Bellator returns to Dublin, Ireland on Saturday 23rd February with a card that will showcase a wealth of European talent all looking to make their marks in the promotion. The show takes place from the 3Arena and is headlined by a bantamweight bout between James Gallagher and Steven Graham. Although much interest will revolve around the local Irish talent competing on the card, there are a number of other fighters who are also looking to take advantage of being on the biggest stage so far in their career. One such fighter is BAMMA veteran, Walter Gahadza (17-3), who is facing German, Ruben Crawford (16-3), in a welterweight contest on the undercard.
Gahadza made his Bellator debut last May at the landmark Bellator 200 event in London and defeated his opponent, Kent Kauppinen, by second round submission. However, going into that fight, he was on a 3 fight losing streak after coming up short against veterans of the European scene Nathan Jones, Terry Brazier and Colin Fletcher. Up until that point, he had won all of his first 16 professional fights so he knew that he was capable of turning his fortunes around.
“There was definitely a lot of pressure on me going into my last fight,” said Gahadza. “I had to stay composed and clinical in every part of my game. I felt like my performance was good against Kauppinen. I managed to get the detail right on most of the techniques that I had been working on which I was happy with and I was obviously pleased to get the finish against a tough opponent.”
Kauppinen has since gone on to main event a Bellator show in Italy against hometown favourite, Alessio Sakara, where he silenced the crowd after knocking out the UFC veteran after one minute. This gave Gahadza even more confidence in his abilities and showed him that he wouldn’t be out of place in such a large promotion.
“Kent is a tough guy with heavy hands so I wasn’t surprised that he won as I know his capabilities. I’m sure he will do well in Bellator too,” Gahadza continued.
The welterweight, also know as ‘The Sniper’, is facing Ruben Crawford in Dublin who will be making his own Bellator debut. He boasts an extremely similar record to Gahadza and has finished 12 of his 16 wins by stoppage. The Englishman is impressed by his opponent’s record but is interested to see how Crawford will deal with his own game.
“He is very experienced and has a good record. However, he has been out of action for two years so we will see how he copes with the pressure that I will be setting come February 23rd,” stated Gahadza.
For this camp, Gahadza has been training out in Cleveland, Ohio alongside fellow Bellator competitor, Tywan Claxton. He has been very impressed by the setup that they have which has meant that preparations have been great. Although he is currently exclusively signed to the Bellator Europe shows, he is looking forward to possibly fighting in the US on a big card in the future.
‘The Sniper’ has scanned his field of view over the Bellator landscape and is looking to pull the trigger and hit one big target this year.
“My main aim in 2019 would be to fulfill my contract with Bellator and get some finishes on the way!”