Bellator 294 Preview

Bellator’s weekend in Hawaii will be kicked off on Friday night with Bellator 294. Here is a preview of the action on offer. 

Main Event

Liz Carmouche vs DeAnna Bennett

With a world title on the line (only for the champ) Liz Carmouche makes her second defence of Bellator’s 125 lb strap when she takes on 4th-ranked contender DeAnna Bennett. Previously a longtime competitor in the UFC where she took on Ronda Rousey in the first-ever women’s fight in the organisation, Carmouche had twice challenged for the UFC gold before moving onto pastures greener back in 2020. Now at 39 years old, she has had a late-career resurgence, remaining unbeaten during her Bellator stint and riding a 5-fight win streak which has seen her ascend to the top of the division. Carmouche delivered two incredibly impressive performances winning and defending the flyweight title against former champion Juliana Velasquez who was 12-0 and considered one of the brightest prospects in women’s MMA at the time. Despite her opponent missing weight for this defence she has opted to still put the belt on the line and the title will be vacated if she was to lose. This shows she truly has the heart of a champion.

Her opponent DeAnna Bennett has amassed a comfortable win streak of her own. Her last loss came against Carmouche who was making her debut in Bellator, Bennett has since gone three fights unbeaten. Yet despite the three-fight win streak the quality of these wins is somewhat up for debate. Two wins over Justine Kish who is 2-6 in her last eight fights and a win over Alejandra Lara who has now lost 4 on the bounce do not compare when analysing the competition that Carmouche had to face with fighters such as Juliana Velasquez, Kana Wantabe and Vanessa Porto rounding off an extremely impressive win streak. This is Bennett’s second fight against Carmouche and she has missed weight for the bout each time. This combined with the first fight between them ending in a fairly one-sided submission victory for Carmouche makes it clear who the favourite is. Bennett will need a performance of a lifetime if she is to pick up the win tonight. She missed weight yesterday and won’t win the title even with a win.

Co-main event

Tim Johnson vs Said Sowma

Tim Johnson is a name that will be familiar to many fans of Bellator. Formerly fighting under the UFC, Johnson would make the switch to Bellator in 2018 where he would lose his first two fights in the promotion. This would be followed by an impressive three-fight win streak at heavyweight. A division notoriously difficult to keep up any extended run of form. This purple patch would culminate in an interim Heavyweight title shot where he would ultimately come up short against Valentin Moldavsky. Since then Johnson has failed to capture a win losing against legend Fedor Emelianenko and current number-one contender Linton Vassel. Now looking to break his losing streak Johnson will be hoping to pick up the win on Friday night. 

His opponent Said Sowma will be looking to snap a losing streak of his own. Sowma has lost his last two fights by split decision. A young heavyweight at the age of 30, Sowma has plenty of time to get back in the winner’s column but would rather do it sooner than later. Before his most recent losses, Sowma had picked up a victory over Ronny Markes as well as a somewhat controversial TKO win over former Bellator Heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov in a bout that had to be stopped due to a broken finger for the Russian. If Sowma is able to claim the scalp of Johnson it will go a long way to restoring some of his credibility and will get him on the right track towards a title shot. 

Main Card

Arlene Blencowe vs Sara McMann

This fight will take place in the women’s featherweight division and sees number 2 contender Arlene Blencowe take on promotional newcomer, Sara McMann. Blencowe has fought three separate times for the Bellator Featherweight strap and has lost on each occasion. These represent her only defeats in her time with the organisation. Her last fight being a decision loss to Cris Cyborg almost exactly a year ago at Bellator 279. She will be looking to keep her place in the rankings as she takes on McMann. 

McMann has had a storied career and is one of the pioneers of women’s MMA. She was the first American woman in history to receive a silver medal at the Olympics which she managed to do in 2004 and went on to have a long career in the UFC. Fighting in the bantamweight division, McMann would challenge Ronda Rousey for the gold as well as getting into the octagon with the likes of Miesha Tate, Amanda Nunes and Juliana Pena. Now aged 42 McMann will likely be looking at her time in Bellator as one final chance to win some gold in MMA and a win over Blencowe would put her in a great position to take on Cyborg for the belt. 

Danny Sabatello vs Marcos Breno

If things had gone Danny Sabatello’s way last December he would be fighting on Saturday night’s card as opposed to Fridays. As it stands his loss in the Bantamweight Grand Prix Semi Final against Raufeon Stots means that he will be looking to get his name back into the title picture with a win on Friday night. His opponent Marcos Breno will similarly be looking for a statement win that will allow him to swoop in once the Bantamweight title picture settles down. While not ranked, a record of 15-2 with 13 finishes shows that Breno is not someone to be overlooked and that if Sabatello’s mind does start to drift towards thoughts with the other big names of the division he may find himself in big trouble.

Levan Chokheli vs Michael Lombardo

The main card is rounded off with a welterweight showdown between two up-and-coming contenders. Levan Chokheli and Michael Lombardo. Both are relatively young in their career, both hold impressive records and both are attempting to make a name for themselves in one of Bellator’s most stacked divisions. In a very tough fight to call, Lombardo will be making his third appearance in the promotion after picking up a KO win in his last outing going 1-1 so far in his time with Bellator. Chokheli will be making his 5th appearance also breaking even 2-2 in his first 4 appearances with Bellator. Both are coming off of a win and will be looking to gain some momentum in the Welterweight division by forming some sort of a win streak and to try break into that elusive top 10. 


Anthony Adams (9-3-0) vs Sharaf Davlatmurodov (18-4-1) at Middleweight

Chris Lencioni (10-3-0) vs Blake Smith (7-3-0) at Featherweight

Tyrell Fortune (12-3-0) vs Sergei Bilostenniy (10-2-0) at Heavyweight

Killys Mota (14-3-0) vs Kenneth Cross (13-3-0) at Lightweight

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