Bellator MMA returns to the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma for Bellator 224. The main event features Bellator featherweight champion Julia Budd defending her title against Olga Rubin.
Julia Budd has won her last ten fights in a row dating back to July 2012. She is 6-0 under the Bellator banner and will be defending her title for the third time. She won the inaugural featherweight championship at Bellator 174 where she defeated Marloes Coenen via TKO. Half of the Canadian born champion’s twelve pro wins ended inside the distance. At thirty-six years-of-age, Budd will make the walk for the fifteenth time.
Olga Rubin is undefeated in her young MMA career. Her most recent win occurred at Bellator 217 where she beat Iony Razafiarison via unanimous decision. Four of the twenty-nine-year-old’s six wins were under the Bellator umbrella. Of her six pro victories, three of them went to the judge’s scorecards.
In the co-main former Bellator middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho takes on Chidi Njokuani. Carvalho has dropped his last two fights. He lost to Gegard Mousasi via a first round TKO at Bellator 200 and was then on the wrong side of a split decision against Lyoto Machida at Bellator 213. Of Carvalho’s fifteen career wins, twelve of them are via (T)KO. This will be the Brazilian’s nineteenth fight.
Chidi Njokuani is 1-2 over his previous three. His most recent fight was at Bellator 210 where he got subbed by John Salter in the first round. Eleven of his eighteen career wins ended inside the distance. At the age of thirty, Chidi will make the walk for the twenty-sixth time when he enters the cage opposite Carvalho.
The main card also includes Juliana Velasquez taking on Kristina Williams and Ed Ruth vs. Kiichi Kunimoto.
The prelims will stream on DAZN and the Bellator mobile app beginning at 5:45 PM (CST). The main card will air on Paramount network and stream on DAZN starting at 8:00 PM (CST).
Note: The predictions in this column do not necessarily mean that I will be betting them. I have changed my mind in the past and gone the other way after conducting more research. For all my official bets follow me on Twitter @MichaelGrocke.
Julia Budd (12-2) vs. Olga Rubin (6-0) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Current Odds: Budd -305; Rubin +245
Pick: Budd by (T)KO.
Rafael Carvalho (15-3) vs. Chidi Njokuani (18-6, 1 NC) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Carvalho -120; Njokuani +100
Pick: Carvalho by decision.
Juliana Velasquez (8-0) vs. Kristina Williams (3-1) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
Current Odds: Velasquez -245; Williams +195
Pick: Velasquez by decision.
Ed Ruth (6-1) vs. Kiichi Kunimoto (20-7-2, 1 NC) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Ruth -790; Kunimoto +540
Pick: Ruth by (T)KO.
Prelims Quick Picks
Brennan over Lopez
Taylor over Varga
Blencowe over Bell
Jones over Fleury
Edwards over Vargas
Robison over Dung
Kavanagh over Smith
Ellen over Kallionidou
Crosbie over Jackson
Agazarm over Landin
Young over Bauman
Oliveira over Holmes
Enjoy the fights!