets the opportunity to prove to the haters that he is fighting at a very high level. You can argue that Page hasn’t been given the toughest of tests during his ten fights to date, albeit he will argue that the likes of Holloway and Burrell are definitely not “cans”. But now with a bout against Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos ahead of him Page really has the opportunity to put that claim to bed and focus on projecting his career to the next level, again something he is extremely confident in being able to do. Once this fight was announced there was definitely an air of thinking that this is really a lose, lose kind of situation for Page given that if he wins people will just say that he has beaten someone past their prime, but on reflection and having spoke with the man himself the name of his opponent really isn’t something he is focusing on and he is purely focused on putting on a show for his British fans whom haven’t been able to see him fight on home soil since November 2012.

Paul Daley Vs Douglas Lima

When two guys genuinely dislike each other it certainly makes for a more compelling bout and so first reactions to the cancellation of Koscheck Vs Daley 2 was met with mixed reactions, although credit to Atak Promotions and Bellator for pulling together this bout as a replacement which is definitely in my eyes a much better fight for the fans. I also see it as the first real test for Daley since his Strikeforce tenor back in 2011. I think that whilst MVP receives some criticism for the quality of his opponents, you can certainly argue that the likes of Dennis Olsen, Rudy Bears and Marinho Rochha are not going to push Paul Daley into any MMA hall of fames anytime soon. However, a win over someone the quality of Douglas Lima really will test Daley and prove if he is still one of the most elite strikers in the Welterweight division. Lima definitely won’t be able to sell the fight as good as Koscheck would have, however, for the purist fan this fight poses much stronger selling points and is really intriguing right down to how both men approach this bout and what strategy they will look to adopt going in.

Pietro Menga

There is no denying that going into #Bellator158 that Pietro Menga will be the favourite against Spencer Hewitt and I think that a dominant performance by arguably the best Flyweight in the UK is going to finally give him the push into International notoriety that he really deserves. Menga has beaten everyone in his way leading to a twelve fight win streak, although arguably in one of the UK’s thinnest divisions but that’s not something he has control over. His biggest win to date was definitely his third round stoppage of current BAMMA Flyweight Champion Rany Saadeh and I think Menga needs to approach this fight as one that everyone expects him to win, albeit not take it too lightly and look to really put on a performance which will get everyone talking about him above the other twenty five fighters on the card.

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