Bellator MMA is continuing their global expansion, as the Viacom promotion is headed to Budapest, Hungary this Friday for Bellator 177: Dantas vs. Higo.
The night’s marquee matchup will see a bantamweight title tilt between the defending champion Eduardo “Dudu” Dantas, and the 17-2 Bellator newcomer Leandro Higo. Since Higo showed up 4 pounds overweight, he misses his title shot opportunity, and will now face Dantas in a 3-round non-title tilt. Aside from the missing a chance at Bellator gold, Higo will also be lighter in the pockets, as he was fined 20% of his purse for coming in heavy.
The co-main event will see some familiar faces as 47-fight veteran Daniel Weichel will be squaring off with the 21-1-2 John Teixeira with featherweight title implications. Bellator 177 can be seen this Friday night on Spike TV at 9:00 P.M. ET (TAPE DELAY in 2017), and will immediately followed by Bellator Kickboxing 6 at 11:00 P.M. ET.
Main Card: Spike TV at 9:00 P.M. ET
Eduardo Dantas (19-4 MMA; 9-1 Bellator) vs. Leandro Higo (17-2 MMA; Bellator Debut): Bantamweight
Following back-to-back 5-round title fights, Bellator’s bantamweight champion, Eduardo “Dudu” Dantas, now finds himself in a 3-round non-title entanglement with an overweight opponent, Leandro Higo. Dantas is known for his crisp striking and ability to maintain that technique over the course of 25 minutes. You can expect Dantas to remain active with his footwork as he works behind his jab, but don’t be surprised to see the bantamweight king change levels, and look to put his opponent on their back. The last time Dantas took a fight outside of his title, he was brutalized in a brief 1:40 by Tyson Nam at Shooto Brazil 33 in 2012. Will Dantas prove that history does not always repeat itself, and turn up for 3 rounds and welcome Higo to the Bellator cage in the worst kind of way?
Leandro Higo has a huge opportunity to cannonball into the Bellator talent pool by taking on the promotions current bantamweight king in Dantas. It would have be an even bigger opportunity for Higo, had he made the contracted 135 pound weight requirement, but 3 rounds it is for the Bellator newcomer. There is no telling of the toll the weight cut took on Higo, or even how hard he tried to make 135, as he clocked in 4 pounds heavy at 139. Higo brings a boxing-heavy style that one would expect from a Pitbull Brothers affiliation, but he also thrives on the mat as 10 of his 13 finishes have come by way of submission. Will Leandro “Pitbull” be able to put the pressure on Dantas, and introduce himself to the Bellator audience in style?
Daniel Weichel (38-9 MMA; 7-1 Bellator) vs. John Teixeira (21-1-2 MMA; 4-0 Bellator): Featherweight
At Bellator 138, Daniel Weichel was moments away from snatching Bellator’s featherweight belt from the then champion Patricio Freire, before a well-placed “Pitbull” power-punch put out his lights. Since then, Weichel has racked up 3-straight wins, including top talents Georgi Karakhanyan and Emmanuel Sanchez, and a first-round submission of Brian Moore back in December at Bellator 169.
Aside from “Pitbull,” Weichel has proven to be rather hard to hit over the coarse of his Bellator career, and that is exactly what you want to be against Teixeira, who throws each strike with bad intentions. Will Weichel’s fundamentals keep him relatively safe over the course of 3 rounds, and can he capitalize on Teixeira’s tendencies to over-commit to his strikes? Having won 10 of his last 11, a win over the 21-1 Teixeira could earn Weichel another shot at a Bellator title.
The last time John Teixeira lost a professional MMA match, was against Hugo Viana at UFC 147 in June of 2012. Since then, Teixeira has gone 10-straight bouts without putting another ‘L’ on his record, including an impressive outing in his last fight against Justin Lawrence at Bellator 167.
Teixeira is known for his wild punches, hefty leg kicks, and his thirst to throw every ounce of his weight into every strike. Although he has over twice as many submission wins on his record than he does knockouts (10 subs, 4 KO’s), Teixeira’s standup is to be respected, and his ability to do damage on the feet must be accounted for. You can expect Teixeira to launch leg kicks at his opponent, as he looks for ways to penetrate the stout defense of Weichel.
Ádám Borics (5-0 MMA; Bellator Debut) vs. Anthony Taylor (1-2 MMA; 1-2 Bellator): Featherweight
Hungary’s own Ádám Borics brings an undefeated record with him in his Bellator debut. Borics is known for his sharp Muay Thai strikes, complete with savage knees and combo -ending uppercuts. The Triangle Choke seems to be the move of choice when it comes to the ground game, as Borics has finished 3 of his 5 wins with said submission hold. A knock on the young fighter has been a lack of footwork, to the point of standing completely still. Has Borics closed up that hole in his game in time for his debut on the Bellator big stage?
Anthony Taylor is off to somewhat of a rocky start in his professional career, as he looks to take his 1-2 record to 2-2. All of Taylor’s pro bouts have taken place within the Bellator promotion, and each of those fights finished before the tolling of the final bell. Taylor went out on his shield in his last outing, as he gave up a 3rd round submission to featherweight prospect James Gallagher back in December. Taylor is not afraid to fire on all cylinders right out of the gate, as we saw in his 27 second dismantling of Victor Jones at Bellator 154. Expect a fast start from Taylor, complete with explosive overhand rights, and regardless of who wins, there is a solid chance that the judges will not be needed for this one.
Lena Ovchynnikova (11-4 MMA; 1-1 Bellator) vs. Helen Harper (4-1 MMA; Bellator Debut): (W) Flyweight
Lena Ovchynnikova is set for her third Bellator bout as she has gone 1-1 thus far in the promotion. Against Karla Benitez at Bellator 164, Ovchynnikova showed off some of her kickboxing skills that were used to hype up the Ukrainian upon her entry into Bellator, and was able pick apart her opponent with ample punches. Now that she has found her first win with Bellator, can Ovchynnikova move to 2-1, and give the women’s flyweight division something to talk about?
Helen Harper is returning to MMA action following her strawweight stint on The Ultimate Fighter Season 23. On the show, Harper picked up a first-round Armbar of Amy Montenegro, showing that she is a dangerous threat off of her back. In her second TUF fight, Harper dropped a grueling 3-round unanimous decision to Lanchana Green, and is now looking to make waves at flyweight for Bellator MMA. Will Harper be able to handle the striking of Ovchynnikova, and move to 5-1 in her professional MMA career?
Brian Moore vs. Michal Hořejší: Featherweight
Mate Kertesz vs. Patrick Szombat: Lightweight
About the author