BELLATOR 169 & BAMMA 27 PREVIEWS: Grocke’s Preview & Predictions for the “King Mo vs. Ishii” headlined event on Spike TV and UNILAD Facebook event

By Michael Grocke, MMATorch contributor

The 3 Arena in Dublin, Ireland will host Bellator MMA and BAMMA for a co-promoted event on Friday. Bellator 169 will air at 9/8 p.m. CT on Spike and BAMMA 27 will be shown on UNILAD’s Facebook page.

Bellator 169 features former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion and Rizin Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal when he takes on Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii.

The co-main event takes us to the featherweight division as Northern Ireland’s James Gallagher looks to stay undefeated when he goes up against Anthony Taylor. The main card rounds out with another featherweight bout as Brian Moore takes on MMA veteran Daniel Weichel, and on the women’s side we have a battle of two unbeaten featherweights with Elina Kallionidou vs. Sinead Kavanagh.

Main Card

Satoshi Ishii (14-6-1) vs. Mohammed Lawal (19-5) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.

Lawal makes the move up to heavyweight for the fifth time when he goes up against Satoshi Ishii. Lawal is 4-0 as a heavyweight and with a win here he should consider a permanent move to the division. He took a decision loss against Phil Davis at Bellator 154, and while I can see him wanting another crack at Davis and the opportunity to win the light heavyweight title, another loss would be detrimental.

Satoshi Ishii enters the bout on a two-fight losing streak. His most recent fight was a decision loss to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at Bellator 157. Ishii’s striking is probably average at best, but he does have decent grappling. If he can defend the takedown, he may have a chance to grind out a decision.

Lawal matches up well against Ishii. He holds the advantage in both striking and grappling, and size-wise he doesn’t lose much. While I expect Lawal to take the fight to the mat and utilize his superior wrestling skills, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him score a knockout due to Ishii being easy to hit.

Pick: Lawal by decision

Anthony Taylor (1-1) vs. James Gallagher (4-0) – Featherweight 145 lbs.

James Gallagher comes into his fight against Anthony Taylor undefeated. The highly touted teammate of UFC Middleweight Champion Conor McGregor won three of his four career wins by submission. Gallagher made his Bellator debut against Mike Cutting at Bellator 158, which he won by decision.

Anthony Taylor is 1-1 under the Bellator banner. He lost by submission to Adin Duenas in his debut at Bellator 147. He returned to the cage against Victor Jones at Bellator 154 and won by knockout 27 seconds into the fight. The American fighter will need a huge effort if he’s going to pull off the upset on Friday.

Pick: Gallagher by submission

Sinead Kavanagh (3-0) vs. Elina Kallionidou (5-0) – Featherweight 145 lbs.

Sinead Kavanagh is 3-0 under the BAMMA banner with two wins by knockout. She makes her Bellator debut against Elina Kallionidou who is also making her debut for the organization. Kavanagh lives and trains in Dublin so she will definitely have the hometown crowd on her side.

18 year old Greece native, Elina Kallionidou is also undefeated with three of her five career wins coming by way of knockout. Friday’s fight will be the first outside of her native country.

Pick: Kavanagh by decision

Brian Moore (9-4) vs. Daniel Weichel (37-9) – Featherweight 145 lbs.

I’m looking forward to watching Daniel Weichel’s fight against Brian Wood. After getting knocked out by Patricio Freire at Bellator 138 in a fight he was winning, he’s gone on to beat Georgi Karakhanyan at Bellator 147and Emmanuel Sanchez at Bellator 159. Weichel is solid in both striking and grappling, and will look for a finish whenever possible. A win here will put him one step closer to a title fight.

Brian Moore steps in for the injured Paul Redmond and comes into the contest riding a two-fight winning streak. The Irishman will taking a big step up in competition for his debut fight under the Bellator banner. Although he’ll have the hometown crowd in his corner, I don’t think it will be enough to carry him to victory.

Pick: Weichel by TKO.

BAMMA 27 Quick Look

Duquesnov over Philpott

Clamp over Fields

Herbert vs. McKee

Gahadza over Jones

Tuke over Else

Stolze over Brazier

Crosbie over Riordan

O’Driscoll over Ward

Cleary over Lofthouse

McCabe over Kiely

Enjoy the fights!

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