Fight Announcement: Richard Kiely vs George Hardwick Added to Bellator Dublin

A 180lbs catch-weight fight between Richard Kiely (3-2) and George Hardwick (5-1) has been added to Bellator Dublin: McCourt vs Ruis per a Bellator press release sent earlier today. The event, which takes place on Saturday February 22nd in the 3Arena, was originally scheduled to be headlined by James Gallagher, however, a back injury forced “Strabanimal” out of his main event match-up against Cal Ellenor. The news came less than a week after SBG teammate Peter Queally was also ruled out of his own fight versus former Bellator 155lb champion Brent Primus, which had been scheduled to headline the Bellator 240 portion of the card. As a result, Northern Ireland’s Leah McCourt (3-1) takes center stage as she is set to top the bill in a featherweight contest against Judith Ruis (6-4).

Speaking to Severe MMA earlier this evening, Kiely is relishing the opportunity to provide the Dublin crowd their money’s worth, despite the recent blows to the card:

“Bellator would lose a fiver and find a tenner! They lost 2 excellent fighters from the card in Peter and James—which was a big shame because those were both excellent fights—but SuperFace is here to save the show! My last fight was a shitshow for many reasons, but when fully healthy it’s undeniable that I raise the excitement levels and bring knockouts. My opponent is solid, durable, and I think this is a sleeper for Fight of the Night. So, I’m looking forward to stealing the show with Georgina/Harold, whichever one I’m fighting!“

Kiely will be seeking to bounce back from his loss to Michael “Venom” Page back at Bellator Dublin: Gallagher vs Salazar last September. Throughout the buildup for that fight, and perhaps even more in the aftermath, many MMA fans were critical of Bellator’s decision to pit Kiely (then 3-1) against an opponent of MVP’s calibre (then 14-1). Despite the criticism, “The Face” remains unfazed. I asked him if he would like to relay a message to those critics:

“No. Anyone who knows European MMA will know that wasn’t the real me in there. The people who wrote me off are just knuckle draggers who take pleasure in other people’s misfortune and more than likely have accomplished nothing in life except for watching every episode of Jeremy Kyle. Say what you like, but I’ve a set of balls on me, and they look great in a set of pink hot pants while I’m knocking dudes out!”

Andy Stevenson is a writer for SevereMMA.