The MMA weekend will be kicking of with the Bellator 174 card, with will be headlined by the crowning of a brand new champion. That’s because the main event fight between Marloes Coenen and Julia Budd will be for the vacant Bellator Women’s Featherweight Title. Also, Brandon Girtz faces Fernando Gonzalez and heavyweight contender Justin Wren looks to get another win.
Bellator MMA Women’s Featherweight Title Decision Fight
Marloes Coenen (23-7-0) vs. Julia Budd (9-2-0)
Coenen has won two of three fights under the Bellator MMA banner, defeating Annalisa Bucci and Arlene Blencowe, with that lone loss coming to UFC veteran Alexis Dufresne. Budd is undefeated thus far in Bellator MMA, defeating Arlene Blencowe, Gabrielle Holloway and Robert Paim Rovel. Coenen is a former Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion, she defeated Sarah Kaufman to win the title. It has been over five years since the last time Budd suffered a defeat, that loss came to former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey.
Prediction: Budd starts off strong and starts to fade midway through the second round, that’s when Coenen grounds her on route to a submission victory.
Bellator MMA Welterweight Division Fight
Fernando Gonzalez (25-14-0) vs. Brandon Girtz (14-5-0)
Gonzalez has won five of six fights in Bellator MMA competition, with the most notable wins coming over Karo Parisyan Marius Zaromskis and Gilbert Smith. Girtz will be making his welterweight division debut in this fight, with his previous fights in the promotion coming at lightweight. Gonzalez has suffered just one defeat in Bellator MMA, that came to Michael Page at Bellator 165. Girtz has earned six wins in Bellator MMA, which includes a win over UFC veteran Melvin Guillard at Bellator 141.
Prediction: Gonzalez has a good wrestling game with some decent striking to back it up, Girtz gets the fight to the ground and submits Gonzalez in the third.
Bellator MMA Heavyweight Division Fight
Roman Pizzolato (9-6-0) vs. Justin Wren (12-2-0)
Pizzolato will be making his Bellator MMA debut in this fight and he will be doing so on the strength of a two fight winning streak. Wren is currently undefeated in Bellator MMA competition, having defeated Josh Burns and Juan Torres. Pizolato has only fought once in the last four years, which was a win over Daniel Miller at World Fighting Championships 63. Wren did competed once in the UFC, losing to Jon Madsen at the UFC Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale in 2009.
Prediction: Wren usually just swings wildly and overwhelms his opponents, that happens here again as he cruises to a decision win.
Bellator MMA Middleweight Division Fight
Charles Hackmann (4-4-0) vs. Rafael Lovato Jr. (4-0-0)
Hackmann will be making his Bellator MMA debut in this fight and he has only competed once in the last five-plus years. Lovato Jr will also be making his Bellator MMA debut in this fight, having previously competed in the Legacy Fighting Championships. Hackmann’s last fight happened at an Excite Fight MMA event in 2015, where he defeated Kris Renty. Lovato Jr has yet to see any of his fights go the distance, with two of his pro fights ending within the opening round.
Prediction: Hackmann has no real shot at winning this one, Lovato Jr grounds and submits Hackmann in the opening round.
Preliminary Card Quick Picks
Emmanuel Rivera over Treston Thomison
Alexis Dufresne over Gabrielle Holloway
Cody Pfister over Jonathan Gary
Emily Ducote over Katy Collins
Justin Patterson over Jason Witt