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

Bellator recently announced a number of the bouts for the approaching Bellator 223 and also Bellator 224 events. Here are the new fights, along with my thoughts on the new matchups below:
Gegard Mousasi vs. Rafael Lovato Jr., Bellator 223
Bellator 223 takes place June 22 in SSE Stadium in London, England, and the main event sees Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi taking on Rafael Lovato Jr.. Read my thoughts on this struggle in a previous edition of this MMA odds and endings.
Paul Daley vs. Erick Silva, Bellator 223
An intriguing 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 off of a close decision loss to Michael Page using a decision loss to Jon Fitch before 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 in 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 struggling to win his last couple of fights, he should be chosen to win this bout.
James Gallagher vs. Jeremiah Labiano, Bellator 223
Featherweights James Gallagher and Jeremiah Labiano will struggle Bellator 223. Gallagher (8-1) has a 5-1 record in Bellator and rebounded nicely from his upset KO loss to Ricky Bandejas with a submission win over Stephen Graham his out time. Labiano (12-6) is 2-2 total in Bellator and is coming off of a TKO win over Justin Smitley. Even though Gallagher is overrated, he must nevertheless be favored to win this battle.
Melvin Manhoef vs. Kent Kauppinen, Bellator 223
Middleweights Melvin Manhoef and Kent Kauppinen also fulfill at Bellator 223. Manhoef (30-14-1, two NC) is 42-years-old currently and is coming from consecutive losses to former champ Rafael Carvalho. His last 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 advantage in experience, you have to favor the younger and more durable fighter in Kauppinen.
Julia Budd vs. Olga Rubin, Bellator 224
And lastly, Bellator 224 occurs July 12 at WinStar Resort Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma and the main event features Bellator women’s featherweight champion Julia Budd against Olga Rubin. Budd (12-2) has a perfect 6-0 record in Bellator and hasn’t lost since a entry defeat to Ronda Rousey way back in 2011. She will be coming to this battle from a one-year layoff as she has not competed because a TKO win over Talita Nogueira past July, however, Budd remains one of the most formidable women’s featherweights in the world regardless of any layoff. Rubin (6-0) is currently 4-0 in Bellator, though her level of competition was sub-par, to say the least. However, she obtained this name taken because of her perfect album and because there’s no one else worthy of fighting Budd, who will no doubt be a huge favored to win the fight.
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