Bellator returns to Ireland for a card that features plenty of local flavor, a gaggle of action bouts, and a title fight as the cherry on top.
Gegard Mousasi (48-7-2) is riding a three-fight win streak heading into this Friday’s event, where he’s set to face aggressive wrestler Austin Vanderford (11-0). Vanderford may not have many finishes to his name, but he’s a terror to deal with when it comes to his grappling control and use of boxing inside to set up clinches and takedowns. Mousasi still has his sniping range, excellent submission game and near-perfect ground strikes from top position. Given their stylistic tendencies, this could mean the fight won’t be the prettiest affair. Expect a tactical battle predicated largely upon who establishes range best and whether or not one fighter can secure more ground control over the other.
Sinead Kavanagh (7-5) unfortunately fell short against Cris Cyborg in her last outing, but hopes to get back in the win column against Leah McCourt (6-1). Kavanagh brings plenty of aggression and forward pressure, and is not easy to take down. McCourt relies on her striking as well, throwing combinations and using volume while doing the most to stay on top when it comes to her ground game.
Khasan Magomedsharipov (6-0) is undefeated as a pro and has a hell of a highlight reel. He’s also the brother of UFC fighter Zabit Magomedsharipov. He impressed in his Bellator debut with his finish of Jonathan Quiroz, and aims to keep his record intact against Spain’s Jose ‘Sasi’ Sanchez (11-1).
Another of Bellator’s hottest rising prospects will be carrying a fair bit of pressure as Jornel Lugo (7-0) meets hometown vet Brian Moore (14-8). Anatoly Tokov’s brother Vladimir (5-1) attempts to rebound from his latest loss against Italy’s unfortunately nicknamed Daniele “Scat“ Scatizzi (11-5). Former UFC talent Brett Johns (17-3) is also back in the bantamweight division as he meets finishing machine Khurshed Kakhorov (8-0). Finally, Kirill “Baby Fedor“ Sidelnikov (13-6) faces Gokhan Saricam (6-1).
As a bonus, Bellator set up another one of their very well-made production package focused exclusively on the challenger, Austin Vanderford:
And as for Mousasi, a compilation of all his Bellator wins:
You can check out the weigh-ins here:
Champ Gegard Mousasi (184.6) vs. Austin Vanderford (183.7) – Bellator middleweight title
Sinead Kavanagh (145.6) vs. Leah McCourt (145.8) - Featherweight
Ciaran Clarke (144.8) vs. Abou Tounkara (145.8) - Featherweight
Khasan Magomedsharipov (145.6) vs. Jose Sanchez (145.4) - Featherweight
Jornel Lugo (135.2) vs. Brian Moore (135.4) - Bantamweight
Brett Johns (135.6) vs. Khurshed Kakhorov (134.8) - Bantamweight
Davy Gallon (155.2) vs. Charlie Leary (155.2) - Lightweight
Danni McCormack (115.2) vs. Stephanie Page (114.9) - Strawweight
Darragh Kelly (155) vs. Junior Morgan (156) - Lightweight
Daniele Scatizzi (154.6) vs. Vladimir Tokov (155.4) - Lightweight
Gokhan Saricam (247.6) vs. Kirill Sidelnikov (264) - Heavyweight
Nathan Kelly (145.4) vs. Scott Pedersen (144.8) - Featherweight
Lee Hammond (145.6) vs. Jamie Hay (146.8)* - Featherweight
Bellator 275: Mousasi vs Vanderford starts this Friday afternoon at 1:00pm EST for those of us stateside, with the prelims streaming live on YouTube. The main card airs on exclusively on Showtime.