This Weekend’s Warriors: Bellator Paris

Image Credit: Lee Hamilton-Cooper / Bellator MMA

After a successful trip to Milan for Irish MMA, which saw Irish-based fighters accumulate a 9-2 record last week across the Bellator 247 and Bellator ES9 cards, our attention is now drawn to Paris. Bellator MMA will become the first promotion to host a major MMA event in France, after the sport was finally legalized in the country earlier this year. Bellator Paris will consist of two fight cards, Bellator 248 and Bellator ES10.

If you’re new to This Weekend’s Warriors, this is a column brought to you by Severe MMA that shines a light on Irish-based professional MMA fighters competing all over the globe on any given week. SBG Ireland’s Dylan Logan, Ciarán Clarke, and Ilias Bulaid are set to compete on the historic card this Saturday 10th October, with all three fights featuring on the prelims portion of the Bellator ES10 card. Allow me to walk you through the action:

Featherweight: Dylan Logan (4-4) vs William Gomis (6-2)

Dubliner Dylan Logan comes into this fight against Frenchman Gomis with a point to prove. After impressing in his first two Bellator fights, notching back-to-back submission victories, Logan was dispatched via rear-naked choke inside a round by Calum Murrie at Bellator Dublin in February. Despite his first loss in the promotion, Logan displayed a resilient attitude speaking to the post-fight media, revealing that he had even set up a potential next opponent in Harry Hardwick.

While the Hardwick matchup never came to fruition, Logan will look to rebound into the win column when he faces Gomis on Saturday. Logan needs a win if he is to avoid a losing MMA record. The SBG Ireland athlete has 4 wins via submission, while Gomis boasts 4 KOs. This should be a fun matchup between two proven finishers.

Featherweight: Ciarán Clarke (2-0) vs Jean N’Doye (8-1)

Drogheda’s Ciarán Clarke has impressed since turning professional. After a 24-fight amateur MMA career, the 25-year-old now boasts an undefeated pro record, both wins coming inside Dublin’s Three Arena.

Despite suffering defeat 11 times at the amateur level, this seems to have been the perfect route for Clarke’s long-term career. That amateur experience has moulded Clarke into a complete martial artist, and he has looked comfortable in almost every position he has faced thus far inside the Bellator cage, submitting George Courtney in September 2019, before dominating Jamie Faulding over three rounds in February.

Bellator clearly see promise in the SBG Ireland fighter, matching him with one of the biggest prospects on the European scene of years gone by, Jean “The Show” N’Doye. For those of you, like myself, who were not as invested in MMA back in the early 2010s, N’Doye was widely tipped to be Conor McGregor’s next opponent had the double champion not graduated from Cage Warriors to the UFC when he did. N’Doye possesses an 8-1 record with 5 stoppage victories, but Saturday evening will be the first time the Frenchman makes the walk to the cage in almost 7 years. This matchup between Clarke and N’Doye has the potential to be the fight of the night.

Lightweight: Ilias Bulaid (2-0) vs Ivan Naccari (0-1)

Dutch-Moroccan Ilias Bulaid has made SBG Ireland his home after transitioning over to MMA from a professional kickboxing career, where the former Enfusion 67kg World Champion amassed a 25-6 kickboxing record with 10 KOs.

“The Blade” made his MMA debut last year at Bellator 227 in Dublin, knocking out Vitalic Maiboroda in the first round in spectacular fashion. Bulaid followed that debut performance up with a unanimous decision victory Diego Freitas at the next Dublin show. Despite being buried on the postlims, Bulaid vs Freitas was a fight of the night contender, a much different affair to the domination Bulaid inflicted in his debut. Still, Bulaid showed he could go the distance in MMA, comfortably winning a 30-27 decision on all three judges’ scorecards.

Bulaid will face Italian Ivan Naccari in a rescheduled lightweight contest on Saturday evening in Paris. The fight was originally scheduled for the Bellator 247 card in Milan, but Bulaid could not be licensed in time for the October 1st date. Naccari comes into the fight with an 0-1 record, and you’d expect Bulaid to be a heavy favourite for this one.

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Andy is a writer, interviewer, and occasional podcaster. Andy's work features on SevereMMA.com, The Severe MMA Podcast, and EuroMMAHub.com. Andy heavily focuses on the Irish MMA scene. Feel free to reach out to Andy on Twitter @andyste123