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Bellator 231: Mir vs. Nelson 2 fight card preview

Here’s the scoop for this Friday’s Bellator 231 main card, where longtime MMA vets Frank Mir and Roy Nelson run it back in the main event.

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It’s time once again for a double dose of Bellator MMA, first kicking off tonight with Bellator 231, and then coming to a head tomorrow evening with Bellator 232. This particular post will be covering the first night.

The top of the Bellator 231 billing will see a rematch between longtime MMA vets Frank Mir and Roy Nelson. The first time they met was in the UFC way back in 2011, with Mir taking the decision. Fast forward to present day and both fighters are far past their primes and in desperate need of a win. The days of Mir subbing everyone and Nelson knocking out everyone seem to be distant memories at this point. Both fighters have lost four of their last five. Welp, at least one of them is likely to get a win.

The co-main event for Bellator 231 is a much more relevant affair. Former promotional light heavyweight champ, Phil Davis, is slated against Swedish powerhouse, Karl Albrektsson. Davis has been an elite and complete fighter for some time now. His wrestling chops translated quite well into an MMA career, and his striking has proven to be fundamentally sound. Davis has only lost by decision, with his last three drops being splits. At 35-years of age, he still appears to be in top form.

As for the Bellator newcomer, Albrektsson is a physical force with downright great hair. He’s been making a name for himself out in Japan, fighting for the RIZIN promotion. Albrektsson hits with ample horsepower, even if his technical polish isn’t the most renowned. He also enjoys finding top position where he tends to drop all of the strikes. “King” Karl will likely have his hands full in his Bellator debut, but he’s an excellent addition to the 205-pound division with a major opportunity at hand.

Before that, three time collegiate wresting champion, and four time All American, Ed Ruth meets TUF 21 alumnus Jason Jackson. Ruth has transitioned seamlessly into a fight career, posting up a 7-1 record, and only falling short to grappling ace Neiman Gracie. On top of his wrestling chops, Ruth is athletic, long, and has been showing tremendous improvements in his standup each time out. The sky really seems to be he limit. His opponent, Jackson, is long himself and likes to throw his strikes straight down the middle. He has already faced bigger names like Colby Covington and Mike Graves, and even sparked out Dhiego Lima back in 2016. Training with striking guru Henri Hooft at Hard Knocks 365 is great for Jackson, but he is at at tremendous disadvantage when it comes to the wrestling.

Earlier on the card, former UFC and Bare Knuckle veteran Bec Rawlings makes her promotional debut against fellow newcomer Ilara Joanne. Rawlings is as tough as it gets and has already faced some big names like Paige VanZant, Tecia Torres, and Carla Esparza. Joanne hasn’t faced anywhere near the same caliber of opposition, despite her 8-4 record. In fact, if you look at who she has faced, you’ll see a lot of losing and inexperienced records. Despite Rawlings ironically possessing a losing record herself, she will be quite the step up for Joanne.

Opening up the main card, former WWE champ turned MMA fighter, Jake Hager, is set for his third pro bout when he takes on the 4-2 Anthony Garrett. Hager is a physical specimen and has actual collegiate wrestling experience up his sleeve. Garrett isn’t quite the same sort of imposing figure as Hager. He actually lost his last fight because he was unable to get off the floor following a referee standup... and he was the one on top. Jack Swagger just might be getting another showcase.

Main Card: (9 PM ET, Paramount Network/DAZN)

Frank Mir vs. Roy Nelson: Heavyweight

Phil Davis vs. Karl Albrektsson: Light Heavyweight

Ed Ruth vs. Jason Jackson: Welterweight

Bec Rawlings vs. Ilara Joanne: (W) Flyweight

Jake Hager vs. Anthony Garrett: Heavyweight

Prelims: (6 PM ET, Online)

Phumi Nkuta vs Adrian Hall: Flyweight

Connor Dixon vs. Orkhan Ismatzade: Welterweight

Mandel Nallo vs. Killys Mota: Lightweight

Steve Mowry vs. Gokhan Saricam: Heavyweight

Dalton Rosta vs. Claude Wilcox: Light Heavyweight

Tim Caron vs. Lucas Pimenta: Middleweight

Jon Manley vs. Thiago Oliveira: Welterweight

Elise Reed vs. Rebecca Bryggman: Atomweight