For the third straight week, MMA fans will be treated to two straight nights of MMA action from Bellator and the UFC. Bellator 178 kicks things off with Daniel Straus defending the featherweight title against Patricio Freire in the main event. Also, Ilima-Lei MacFarlane takes on Jessica Middleton in the co-main event and AJ McKee looks to stay undefeated as a pro.
Bellator MMA Featherweight Title Fight
Daniel Straus (24-6-0-1NC) (Champion) vs. Patricio Freire (25-4-0)
Straus will be defending his title for the first time after defeating Patricio Freire by decision at Bellator 145 to win the gold. Freire won the first two bouts in the series with Straus, those wins came at Bellator 45 and Bellator 132. Straus will also be competing for the first time in well over a year, as the champion was dealing with a variety of hand injuries. Freire is coming back to featherweight after a one fight stint at lightweight, where he suffered a defeat to Ben Henderson.
Prediction: Straus’s hand is the huge question in this one, while Freire is coming off of a leg injury, Freire earns a razor thin decision in another legendary battle between the two.
Bellator MMA Women’s Flyweight Division Fight
Ilima-Lei MacFarlane (5-0-0) vs. Jessica Middleton (2-0-0)
MacFarlane has already earned four victories under the Bellator MMA banner, with notable wins coming over Rebecca Ruth and Emily Ducote. Middleton has spent her entire professional MMA career in Bellator MMA, where she defeated Bruna Ellen and Alice Yauger. MacFarlane is best known for the “Soccer Mom Fight” in her professional MMA debut, where her opponents fight gear was resembling that of a soccer mom. Middleton also went undefeated during her time as an amateur MMA fighter, which includes a win in the Victory Fighting Championships.
Prediction: This one is going to be the “Fight Of The Night” and these two fighters are great scrappers, but MacFarlane outworks Middleton just enough to get the decision win.
Bellator MMA Featherweight Division Fight
Dominic Mazzotta (12-1-0) vs. AJ McKee (7-0-0)
Mazzotta will be making his Bellator MMA debut in this fight and he will be doing so on the strength of a nine fight winning streak. McKee has spent his professional MMA career in Bellator MMA, picking up notable wins over Cody Walker, Ray Wood and Brandon Philipps. Mazzotta has only suffered one defeat as a professional MMA fighter, which came to UFC Bantamweight Champion Cody Garbrandt. McKee has only seen two of his seven fights as a pro go the distance and it has been a year since the fighter has gotten a finish.
Prediction: McKee uses his wrestling to land strikes while on the ground and Mazzotta uses his to set up submissions, Mazzotta pulls the upset with a third round submission.
Bellator MMA Catchweight Division Fight
Saad Awad (19-9-0) vs. Ryan Quinn (13-6-1)
Awad has only won just one of his last four fights heading into this bout, with that lone win coming over Evangelista Santos at Bellator 154. Quinn is currently undefeated under the Bellator MMA banner, which includes a win over UFC veteran Waylon Lowe. Awad has been competing in Bellator MMA for over four years now and he holds a win over former lightweight champion Will Brooks. Quinn will also be entering the fight on the strength of a two fight winning streak and he hasn’t suffered a defeat in over a year.
Prediction: Quinn will want to get the fight to the ground against a superior striker in Awad, Quinn grinds out a decision win.
Preliminary Card Quick Picks
Nick Alley over Kastriot Xhema
Don Shainis over Mak Kelleher
Regivaldo Carvalho over Jay Perrin
Kemram Lachinov over Sam Watford
John Lopez over Remo Cardarelli
Chris Foster over Shane Manley
Tom English over Blair Tugman
Jordan Young over Tim Caron
Ed Ruth over David Mundell
Tyrell Fortune over Branko Busick
Josh Ricci over Billy Giovanella