Bellator 224 Preview

Bellator 224 Preview
Photo courtesy of Bellator MMA.

Bellator 224 will go down in Thackerville, Oklahoma on July 12th headlined with the women’s featherweight title between Julia Budd and Olga Rubin

Prelims Of Interest

Light Heavyweight: Jordan Young vs. Joel Bauman

Young and Bauman are both undefeated in their professional mixed martial arts career. Young may have the highest potential of any Bellator 224 prelim fighter. At only 24 years of age, he touts an unblemished record of 10-0 with eight finishes (all submissions). His last four fights have all ended by submission, three of which came in the first round.

Bauman owns a flawless professional record of 3-0 and an amateur record of 6-0. His last fight ended with an absolutely grueling first round finish which led to him being signed by Bellator.

Catchweight (190): Will Fleury vs. Antonio Jones

Fleury (5-1) is entering his third Bellator fight. He split his first two, losing in the first round then winning his latest by rear naked choke in the second. Jones (7-2) will be fighting for the first time in about a year. His last fight didn’t go as planned when he performed in front of Dana White at Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, losing by first round TKO. He will make his Bellator debut on Friday with the hopes to get back into the win column.

Catchweight (165): Kiefer Crosbie vs. Mike Jackson

This fight is a fascinating one. Crosbie, who sits on a professional record of 6-0, will be looking to win his third Bellator fight on Friday night. His journey to being an unbeaten pro has been all but easy. He ended his amateur career on a 2-5 skid, then moved up to the professional level where he has finished five of his six wins. His opponent, Jackson, is the most experienced veteran on the Bellator 224 prelims. Jackson has not enjoyed the success he covets, but will look to win his introductory Bellator fight.

Main Card

Welterweight: Ed Ruth vs. Kiichi Kunimoto

Ruth is an extremely decorated wrestler. After winning three NCAA division 1 titles, he was signed to Bellator where he won five consecutive fights. He earned a spot in the latest welterweight Grand Prix but lost to latest title challenger Neiman Gracie. Kunimoto, formerly of UFC and Rizin, will make his Bellator debut after winning his last two fights in Rizin.

Flyweight (W): Julianna Velasquez vs. Kristina Williams

Both women make their 2019 debut at Bellator 224. Velasquez is unbeaten through eight professional fights. In her first three Bellator fights, she owns two finish wins as she enters her fourth fight under the promotion. Velasquez enjoys a 50% finish rate.

Her opponent, Williams, possesses a 33% finish rate through six amateur and professional wins. Williams is 3-1 as a professional, winning her last by decision. They both look to remain in the win column in Oklahoma.

Middleweight Co-Main Event: Rafael Carvalho vs. Chidi Njokuani

Carvalho is an extremely accomplished Bellator veteran. He won the middleweight title in 2015 and defended it successfully three times. His 2018 was forgettable, to say the least. Between losing his belt to Gegard Mousasi by first round TKO and dropped his last fight to Lyoto Machida (which was at catchweight because he missed weight), it was not a good year for Carvalho. He looks to climb his way back into the middleweight picture with a win over Njokuani, who has dropped two of his last three (both in the first round).

Dismissive of missing weight twice in his past five fights, Njokuani looks to get back on track with a win on Friday.

Featherweight (W) Main Event: Julia Budd (C) vs. Olga Rubin

Budd won the inaugural Bellator women’s featherweight title in 2017 and looks to make her third title defense a success. She has faced (and lost to) arguably the two best women fighters of all time in Ronda Rousey and Amanda Nunes. Rubin is 6-0 professionally and hopes to make good on her first title shot. Big stakes for the Bellator 224 main event.


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