Bellator 302 Main Event Breakdown

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If you wanted more daytime MMA in your life, this weekend, you’ll have plenty of it. Your itinerary of competitive violence commences during your lunch hour depending upon where you are this Friday. While the second full day of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament and the first full day of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament happens inside the United States, MMA fans will be fixated on the happenings inside SSE Arena in Belfast.

One month removed from an anticipated super card pitting the best of the PFL against the finest in Bellator MMA, the latter promotion returns for its first flagship event after the sale last November. Bellator 302 is the first of eight shows from the promotion in 2024 and the first of its new Champions Series.

Live coverage begins Friday afternoon at 1 pm ET/ 10 am PT from Belfast, Northern Ireland. While the action will be seen in a number of foreign markets on DAZN, Max will be the designation for Bellator cards in America starting with Bellator 302 on Friday.

Vacant Light Heavyweight Title At Stake in Bellator 302 Main Event

All told, absent of any postponed fights between now and Friday afternoon, the final version of Bellator 302 will feature 11 fights. Two championships will be up for grabs at the top of the bill.

Immediately following the co-main event for the Bellator MMA Featherweight Championship, the Vacant Bellator MMA Light Heavyweight Championship will be on the line in the Bellator 302 main event. No. 1 contender Corey Anderson (17-6, 1 NC MMA, 4-1, 1 NC Bellator) squares off against No. 4 contender Karl Moore (12-2 MMA, 4-0 Bellator), an alum of Cage Warriors.

This main attraction will be a maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the show. Its winner succeeds now-former Bellator MMA Light Heavyweight Champion Vadim Nemkov (18-2, 1 NC MMA, 9-0, 1 NC Bellator), who moved up to heavyweight in January.

Bellator 302 Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds

Heading into the Bellator 302 main event this Friday, both of these men stand level in height at 6-foot-3. Corey Anderson owns a 2 1/2-inch reach advantage (77 1/2 inches to 75 inches) over Karl Moore. No leg reach information was found online at press time.

Currently, the oddsmakers have Corey Anderson installed as a -400 favorite on the money line, with Karl Moore countering as a +275 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.

Corey Anderson Playing the Heel

Corey Anderson enters the Bellator 302 main event having posted a record of 3-1 with one no-contest in his last five fights. Most recently, he scored a split decision over Phil Davis (24-7, 1 NC MMA, 11-4 Bellator) on June 16 last year.

During an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour last month, he made a bold claim.

“I already believe I’m like the best light heavyweight in the world,” Anderson said. “People are going to say whatever you want to say. I believe it every day. That’s the only way I can get up and keep doing this thing.”

Corey Anderson will be the heel on Friday in the Bellator 302 main event. This man is an avid hunter, but can he stalk big game in hostile territory and come away as the new champion at 205 lbs?

Important Home Game for Karl Moore

In the other corner, Karl Moore has gone 4-1 over his last five fights. Since joining the Bellator MMA promotional banner in September of 2019, he’s on a four-fight winning streak. Last time out, he bested Alex Polizzi (10-3 MMA, 4-3 Bellator) on June 16 during the selfsame Bellator 297.

Recently, Moore talked to Gareth Fullerton of Belfast Live about fighting in front of his countrymen.

“Dublin is a brilliant atmosphere, but Belfast is different,” Moore stated. “It is crazy for the boxing shows, even for the concerts that take place at the SSE. I can only imagine what it will be like when one of its own is fighting for a title. It is giving me goosebumps now.”

While Karl Moore will no doubt be dealing with butterflies in his stomach in the final days before the Bellator 302 main event on Friday, his key will be to tune out all the distractions and focus on his goal.

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Stylistically, the Bellator 302 main event looks to favor Corey Anderson, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and former collegiate wrestler, compared to Karl Moore’s background as a balanced fighter.

Look for Anderson to Use Elbows

While Corey Anderson is a black belt in BJJ, he can knock guys out, too. One need look no further than his 2020 bout in the Fightsphere at Mohegan Sun Arena vs. Melvin Manhoef. 

During the second round of a scheduled five, Anderson threw feints to keep Manhoef off his gameplan before taking him down and assuming half-guard, slicing Manhoef open with brutal elbows. With no effort made by Melvin Manhoef to defend himself, the ref called this one in favor of Anderson just beyond the midway point of the period.

If Corey Anderson can take Karl Moore to the mat, look for him to seize momentum of the Bellator 302 main event.

Karl Moore Can Punch His Way to a Win, Too

In the other corner, don’t discount Karl Moore’s ability to knock out an opponent. He’s got vicious strikes in his own right, which he displayed against Richie Knox in 2013.

During the first round of a scheduled three, the action was halted momentarily for an illegal blow from Knox, but once it got going again, Moore fought his way out of a takedown. After a second timeout for a low blow, both guys traded punches, with Moore landing a swift counterpunch to knock Knox down and out.

If Karl Moore and Corey Anderson get into close range, Moore has the skills to be the aggressor.

Final Thoughts

Warner Bros. Discovery could not have asked for two better championship fights to kick off Bellator MMA’s slate on Max. If you already have a subscription to Max, type in that email and password because the Bellator 302 co-main and main events will be can’t-miss stuff on Friday. If not, you still have a few days to go to sign up for a free trial.

Prediction: Corey Anderson by Third-Round TKO. 

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about combat sports since May of 2018, coming to MMASucka after stints at Overtime Heroics and Armchair All-Americans. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew is a charter member of the Youngstown Press Club. Prior to beginning his professional career, Drew was a sportswriter for YSU's student-run newspaper, The Jambar, where he supplied Press Box Perspective columns every week.

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