Injury forces champ Patricio Freire out of Bellator 188; Lahat vs. Labiano new headliner

Injury has caused a major blow to this Thursday’s Bellator 188.

Featherweight champion Patricio Freire (26-4 MMA, 14-4 BMMA), who was supposed to meet Daniel Weichel (39-9, 8-1 BMMA) in the night’s title headliner, today announced that he had to withdraw due to “multiple injuries.” News of the canceled main event was first reported on Twitter by Ram Giboa.

Bellator 188 takes place Thursday at Menora Mivtachim Arena Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel. The main card airs on Spike the following day via tape delay.

In a statement released on Instagram, “Pitbull” Freire elaborated on the issues that plagued his camp. While he tried his best to work around a series of injuries, Freire said that, last Thursday, one of them got worse. After a sparring session on Friday, the champ and his team decided he was in no condition to step in the cage.

“It’d be a disrespect to me, to the fans, to my opponent and to Bellator,” Freire stated. “I’ll have to take 30 days off, and then I’ll be able to start training again. I plan to fight in February at the latest and defend my belt against Daniel Weichel.”

Instagram Photo

“I’m sad to announce I’ll no longer be fighting in Israel next week. Multiple injuries prevent me to perform.

A couple months ago due to a training accident I suffered a serious injury and started treating it immediately. I had to stop training for a few weeks and then I was able to start with several limitations. But due to those, other parts of my body were overcharged and new injuries kept piling up.

I’ve been doing physical therapy three times a day, I was lent a 25k dollars machine to sleep with every day, and although I wasn’t in my best condition I had no intention to pull out. In all my years in Bellator I only pulled out of a fight once due to a hand fracture.

Up until Wednesday the fight was 100% on. On Thursday came the doubt as one of the injuries aggravated. I deliberated with my team what to do up to 2am. I decided to test myself on Friday on my last sparring session. And then it became obvious I had no condition to step up in that cage. It’d be a disrespect to me, to the fans, to my opponent and to Bellator.

I’ll have to take 30 days off and then I’ll be able to start training again. I plan to fight in February at the latest and defend my belt against Daniel Weichel.

See you all soon.”

Freire and Weichel met before, in 2015, at Bellator 183. Freire was the winner via second-round knockout. Freire would have entered the rematch off a tetralogy meeting with former champion Daniel Straus – which saw “Pitbull” re-claim the featherweight title. Weichel, in turn, went on a four-fight streak after the loss to Freire.

MMAjunkie was able to confirm with Freire’s camp that, as originally reported by MMAFighting.com, Bellator lightweight Patricky Freire tried to step in for his brother. While Patricio never got to make the trip to Israel, Patricky is there with Pitbull Brothers athlete Luiz Victor Rocha, who fights on the preliminary card.

While the former l55-pound title challenger was willing to either meet Weichel at lightweight or anyone else under a 160-pound catchweight limit, Bellator didn’t take him up on it. Bellator has confirmed that a featherweight meeting between Israel’s Noad Lahat and Jeremiah Labiano is now the night’s main event.

Freire’s camp is now hoping that Rocha’s fight, against Israeli fighter Kirill Medvedovski, will get upgraded to the main card. The promotion, however, hasn’t released a new bout order yet.

For more on Bellator 188, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator fighters sound off on promotion's lack of fight-night bonuses – and what they could mean

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News

With the promotion continuing to grow, some Bellator fighters are picking back up the rallying cry for some extra financial love.

The UFC, Bellator’s top competitor, long has had a fight-night bonus structure in place. That promotion used to have fluctuating bonus amounts, typically from $40,000 for smaller shows up to $70,000 for bigger pay-per-views. And for its blockbuster UFC 129 card in Toronto, the bonuses were $129,000.

These days, the UFC has settled into a flat $50,000 bonus structure for each show and hands out four – two performance bonuses, plus a “Fight of the Night.” Absent a compelling best fight, sometimes two extra performance bonuses will take its place.

But Bellator doesn’t have a formal fight-night bonus system, and it’s something some of its fighters would, naturally, love to see in place.

“I think Bellator is overdue in establishing ‘of the night’ bonuses,” featherweight champion Patricio Freire (26-4 MMA, 14-4 BMMA) told MMAjunkie. “(Former CEO) Bjorn Rebney talked about it. (Current President) Scott Coker talks about it. Bellator has the best event production in North America, and most of its fights are exciting. It’s rare to see someone fight not to lose in Bellator. Imagine knowing that if you put on a show, you get to keep your job, plus there’s a financial incentive to go above and beyond – a bonus for fight, knockout, or submission of the night.”

His brother Patricky Freire (18-8 MMA, 11-7 BMMA) agrees. And with seven of his 11 Bellator wins by knockout, he thinks a bonus system would’ve gone a long way for his personal finances.

“I believe Bellator should have done this already,” he said. “Bellator has the structure and the ability to do so. I think it would make the organization shine even more. It would make the fighters even more motivated. A lot of people ask me about that. I see smaller promotions that already offer submission, knockout, or fight-of-the-night bonuses. It would be the cherry on top. It would be exciting.

“If this had been in place when I signed up, I think I’d have a lot of money put away by now. Modesty aside, I think I would have earned several bonuses.”

Patricio believes if Bellator started up a bonus system, it also would work as a lure to bring talent over from organizations like the UFC. Bellator has made quite a few high-profile signings of UFC free agents in the past couple years.

Former UFC and WEC lightweight champ Benson Henderson, whom Patricky just beat in the Bellator 183 main event, won four bonuses in the UFC and another three in the WEC. He came to Bellator in early 2016 as a free agent

“A free agent in the UFC, who is known for earning bonuses, if he finds out that’s also a possibility in Bellator, wouldn’t that be extra incentive to come over?” Patricio asked. “I think Bellator should add all these kinds of bonuses – for finishes and best fight of the night. The funding is there. Bellator belongs to a gigantic conglomerate. It will be another step in the growth of the organization.”

Goiti Yamauchi

Goiti Yamauchi (22-3 MMA, 8-2 BMMA) submitted Adam Piccolotti in the first round at Bellator 183 and has seven of his eight Bellator wins by stoppage with six submissions.

“A bonus system would be great,” Yamauchi said. “It’s further incentive for fighters who are aggressive. Of my eight victories in Bellator, only one was a decision. It proves that I don’t back down and I always look for a finish. It would be a great incentive for fighters like me. I think the fans are there to see that sort of fight. I think that’s what I bring.

“I think I missed out on a few possible bonuses, but that’s no problem. Everything will work out in the end.”

The promotion returns next week for Bellator 184 on Oct. 6 in Thackerville, Okla.

For more on Bellator’s upcoming schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Sorry 'Pitbull': Scott Coker says Michael Chandler first for champ Brent Primus

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Although Patricky Freire and Brent Primus apparently have signed off on a fight, Bellator chief Scott Coker hasn’t forgotten about Michael Chandler.

Coker indicated the ex-lightweight champ is likely first in line to face champ Primus after their bizarre meeting in June.

“We’ve been waiting for Chandler to fight Primus again,” Coker told MMAjunkie after this past Saturday’s Bellator 183 at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.

Chandler (16-4 MMA, 13-4 BMMA) suffered a freak ankle injury and ceded the belt at Bellator 180. He anticipated a rematch with Primus (8-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA) after he healed up. As it turned out, the injury didn’t turn out to be as severe as it looked.

So what’s the holdup? According to Coker, it isn’t the ex-champ, but the current one.

“(Primus’) wife is having a baby, and we’re very respectful of that,” Coker said. “We’re waiting for him, and when he’s ready to re-engage, I think Chandler should be the first one.”

Freire (18-8 MMA, 11-7 BMMA), of course, disagrees. After adding an ex-UFC champ to his list of wins this past Saturday, he accused Primus of ducking previous bookings and said he should get a title shot.

To his delight, Primus agreed.

“@PatrickyPitbull congrats on the fight tonight man! You say I ran from you twice? I’ve signed the only contact I got to fight you. #ready,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Thanks! I have to promote the fight,” Freire replied. “Let’s do this! Good luck with your baby.”

Chandler was none too happy about the turn of events, sliding into the conversation to mock the two.

“You two can fight it out for title of ‘never heard of that guy’ and ‘chokes under pressure,’” he wrote.

Predictably, Freire was not amused.

“You were lucky last time,” he replied. “I can’t wait to shut your big mouth. I’ll deliver the beating of a lifetime before knocking you out.”

Freire then challenged Chandler to a fight – 11 days away at Bellator 184.

Bellator’s lightweight division is such that the trio will probably all end up fighting each other again at some point – the only question is in what order. But from the looks of it, that is already set.

To hear more from Coker, check out the video above.

For complete coverage of Bellator 183, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Bizarre Bellator title triangle: Michael Chandler, Patricky Freire, Brent Primus battle on social media

Bellator’s lightweight title picture is a little complicated right now. But it’s been amusing to watch its main players trying to figure it out.

After a weird injury put an anti-climatic end to their Bellator NYC title encounter, a rematch seemed inevitable for champ Brent Primus and ex-champ Michael Chandler. But then Bellator 183 happened – and, with a win over former UFC champion and Bellator title challenger Benson Henderson, Patricky Freire crashed the party.

And then they all started airing some grievances on social media.

Freire (18-8 MMA, 11-7 BMMA) thinks he deserves a shot before Chandler – with whom he also welcome a rematch. Chandler (16-4 MMA, 13-4 BMMA), who actually has his eye on another Bellator division, apparently thinks both Primus and Freire are lame. And Primus (8-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA), who doesn’t think the Earth is flat but does like puppies, would be OK with fighting either.

Confusing, we know, but we’ll walk you through it.

Before the meeting with Henderson even took place, Freire told MMAjunkie that he’d already had two appointments with Primus agreed to – and that the now-champ had avoided him twice.

Primus, however, politely disputed that account later – not without first congratulating Freire on his win. To which an equally polite Freire replied, leading Primus to gush about being a parent while at the same time sort of agreeing to hit another man in the face.

The atypically nice exchange wasn’t lost on Chandler, who wasn’t about to let this unfold without making his presence known. But, you know, in a somewhat less friendly manner than the two.

First, he talked to them directly.

And then Chandler made a separate post to air his feelings on the way the other two lightweights handled their business.

Instagram Photo

Freire wasn’t about to extend Chandler, who knocked him out in a Bellator 157 co-headliner for the vacant 155-pound title, the same courtesy directed toward Primus. So he challenged the “pathetic” former champion to a rematch –  date suggestion included.

Primus also went out of his way to issue Chandler a response. After some shade about the former titleholder and the controversial leg injury (which, by the way, is a whole separate conversation) that put an end to their recent title match, the champ went on to clarify his stances on relevant matters such as: The shape of our planet, respect in martial arts and, most importantly, puppies.

Instagram Photo

That particular three-way beef seems to be on hold for now, but not before some unsuspicious victims got caught in the cross-fire.

For complete coverage of Bellator 183, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Filed under: Bellator, Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Patricky Freire says he should get title shot before Michael Chandler

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Bellator lightweight Patricky Freire believes he’s earned the right to cut the line of contenders at 155 pounds.

Although many think Michael Chandler’s (16-4 MMA, 13-4 BMMA) freak injury loss to champ Brent Primus (8-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA) guarantees a rematch, “Pitbull” Freire said he should be first.

“Listen, I’m the top dog,” Freire (18-8 MMA, 11-7 BMMA) told MMAjunkie after his split-call win over ex-UFC champ Benson Henderson (24-8 MMA, 1-3 BMMA) at Bellator 183. “He was fighting, he got hurt. He hurt his leg. Nobody knows what happened, and two weeks later, he’s running. That’s his fault.

“I’m at the top of the list. I’ve been at the top of the list for 18 victories. This is my chance. This is my shot. That’s why I deserve it.”

Freire edged Henderson in a Spike-televised headliner at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., coming on strong in the third and final frame of a very close fight.

“I feel prepared for the big gold,” Freire said backstage after the fight.

Chandler undoubtedly will have something to say about that. But soon after the fight, he let a video clip do the talking, posting a highlight reel of his wins over Freire and Henderson in his second title reign.

“I still have one more ‘Pitbull’ on my list,” Chandler wrote, signaling Freire’s younger brother, featherweight champ Patricio “Pitbull” Freire.

For the elder Freire, one big name is now on his list of wins. So far, he’s been unable to capture Bellator gold. But his argument just got stronger for another chance.

For complete coverage of Bellator 183, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Frustrated Benson Henderson after Bellator 183 loss: 'I need to stop having close fights'

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos

Benson Henderson is tired of leaving his fights in the hands of the judges, and he’s vowed to do his best to make needed changes following his loss to Patricky Freire in the Bellator 183 main event.

Henderson (24-8 MMA, 1-3 BMMA) suffered a split-decision loss to Freire (18-8 MMA, 11-7 BMMA) in Saturday’s Spike-televised lightweight headliner – which took place at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., following prelims on MMAjunkie – dropping him to 0-3 in fights decided on the scorecards since he came to Bellator.

Prior to joining Bellator, the former UFC and WEC lightweight champion faired well in decisions, going a combined 10-2 in those promotions. The tables continued to turn on “Smooth” at Bellator 183, though, and he said he’s had enough.

“I think that either way, win or lose, I need to stop having close fights,” Henderson told MMAjunkie after his loss. “(People say), ‘Oh, it was kind of close, maybe you could have won, you could have lost.’ Like, those close fights are killing me. It’s always nice to win a close fight, win a close split decision, but just being in close decision, close split decision, split decision (all in a row) – those are just too close to have. You can’t have those. You have to have a better performance win or lose. You got to be in more decisive battles. It sucks.”

Henderson said he’s not sure exactly how to articulate what he needs to change in order to create a wider gap from the competition, but in his opinion, it largely comes down to activity.

“I think if I had a technical reason for it, maybe cage control or damage done while you have the cage control,” Henderson said. “Maybe the number of significant strikes thrown from cage control. You’ve got to find the way to word it, exactly. For whatever reason, earlier on, I was winning those really close decisions, and I’ll take it. Now I’m not winning close decisions, so I have to do better. I have to be better to get my hand raised in those close decisions.”

After leaving the UFC with a decorated resume and momentum on his side, it’s fair to say that Henderson’s Bellator tenure has not gone as planned so far. He said the outcomes of his fights have been largely discouraging but made it clear there’s no piece of him that’s being turned off from the sport or forcing him to consider giving up.

“When you get to a point where you’re losing and it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t sting and you’re like, ‘Oh, I lost another one; oh, well’ (then you should retire),” Henderson said. “This burns my soul. This does not feel good. It is burning inside. You have to learn who to deal with it. Learn how to accept it, take it like a man, and get better from it. In no way, shape or form, am I not highly upset. But I know if I tear a TV off the wall and smash it, it doesn’t do anything. It’s just all theatrics. I know on Monday I need to get back in the gym and work on getting better so I don’t have close decisions, period.”

One of Henderson’s primary goals when he moved to Bellator was to become the first fighter in MMA history to claim titles in the UFC, WEC and Bellator. His rough road has derailed his plans in the interim, but Henderson said he’s not deterred – he just hopes he can get back on track sooner than later.

“For me, it’s always get back in there right away,” Henderson said. “I’m pretty healthy. No black eyes or not beat up or too sore or nothing like that. I’d like to get back in there right away, but who knows what Bellator is going to say, match-wise, who I’m going to match up with next. That’s a whole spaghetti and pile of noodles I don’t want to worry about.

For complete coverage of Bellator 183, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 183 video highlights: Freire edges Henderson, Daley and Pico deliver big

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured Videos, News, Videos

Saturday’s Bellator 183 event was heavy on talent, and the card delivered on entertainment value.

Bellator 183 took place at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. The main card aired on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

In the night’s main event, Patricky Freire (18-8 MMA, 11-7 BMMA) handed former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson (24-8 MMA, 1-3 BMMA) his second straight split-decision loss.

In the night’s co-feature, hard-hitting Paul Daley (40-15-2 MMA, 6-2 BMMA) ended his rivalry with Lorenz Larkin (18-7 MMA, 0-2 BMMA) in impressive fashion, catching the fellow striker with a big left hand. However, it was top prospect Aaron Pico (1-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) who may have delivered the most memorable moment of the night, scoring a crushing knockout of Justin Linn (7-4 MMA, 0-1 BMMA).

Check out the video above to see highlights of all the action.

For complete coverage of Bellator 183, check out the MMA Events section of the night.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Twitter reacts to Patricky Freire's narrow win vs. Benson Henderson at Bellator 183

Patricky Freire pulled off arguably the biggest victory of his career on Saturday when he defeated former UFC and WEC champ Benson Henderson in the Bellator 183 main event.

Not only did Freire (18-8 MMA, 11-7 BMMA) beat Henderson (24-8 MMA, 1-3 BMMA) by split decision in the Spike-televised lightweight headliner at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., but he also avenge a loss for his brother, who was beaten by “Smooth” in August 2016.

Check out the top Twitter reactions to Freire’s victory over Henderson at Bellator 183.

* * * *

For complete coverage of Bellator 183, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 183 results: Patricky Freire edges Benson Henderson in chess match

Patricky Freire handed former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson his second straight split-decision loss.

In a fight that frequently dipped into a tactical stalemate, Freire’s (18-8 MMA, 11-7 BMMA) strong late-fight performance may have swayed judges against Henderson (24-8 MMA, 1-3 BMMA) with scores of 28-29, 29-28 and 29-28.

The lightweight headliner aired on Spike as the featured bout Bellator 183, which took place Saturday at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. Prelims streamed on MMAjunkie.

After getting the decision, Freire made his case for another shot at Bellator gold by calling out current champ Brent Primus.

“I eat former champions for breakfast,” he said. “Brett Primus, you have my gold. You have my belt. You run two times. Two times, I come for you.”

By dispatching Henderson, Freire certainly narrowed the field of contenders. But his win fell short of the emphatic statement that often warrants a big opportunity. The matchup of styles didn’t help much, either.

Freire had a tough time getting inside to land punches on the southpaw Henderson, who proved an elusive target as he sniped to the body with kicks. Takedown attempts from Henderson in the second and third rounds ate up a sizable chunk of time as Freire wrestled to stay upright.

Only in the final frame did Freire seem to find his range, clipping Henderson with a left hook that briefly made the ex-champ take a knee. Henderson repaid the favor, and then took a right straight. A leaping knee rebuffed his forward advance.

It was a slim margin, but then again, most Henderson fights are decided on those. Freire has now won two straight after a knockout of former UFC standout and Strikeforce champ Josh Thomson, while Henderson drops to 1-3 in the Bellator cage.

Complete Bellator 183 results include:

  • Patricky Freire def. Benson Henderson via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Paul Daley def. Lorenz Larkin via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:40
  • Roy Nelson def. Jay Ayala via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Aaron Pico def. Justin Linn via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 3:45
    Goiti Yamauchi def. Adam Piccolotti via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:19
  • Tony Johnson def. Mike Ortega via knockout (punch) – Round 2, 1:49
  • Kaytlin Neil def. Brooke Mayo via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Brandon Laroco def. Gaston Bolanos via technical submission (triangle choke) – Round 2, 2:16
  • Jaimelene Nievera def. Corina Herrera via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-27)
  • Fernando Gonzalez def. Alex Lopez via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Ricardo Vasquez def. Justin Tenedora via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 2:39
  • J.J. Okanovich def. Luis Jauregui via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 0:42
  • Daniel Gonzalez def. Anthony Castrejon via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 4:03

For complete coverage of Bellator 183, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 183 and Bellator Kickboxing 7 weigh-in results: Henderson (155.9), Freire (156) lead 20 total fights

Filed under: Bellator, News

SAN JOSE, Calif. – MMAjunkie was on scene and reporting live from today’s combined Bellator 183 and Bellator Kickboxing 7 official fighter weigh-ins.

With 20 total contests, all 40 fighters made weight without issue,

Today’s proceedings took place at the San Jose Marriott and preceded the afternoon’s ceremonial weigh-ins, which take place at the nearby SAP Center, site of Saturday’s dual card.

Featuring a headlining contest between former UFC and WEC lightweight champion Benson Henderson (24-7 MMA, 1-2 BMMA) and Brazilian slugger Patricky Freire (17-8 MMA, 10-7 BMMA), Bellator 183’s main card airs on Spike following prelims that stream on MMAjunkie.

Bellator Kickboxing 7’s main card will be broadcast on Spike via tape delay on Oct. 6, directly after the live airing of Bellator 184.

The full Bellator 183 and Bellator Kickboxing 7 results included:

‘Bellator 183: Henderson vs. Pitbull’

MAIN CARD (Spike, 9 p.m. ET)

  • Benson Henderson (155.9) vs. Patricky Freire (156)
  • Paul Daley (171) vs. Lorenz Larkin (171)
  • Javy Ayala (265.3) vs. Roy Nelson (262.4)
  • Adam Piccolotti (155.2) vs. Goiti Yamauchi (155.9)
  • Justin Linn (146) vs. Aaron Pico (144.5)

PRELIMINARY CARD (MMAjunkie, 6:30 pm. ET)

  • Brooke Mayo (125.6) vs. Kaytlin Neil (125.2)
  • Fernando Gonzalez (171) vs. Alex Lopez (171)
  • Gaston Bolanos (145.6) vs. Brandon Laroco (145.5)
  • Tony Johnson (204.8) vs. Mike Ortega (204.9)
  • Justin Tenedora (135.9) vs. Ricardo Vasquez (135.7)
  • Corina Herrera (123.5) vs. Jaimelene Nievera (125.4)
  • Luis Jauregui (154.9) vs. J.J. Okanovich (154.5)
  • Anthony Castrejon (125.8) vs. Daniel Gonzalez (123.2)

‘Bellator Kickboxing 7: Ross vs. Lomurno’

MAIN CARD (Spike, tape delay)

  • Kevin Ross (144.3) vs. Domenico Lomurno (143.4)
  • Raymond Daniels (169.7) vs. Karim Ghajji (169.3)
  • Najib Idali (182.8) vs. Joe Schilling (185.2)
  • Jorina Baars (142.8) vs. Anke Van Gestel (142.5)
  • Joe Palacios (146) vs. Malaipet Sasiprapa (144)

PRELIMINARY CARD (unaired)

  • Jacob Ycaro (146) vs. Jonathan Tan (144.7)
  • Gloria Telles (123) vs. Shannah Gozo (122.4)

For more on Bellator 183, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie