Bellator’s international shows have been largely about pleasing the local market, catering to them by using fighters better known and recognized in the region.
This back end of the weekend’s doubleheader takes place in Genoa, Italy, coupled with a Bellator Kickboxing event featuring Gabriel Varga. That means we’re going to see a lot of fighters that rely mostly on their striking on this one. And you know what? That’s a great thing overall. Even though most of these fighters are not known commodities in the eyes U.S. viewers, we may end up with a surprisingly fun card overall given the styles and pedigrees of the combatants involved. So, let’s take a look at that.
The main event is comprised of former UFC fighter Alessio Sakara (19-12) taking on the U.K.’s Kent Kauppinen. Sakara suffered a rough string of losses in the UFC, took a pair of fights in Austria, and ended up in Bellator. From there, he had some spectacular wins over Brian Rogers and the very resilient Joey Beltran, but ultimately fell short in a bid for the title against Rafael Carvalho last December. Sakara then bounced back with more violence against Jamie Sloane this past July.
Kauppinen has a major uphill battle here. He has a tendency to drop his hands, as well as a reliance on his strong counter hooks. He’s also lacking in the submission defense department. Still, he has a boxing record (0-6) but can hit pretty hard. Make of this whatever you will.
Pro kickboxer Hesdy Gerges will be making his professional MMA debut, fighting at heavyweight against Portuguese bomber Domingos Barros (5-0).
SBG Ireland has some representation on this card, with welterweight Kiefer Crosbie (4-0) facing Orlando D’Ambrosio (7-3). D’Ambrosio is more of a generalist, rounding out his game and using clinch knees and ground strikes to get ahead. Crosbie’s not a stranger to dogfights, and has a very physical and tenacious style. He’s never gone to a decision as a professional, and can be quite quick with his submission setups.
Crosbie’s teammate Pedro Carvalho (8-3) returns to the Bellator cage to challenge Italian submission specialist Luca Vitali (11-4).
Finally, Alen Amedovski (7-0) tries to break into the new class of surging middleweights for Bellator when he fights Ibrahim Mané (7-1). Amedovski is all about finishing opponents with strikes, as evidenced in his Bellator debut. Mané fought in France, China, then took on South Africa’s version of The Ultimate Fighter under the EFC’s “The Fighter”. Only one of his wins has been by decision, and he hits like a truck.
The card is as follows:
Alessio Sakara vs Kent Kauppinen - Light Heavyweight
Hesdy Gerges vs Domingos Barrios - Heavyweight
Kiefer Crosbie vs Orlando D’Ambrosio - Welterweight
Ibrahim Mané vs Alen Amedovski - Middleweight
Luca Vitali - Pedro Carvalho - Lightweight
Walter Pugliesi vs Andrea Fusi - Welterweight
Giogio Pietrini vs Nemaja Milakevic - Welterweight
Bellator 211 will be transmitted stating Saturday at 4:00 PM ET (live!) on Paramount Network.