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Bellator Japan: Fedor vs. Rampage main card preview

Here’s the breakdown for Saturday’s Bellator 237 main card, including Michael Chandler vs. Sidney Outlaw in the co-main event.

Viacom’s brand of MMA is putting on their final show of 2019 in the form of Bellator 237, from the storied Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The featured matchup entails former PRIDE FC superstars, Fedor Emelianenko and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. That bout will be covered in its own separate post, as this one will run through the rest of the main card. Bellator Japan airs live on December 28th on the Paramount Network and DAZN at 10:00 PM ET.

The co-main event for Bellator 237 will pit former lightweight champ, Michael Chandler, against the owner of a five-fight winning streak, Sidney Outlaw. Chandler has conquered the mountain top on a few occasions, but is now looking to bounce back after losing his title to Patricio “Pitbull” Freire this past May. The book has been written on Michael. He’s hyper-athletic, can wrestle for days, and is able to translate his horsepower into his punches. As for Outlaw, his promotional debut witnessed him lean on his grappling to get the better of MMA veteran, Roger Huerta, on the scorecards. Traditionally, Outlaw wins his fights by submission. This particular style matchup might make that outcome quite challenging, considering the fact that Chandler has never been submitted in professional MMA, and is a strong grappler in is own right.

Before that, flashy striker Lorenz Larkin will meet fellow UFC veteran Keita Nakamura. Larkin has posted up three-straight victories, including a recent win over former Bellator champion Andrey Koreshkov. Expect the former title challenger to want to keep this one on its feet. Consistency has plagued Japan’s Nakamura, unless you count his inconsistency as such. He has alternated wins and losses in his last nine outings. Nakamura owns more finishes by rear-naked choke than anything else; Larkin has never been submitted. If Larkin is to come out victorious, then he puts himself right back in title contention.

Also on the Bellator Japan main card, the streaking Ilara Joanne meets undefeated Japanese fighter, Kana Watanabe. Joanne exploded onto the Bellator scene with a sensational kneebar finish of former UFC and Bare Knuckle competitor, Bec Rawlings. Currently riding a winning wave of three-straight, Joanne has the potential to force her way into a title shot with a win here. As for Watanabe, she has seen nine professional MMA matches without tasting defeat. One of those fights went to a majority draw. As one of Japan’s top female fighters, a win here could set up a major matchup between herself and the current flyweight queen, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane.

Earlier on the main card, talented submission ace Goiti Yamauchi will meet RIZIN FF veteran Daron Cruickshank. Yamauchi is known for sniffing out the sub, and the achilles heel of Cruickshank has been his submission defense. Yamauchi has taken 19 of his 24 wins by submission; seven of Cruickshank’s twelve losses involved a tap. Kicking off the Bellator 237 main card, the 16-1 showboat-happy Michael Page will dance with the 11-3 UFC veteran, Shinsho Anzai. Japan’s Anzai likes to exchange leather on the feet, but will need to avoid getting wild against a sniper like Page.

Main card:

  • Fedor Emelianenko vs. Quinton Jackson: Heavyweight
  • Michael Chandler vs. Sidney Outlaw: Lightweight
  • Lorenz Larkin vs. Keita Nakamura: Welterweight
  • Ilara Joanne vs. Kana Watanabe: (W) Flyweight
  • Goiti Yamauchi vs. Daron Cruickshank: Lightweight
  • Michael Page vs. Shinsho Anzai: Welterweight


  • Andy Nguyen vs. Ai Shimizu: Strawweight
  • Ryuichiro Sumimura vs. Jon Tuck: Lightweight
  • Jarred Brooks vs. Haruo Ochi: Flyweight
  • Hiroto Uesako vs. Yusuke Yachi: Lightweight
  • Kanna Asakura vs. Jayme Hinshaw: Atomweight
  • Sergey Shemetov vs. Shoma Shibisai: Heavyweight
  • Yusaku Nakamura vs. Makoto Takahashi: 128 pounds
  • Ren Hiramoto vs. Takahiro Ashida: 150 pound kickboxing bout