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

Bellator recently announced some of the bouts for the approaching Bellator 223 and also Bellator 224 events. Here are the new fights, Together with my thoughts on the new matchups below:
Gegard Mousasi vs. Rafael Lovato Jr., Bellator 223
Bellator 223 occurs June 22 at 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
A fascinating welterweight bout between Paul Daley and Erick Silva was inserted to Bellator 223. Daley (40-17-2) is currently 5-4 in Bellator and is coming off of a close decision loss to Michael Page using a decision loss to Jon Fitch prior to that. He hasn’t won since 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’s a shell of his former self, and even though Daley fighting to win his last few 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 well from his furious KO loss to Ricky Bandejas using a submission win over Stephen Graham his out time. Labiano (12-6) is 2-2 overall in Bellator and is coming off of a TKO win over Justin Smitley. Although Gallagher is overrated, he should nevertheless be preferred 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, 2 NC) is currently 42-years-old now and is coming from consecutive 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 album in Bellator. Kauppinen (11-4) is only 1-1 in Bellator but he is coming from a KO win over Alessio Sakara that was a breakthrough functionality for him. Despite Manhoef’s edge in experience, you must favor the younger and more lasting fighter in Kauppinen.
Julia Budd vs. Olga Rubin, Bellator 224
And lastly, Bellator 224 takes place July 12 in 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’ll be coming into this fight off of a one-year layoff as she has not competed because a TKO win over Talita Nogueira past July, but Budd is still one of the most formidable women’s featherweights in the world irrespective of any layoff. Rubin (6-0) is 4-0 in Bellator, although her degree of competition has been sub-par, to say the very least. Still, she obtained this name taken because of her perfect record and because there’s no one else worthy of battling Budd, that will no doubt be a huge favorite to win the fight.
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