Bellator MMA continues their International Tour with a stop at the Budapest Sports Arena in Budapest, Hungary for Bellator 177. The main event features Bantamweight Champion Eduardo Dantas defending his title against Bellator newcomer Leandro Higo. Darrion Caldwell was originally scheduled to challenge Dantas for the title, but an injury forced him out of the match-up. The co-main event takes place in the featherweight division where MMA and Bellator veteran Daniel Weichel takes on John Teixeira.
The main card rounds out with a women’s flyweight fight when Lena Ovchynnikova goes up against another newcomer to the Bellator promotion, Helen Harper and finally Hungary’s own Adam Borics takes on Anthony Taylor.
The main card will air on Spike TV starting at 8 PM CT.
Leandro Higo (17-2) vs. Eduardo Dantas #9 (19-4) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Leandro Higo steps in for the injured Darrion Caldwell, while also making his Bellator debut. The 28 year old Brazilian enters the fight riding an eight fight undefeated run with six stoppages. Higo is hoping to make a huge statement by taking out the champion in his first fight with the promotion.
Eduardo Dantas won the bantamweight title by beating Marcos Galvao by unanimous decision at Bellator 156. It was his second time winning the title. He successfully defended the title at Bellator 166 when he defeated Joe Warren by majority decision. It will interesting to see if there’s any letdown now that he’s not facing Darrion Caldwell in what was a highly anticipated fight between two of the best bantamweights in MMA.
Dantas doesn’t possess big power as 4 KO/TKOs in 19 wins illustrates. He does however have great cardio who works at a fast pace with a high volume of offense. His ground game is solid but he does struggle with fighters who are stronger and can keep him down. Leandro Higo isn’t exactly a knockout artist either with only 3 KO/TKOs in 17 wins. He does have a strong ground game which has earned him 10 wins by submission.
I don’t think Higo has the strength to be able to control Dantas on the ground like Joe Warren did. I do expect a high paced fight that goes the distance with Dantas outworking and pointing Higo.
Pick: Dantas by decision
John Teixeira (21-1-2) vs. Daniel Weichel (38-9) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Germany’s Daniel Weichel comes into his fight against John Teixeira winning 10 of his last 11 fights. The one loss came against Patricio Freire at Bellator 138. His most recent fight was a submission win over Brian Moore at Bellator 169. While Weichel doesn’t have huge power, only 5 of his career 38 wins are by KO/TKO, he does have an excellent ground game with 22 submissions.
If not for a draw against Rivaldo Junior back in June of 2013, John Texeira would be working on a ten fight undefeated streak. His most recent fight was at Bellator 167 where he decisioned Justin Lawrence. Like Weichel, Teixeira is much more dangerous on the ground with 10 of his 21 wins coming via submission with only 4 KO/TKOs.
I’m really looking forward to this scrap. I enjoy watching Daniel Weichel fight and I expect John Teixeira to give him all he can handle and then some. The winner of this fight will likely put themselves in line for a shot at the featherweight title.
Both fighters are dangerous and either can pull off a submission win here. However, I think Daniel Weichel gets it done by either late submission or decision.
Pick: Weichel by decision
Helen Harper (4-1) vs. Lena Ovchynnikova (12-4) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
Lena Ovchynnikova will be making her third appearance for Bellator when she steps into the cage to face Helen Harper. Ovchynnikova lost her debut for the promotion by losing to Rebecca Ruth at Bellator 150. After that loss she took on Mara Romero Borella at WMMAF World MMA Cup 2016 and was awarded the decision; however, it was later overturned by WMMAF to a no-contest. Lena returned to Bellator at Bellator 164 where she won a unanimous decision over Karla Benitez.
Helen Harper makes her Bellator debut after going 4-1 on the regional circuit with 3 stoppages. Her latest fight occurred at Showdown Series MMA – Showdown 5 where she decisioned Sofie Langsford.
Ovchynnikova started out on an eight fight winning streak, but is just 3-4 over her last seven. This is a fight she has to have in order to stay relevant in Bellator’s competitive flyweight division. Lena has an excellent ground game. Eight of her eleven wins are by submission. Ovchynnikova is the better fighter with more experience. Harper’s last fight was in May, 2015 so she might get off to a slow start. Either way, this is a fight Lena has to have.
Pick: Ovchynnikova by submission
Anthony Taylor (1-2) vs. Adam Borics (5-0) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Hungary’s own Adam Borics looks to stay perfect when he steps into the Bellator cage for the first time. He has fought primarily in Eastern Europe and has looked good while amassing a 5-0 record on the regional circuit. His latest win came at Final Fight Championship 23 where he submitted Manuel Bilic.
Anthony Taylor is 1-2 under the Bellator banner. His lone win came against Victor Jones at Bellator 154 and most recently was submitted by James Gallagher at Bellator 169.
I don’t expect Borics to have much trouble in getting past Taylor for his sixth straight win.
Pick: Borics by submission
Enjoy the fights!
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS BELLATOR PREVIEW: BELLATOR 175 PREVIEW: Grocke’s makes his picks and looks at odds for Rampage vs. King Mo 2 and undercard