Rejoice folks, Bellator are coming to the UK! The promotion have announced that they will be visiting London, Tel Aviv and Italy in 2016.
With the news breaking in the last few days it has certainly generated a buzz across the #UKMMA scene and while no news of dates/bouts have been announced at present, we suspect it won’t be long until we start to see some dates firmed up and bout announcements hit social media.
So with that in mind and in true #WHOATV fashion we have done the hard work for matchmaker Rich Chou and put together a handful of bouts we would love to see feature at the promotions first ever event in London;
Paul Daley Vs Josh Koscheck
It’s almost impossible for them not to put on this rematch with two guys who just dislike each other a lot. What is interesting is that Bellator have just announced fights for both of them at Bellator 148 and so you would like to think that both would be successful to really make sure that the rematch goes ahead. Will be tougher for the promotion to match them up if one of them suffer a loss at Bellator 148. Whilst the first fight was a dominant victory for Koscheck given his wrestling, that fight was over five years ago and both fighters have gone down very different paths since that date. Daley has amassed an MMA record of 14-4 since UFC 113, while Koscheck has gone 2-6. Many feel that the days are numbered for Koscheck but he has made it clear that he is still wanting to compete with the multi-fight deal with Bellator and I think he is looking for exciting fights. Who better than former nemesis Daley to spark that interest and bring out the best in Koscheck. This fight could definitely headline the card but with a few potential Title bouts floating about may take co-main event status.
Liam McGeary Vs Phil Davis
McGeary is fast becoming one of the most successful British MMA fighters and is one of only a handful of guys to win a belt in a big International promotion. His toughest test may be next though in former UFC Light Heavyweight contender, Phil Davis. Davis made his Bellator debut at the Bellator/Glory Dynamite show, winning the Light Heavyweight Tournament and earning himself a shot at McGeary. Davis is a real tricky customer and will bring a whole new challenge to McGeary especially in the wrestling arena. But one thing that McGeary has proved in his Bellator career is that if you take him down then you better be ready to defend like hell. I don’t think many thought that McGeary would be able to handle the wrestling of Ortiz but McGeary was able to stay calm and secure a slick submission win to retain the Light Heavyweight Belt. This bout is inevitable and with McGeary’s success Stateside it would be a great chance for the UK fans to see him look to defend his Title against a solid opponent in Phil Davis.
Linton Vassell Vs Emanuel Newton
These two are no strangers to each other and fought at Bellator 130 which resulted in a submission victory for the then Light Heavyweight Champion, Emanuel Newton. Since then they have both got two fights under their belts with Vassell going 1-1 and Newton going 0-2 and are both keen to get back to the win column and prove that they are top contenders in the 205lbs division. Is a rematch really warranted given the outcome of the last fight? I feel that there is some credit to it for both guys, Vassell for redemption and Newton as a confidence booster. I expect a rematch would play out differently as I feel that Vassell is one of those fighters who learn a lot from a loss and really focus on making sure he doesn’t make the same mistakes again. Newton is a tough one to judge and I think on his day could beat anyone in that Bellator Light Heavyweight division, but just is a tad inconsistent. An intriguing match up for me and definitely a selling point to be had for Bellator with the winner putting themselves right back into the Title picture.
Michael Page Vs Brennan Ward
How could Bellator have a London show without one of the biggest prospects out of the UK featuring on it? Page has picked up nine wins on the bounce and is really starting to make a name for himself on the International scene with many media outlets picking up on his incredible style and ability to finish his opponents with what seems, relative ease. Some will say that he hasn’t really been tested yet and I think Bellator have a great opportunity to put an end to that question and give Page a tough match in London. Step forward Brennan Ward who is definitely a tough proposition for Page. Ward spent most of his career at 185lbs, winning the Bellator Middleweight Tournament back in 2013, but ultimately losing his Title shot against Alexander Shlemneko. Since dropping to Welterweight, Ward has picked up three stoppage wins on the bounce and I feel that the “Irish Bad Boy” would be an intriguingly tough opponent for undefeated Page.
Rob Sinclair Vs Melvin Guillard
Two guys who are almost guaranteed to stand and trade and will definitely bring fireworks to the 02 Arena. Guillard is currently going through a rough patch in his career and lost his Bellator debut, likewise Sinclair lost his Bellator debut but has since picked up a TKO win at BAMMA over Michael Brightmon. Would be great to see Sinclair on the UK card as he is undoubtedly one of the best at 155lbs in the UK and would pull in a big crowd for the promotion. Guillard has a good name behind him and so marketing this fight would be relatively easy for Bellator and I think it gives both guys the opportunity to put their initial loss behind them and move on against a very credible opponent. The Bellator Lightweight division isn’t that huge and only consists of 25 names at present, a few decent wins for either of these guys can certainly get them into Title talk contention but I think for now both of them will just be focused on getting the win for Bellator.
James Thompson Vs Loser of Kimbo/Dada 5000
Now we have seen in recent times just how much Bellator love putting on a huge name and the Shamrock/Gracie & Kimbo/Dada fights are testament to that. So why not put on one of these big names in London? I suspect James Thompson would be more than willing to step up and take on either Kimbo Slice or Dada 5000 and I think that pitting him against the loser of that bout makes sense as they will most likely put the winner in a bigger fight and look to reap the rewards. Thompson has stepped up for many promotions and has wins over the likes of Mariusz Pudzianowski, Bob Sapp & Bobby Lashley to name but a few and I really think that bringing a big name across the pond to fight him could bring out the best in him, especially in front of a home crowd. The fight would also offer the loser of Dada/Kimbo the opportunity to redeem themselves against a very credible Heavyweight in Thompson.