Bellator’s event this week will be sorting out some matters with a handful of matches that have strong divisional implications. But that doesn’t mean that they’re lacking in the potential action department.
Unfortunately, a few fighters missed weight. But it may not affect things in a grave manner.
Neiman Gracie (11-3) meets Goiti Yamauchi (27-5) in a battle of wizened submission hunters that happen to have worked on their striking significantly. Gracie’s not a stranger to defending takedown threats and turning the tables, and Yamauchi has had a previous ability to be bullied a bit in the clinch or against the cage. But Yamauchi still has his reversals and a good leg kick setup. Gracie’s boxing gets a little slicker in each outing as well, and his last loss to Logan Storley has aged well by virtue of Storley now being the new interim champion and the fight itself being a surprising barnburner. It’s a great matchup to establish a possible #1 contender.
The very powerful Steve Mowry (10-0) meets his biggest challenge to date as he squares off against the incredibly talented Valentin Moldavsky (11-2). Moldavsky got the shock of his career in his loss to Ryan Bader when he last fought, as Bader put on a wrestling and hard-nosed MMA clinic. And Mowry is a submission machine with vicious striking and appears to be one of those fighters on the come up in the mold of Johnny Eblen — not much fanfare, but a lot to be excited about. He now has a chance to have a real star turn with an impressive win here, but that is a tough task against a battle-tested unit like Moldavsky.
“Gentleman” Josh Hill (21-4) made a major statement in his last outing against Jared Scoggins, and hopes to continue to get that work in while in the bantamweight division. He meets Brazilian certified finisher Marcos Breno (14-2), coming off a sensational knockout win in LFA.
Former champ Ilima-Lei MacFarlane (11-2) missed the mark on the scale, but hopes to make a mark regardless against Bruna Ellen (6-3). Gokhan Saricam (7-1) is another one of the best-kept secrets Bellator has at heavyweight, winning three straight and having his only pro loss be to Steve Mowry. A heavy hitter, he meets Said Sowma, another American Top Team prospect with a ton of power.
Austin Vanderford (11-1) tries to work his way back up the ladder at middleweight against Canadian vet Aaron Jeffery (12-3), while DeAnna Bennett (12-7, 1 draw) faces Justine Kish (8-5) in a battle of UFC veterans.
Wrestling standout Isaiah Hokit will no longer be on the card as his opponent Nick Perez missed weight.
You can check out the weigh-ins here:
Neiman Gracie (170.4) vs. Goiti Yamauchi (170) – Welterweight
Valentin Moldavsky (238.2) vs. Steve Mowry (249.8) – Heavyweight
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (129)* vs. Bruna Ellen (125.6) – Catchweight after MacFarlane missed weight
Said Sowma (243.3) vs. Gokhan Saricam (248.2) – Heavyweight
Austin Vanderford (184.4) vs. Aaron Jeffery (185) – Middleweight
Josh Hill (135.8) vs. Marcos Breno (136) – Bantamweight
Deanna Bennett (125.2) vs. Justine Kish (128.4)** – Catchweight after Kish missed weight
Sullivan Cauley (205.4) vs. Tyson Jeffries (201.8) – Light heavyweight
Pat Downey (186) vs. Keyes Nelson (183.6) – Middleweight
Bailey Schoenfelder (227.8) vs. Mark Currier (260.6) – Heavyweight
Mitchell McKee (135) vs. Tony Ortega (134.6) – Bantamweight
Brett Bye (173.8) vs. M,A,Yah II (174.4) — 175lb catchweight
Bellator 284: Gracie vs Yamauchi takes place this Friday night starting at 6:00pm EST with the prelims streaming live and free on YouTube. The Main card airs exclusively on Showtime starting at 9:00pm.
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