Worldwide MMA Preview – Bellator, ONE FC, Eurasian and Clan Wars

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Bellator returns on Friday night (3am BST) with a card headlined by a lightweight fight between Benson Henderson and Patricio Freire. Henderson needs no introduction at this point, the former WEC and UFC lightweight champion jumped ship to Bellator last year but in his debut he was picked apart for five rounds by welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov. Freire is usually a featherweight and he defended the Bellator featherweight crown twice before losing to Daniel Strauss last year. He returned to form by beating Henry Corrales with a second round choke in April. Considering that last year Henderson was fighting at welterweight in the UFC and Freire was fighting at featherweight in Bellator this is an extremely unlikely and surprising fight but it should be a treat for fans.

The co-main event also takes place at lightweight and it pits Saad Awad against Derek Anderson. After losing to Patricky Freire, Awad stepped up to welterweight to fight Evangelista Santos and he stopped him in the first round but now he has returned to his natural weight class. Anderson is coming off two very close fights that resulted in split decisions, it didn’t go his way against Brent Primus but he did pick up the victory over Patricky Freire. Bellator’s lightweight title picture should look much clearer after these two fights as fighters look to emerge out of the Will Brooks sized hole in the division.

At midday on Saturday we will be treated to a show in Jakarta, Indonesia from One FC that will feature a middleweight clash between Luis “Sapo” Santos and Igor Svirid. Sapo bounced back from his weigh in fiasco against Ben Askren by stopping Rafael Silva in Jakarta in February. Svirid’s tenure in One has been nothing short of explosive, in his debut he knocked out Leandro Ataides in 17 seconds to win the vacant middleweight title, and in his first defence he was involved in an incredible back and forth war with Vitaly Bigdash which he eventually lost, that fight was nearly 10 months ago and I am very eager to see what Svirid has in store for us this time.

Jake Butler will take on Marcin Prachnio at light heavyweight in the co-main event. Butler, who trains out of Evolve MMA has had all of his professional fights in One and built up a 7-1 record, with that loss to Sylvain Potard having been avenged. Prachnio, who hails from Poland was a mainstay in Central Europe’s Final Fight Championship and built up a 9-2 on that scene before being picked up by One this year. He has already racked up two victories in the promotion, the most recent being a split decision over Leandro Ataides in May.

Russian promotion Eurasian Fight Nights makes a trip to Georgia on Saturday (6pm BST) The card is headlined by Armenian David Khachatryan taking on an Austrian Wilhelm Ott. Khachatryan dropped a unanimous decision to Akhmet Aliev in December, which was his first loss since May 2011 and he had racked up 13 straight wins in that time, most of them in Fight Nights. His opponent Ott is most notable for his scary tattoos, and for the fact that he already has two fights scheduled for September.

Closer to home, Clan Wars 25 takes place on Sunday night in Belfast. The main event pits Michael Reid against Rush Fight Academy’s Paul Lawrence. Reid made his MMA debut back in 2007 and fought European MMA regular Ivan Musardo, he did not fight after 2010 until November of last year when he returned to fight in Scotland, he has a 3-3 record. Lawrence put together a very impressive amateur record, beating Keith McCabe and Kiefer Crosbie amongst others. He has continued that impressive form into his professional career, picking up two wins in 2015 to start with a bang. He has been waiting for a year to get back into the cage, with a bout at BAMMA 24 with Rhys McKee not coming to fruition in the end but now he gets his chance to show his worth.

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