Just six days after the highly anticipated Bellator debut of MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko was scrapped last minute, the promotion is having it’s next show-an overseas show from Ireland, co-promoted with BAMMA, that will air on tape delay.
Despite the blow of the lack of Fedor on last weekend’s card, it was still a decent Bellator card on paper. This one? Well, it’s gone vastly under the radar, and understandably so. The main event has changed three times in this week alone. That makes four main card replacements for two shows, in a span of six days. I’m sorry for not being more amped up about this card. That said, it’s been tough to get excited about Bellator this past week, due to all the injuries and cancellations.
That doesn’t mean this isn’t a fun card though. All five main card bouts should be fun. The first two are BAMMA bouts, including one featuring a recent champion. All three Bellator bouts feel like one-sided on paper, but they’ll still likely be fun. The BAMMA bouts hold intrigue too, and this is a chance for fans in the states to get a taste of how fun BAMMA can be. Also, the crowd will likely be hyped up, since European crowds tend to be very excitable. On top of that, there will be some very good prospects on the card, which is headlined by a very likable and fun former champion who has a knack for finishes! At this point, that’s got the makings for a fun show at least.
Normally, I post Bellator prediction articles in the hours before the show. However, since today’s card will air on tape delay in the states, thereby actually taking place early in the afternoon in terms of United States times, I’ll just post my predictions now. Hopefully, the card will produce a few surprising results here or there, and the fights will at least be entertaining.
Bellator 173 main card (8/7c via tape delay, Spike TV)
Colin Fletcher (13-7) vs. Alex Lohore (10-1)
As mentioned above, this card is co-promoted with the British promotion BAMMA, with whom Bellator has worked with before. Last time, the BAMMA portion of the card aired on Facebook, while the lackluster Bellator slate aired on tape delay on Spike TV. This time, the main card opener itself will be a BAMMA bout, with former TUF competitor and UFC veteran Colin Fletcher taking on rising prospect Alex Lohore. Fletcher is 5-4 since getting released from the UFC, including a 3-3 record with BAMMA. He has nine wins via submission, is 3-3 in fights that go the distance, and has been finished three times.
Meanwhile, Lohore is 10-1 with eight finishes, including seven in the first round. He’s won six straight, and isn’t far from a potential call from a promotion like the UFC. It’s not hard to see what’s happening here. Lohore is the more skilled fighter with the better record, while Fletcher is the veteran that’s been inconsistent and up and down, but always brings it. This is a clear-cut litmus test to see how legitimate Lohore is. I don’t know how legit he is, but I do expect him to pass this test, possibly with flying colors. Prediction: Lohore via tko, round 2.
Shay Walsh (14-4) vs. James McErlean (6-3)
The second bout of the main card will also be a BAMMA bout. In this one, former BAMMA Bantamweight champion Shay Walsh will take on James McErlean. It’s Walsh’s first bout since losing his title to surging prospect Tom Duquesnoy in May of last year, in a bout where Walsh’s four-fight winning streak came to a halt. He’s got six knockout and three submission wins, as well as five via decision. He’s also been knocked out three times.
In his first fight since losing the BAMMA title, Walsh will face McErlean, an Irishman with four submission wins. McErlean’s career has been quite weird, to say the least. He won his first three bouts, including two via first round submission. Then, he lost three straight via decision, before winning his last three, with the latter two coming via submission. Basically, it’s been three streaks of three-straight wins or losses. He’s a good talent that’s on a hot streak, but he’s facing a former champion. Could McErlean pull off a submission? Maybe, but I see Walsh managing to keep this on the feet, and either winning a decision, or pulling off a late finish. Prediction: Walsh via decision or late tko.
Sinead Kavanagh (4-0) vs. Iony Razafiarison (1-1, 1NC)
The next bout is the long women’s bout on the card, as well as the first of the Bellator bouts. There’s not much to say here. Kavanagh’s a notable unbeaten prospect, with two first round knockouts and two decisions to her credit. Her opponent, Iony Razafiarison, hasn’t fought since June 2015 and her lone win came in her pro debut in October 2013. Stranger things have happened than a potential Razafiarison win. I’m not going to expect it though, and will safely pick Kavanagh to win a decision or late finish here. Prediction: Kavanagh via decision or late tko.
James Gallagher (5-0) vs. Kirill Medvedovsky (7-3)
In the co-main event of the evening, unbeaten Irish prospect and cheap Conor McGregor knockoff (sorry, it’s true,) James Gallagher will take on Kirill Medvedovsky. I hate to refer to Gallagher the way I did, but honestly, I couldn’t help it. His tattoos and demeanor of late are, well, reminiscent of McGregor in a very cheap and obvious manner. He’s a legitimate fighter though, with four submission wins, including three in the first round. Both his Bellator bouts went into the third round though, with the latter being a submission win. Now, he faces his toughest, most experienced opponent to date.
The Israeli Medvedovsky lost his Bellator debut to former WSOF champion Georgi Karakhanyan in November, and has lost three of four overall since beginning his career 6-0. That doesn’t change the fact that he’s finished five of his seven wins, including four in the first round. He’s got a pair of knockout wins, as well as three submission victories to his credit. I think he’ll fight well here, and will come of looking pretty good. Hey, maybe he’ll even pull off the upset! I still have to go with Gallagher though. Anything can happen here, but signs point to Medvedovsky having been figured out of late, and I’ll go with Gallagher to win late again, even though a Medvedovsky win would be pretty awesome. Prediction: Gallagher via decision or late submission.
Liam McGeary (11-1) vs. Brett McDermott (7-4)
In the main event, former Bellator Light Heavyweight champion Liam McGeary will fight for the first time since losing both his title and his undefeated record against Phil Davis in November. Originally, McGeary was slated to face 11-Chris Fields. On Monday, however, Fields got injured, and his replacement was set to be Vladimir Filipovic. That match was slated for just a single day however, since Filipovic had to bow out due to visa issues.
Now, McGeary, a man who’s finished 10 of his 11 victories and has never been finished, will take on BAMMA’s own Brett McDermott – a man who’s finished six of his seven wins, including five in the first round. That’s right, it’s Bellator vs. BAMMA for the main event!
Basically, this is the most exciting opponent that McGeary’s facing, of the three he was rumored to fight going into this card. So, he has a chance here for sure. It should be a fun fight at least, which is really all one can hope for at this point. I’ll still take McGeary though, not only because he’s not the one stepping up on short notice, but also because he’s faced better competition, has never been finished, and is facing someone who’s been finished in three of four losses. It should be a fun fight while it lasts, but I doubt it will last too long. Prediction: McGeary via tko, late round 1.