Bellator is back from their hiatus and planting their flag yet again this week. The Emerald Isle has been more than kind to them with crowd turnout at their events, and they plan on rewarding viewers and those in attendance with what sis — at least on paper — a rather interesting and overall good card from an action perspective. While it clearly prioritizes catering to the local audience, it’s worth a look.
The main event is a bit of an odd one, though. Former UFC champ Benson Henderson (29-11) has had a rocky road in Bellator so far. Rebounding from a three-fight losing skid with a win over Islam Mamedov, he now faces local favorite Peter “The Showstopper” Queally (13-6, 1 draw).
After winning a major upset last year against Patricky Pitbull, he stumbled in the rematch last November. Now he’s back with aims to make a statement against a former champ that’s still a tricky opponent to deal with. It’s tough to tell where a win puts either fighter within the lightweight ranks, but it’s a nice fight for the local fans that makes sense given the standing of both competitors.
Co-main event honors go to one of the most bizarre combinations possible in 2022: Yoel Romero vs Melvin Manhoef. Romero (14-6) turned 45 this year and hasn’t shown too much decline, plus has the added benefit of not having to cut to middleweight anymore as he’s fighting at light heavyweight. So far he’s 1-1 in Bellator with a split decision loss in his promotional debut against Phil Davis and a sensational knockout win over surging Alex Polizzi. Now he faces one of the most devastating strikers in the game.
Now, let’s be clear here. Manhoef (32-15, 1 draw) is not only somewhat undersized here, he’s also 46. He had back to back finishes over Kent Kauppinen and Yannick Bahati, but his momentum was halted when he suffered a demoralizing loss against Corey Anderson. So here we have another fight that has potential for action, with comparable talents in terms of age, standing, and knockout power.
Leah McCourt (6-2) continues to be an attraction for Bellator, having all six of her wins under their umbrella. Her last bout was a decision loss to Sinead Kavanaugh, but she continues to show development in her game. She faces Brazil’s Dayana Silva (10-7), who is coming off a decision win over Janay Harding. Pedro Carvalho (12-6) still has dynamite in his hands, and meets crafty grappler Mads Burnell (16-4).
Welshman Brett Johns (18-3) meets plucky bantamweight Jordan Winski (12-3), while Sweden’s Karl Albrektsson (13-3) looks to extend his win streak to five against Ireland’s Karl Moore (9-2). Finally, a potential firecracker of a fight takes place at lightweight as Georgi Karakhanyan (31-13, 1 draw) meets BAMMA vet Kane Mousah (13-4).
You can check out the weigh-ins here:
Full card is as follows:
Benson Henderson (155.4) vs. Peter Queally (154.2) - Lightweight
Melvin Manhoef (205.7) vs. Yoel Romero (205.9) - Light heavyweight
Leah McCourt (146) vs. Dayana Silva (146) - Featherweight
Mads Burnell (145.8) vs. Pedro Carvalho (146) - Featherweight
Ciaran Clarke (149.2) vs. Rafael Hudson (149.8) – 150lb catchweight bout
Brett Johns (135.7) vs. Jordan Winski (135) - Bantamweight
Arivaldo Lima da Silva (135.9) vs. Brian Moore (135.7) - Bantamweight
Karl Albrektsson (205.2) vs. Karl Moore (205.8) - Light heavyweight
Georgi Karakhanyan (156) vs. Kane Mousah (155.7) - Lightweight
Darragh Kelly (155.2) vs. Kye Stevens (155.2) - Lightweight
Alex Bodnar (145.6) vs. Kenny Mokhonoana (146) - Featherweight
Asael Adjoudj (146) vs. Jordan Barton (146) - Featherweight
Luca Poclit (169.7) vs. Dante Schiro (169.9) - Welterweight
Bellator 285: Henderson vs Queally takes place this Friday afternoon with the prelims starting at 1:00pm EST for those of us stateside. The prelims will be streaming live and free on YouTube via Bellator’s official YouTube channel. The main card starts at 4:00pm and will air exclusively on Showtime.