On Friday Bellator visits the Stanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls for Bellator 204, headlined by Darrion Caldwell versus Noad Lahat. Below them are 12 other bouts, three of them on the main card. Bellator’s format is a change of pace from most promotions, particularly the UFC. A four fight main card that goes two hours, and that’s it. Not too long of a show at all. The only part about their setup that detracts interest personally is how they typically do postlims. Most prelims get bumped to postlims after the prelims start 20 minutes late and only get 2 of the 6 undercard fights in. But anyways, from the bottom up let’s see what this card has to offer.
The first fight on the prelims is the pro debut for two fighters. Both fighters have had slight experience in the amateur fighting scene. Wyatt Meyer is coming off a win from only two months ago against Andrew Yatskis. He won the fight via Rear Naked Choke. His opponent has a 2-0 amateur record, with his most recent win at LFA 37 with a round 1 stoppage. That’s the only real history with these two guys.
The second prelim fight is a battle between a MMA veteran and a guy who’s only a few years in. Lloyd McKinney, who has been on and off fighting for over a decade has racked up 12 wins and 5 losses. He has fought around the Minnesota area for years, making numerous appearances at events put on by Driller Promotions and 3 River Throwdown. He faces Robiel Tesfaldet, a fighter who has been fighting since 2015, but has spent the majority of his career up until now doing amateur fights. He ended his amateur career with a 6-1 record. Moving up to the real deal in 2017, he has won twice and lost once. Both of his wins come from LFA prelim bouts.
Despite only being in the sport for 13 months, Romero Cotton is no newcomer to Bellator. His 2-0 record comes solely from his two preliminary victories under Bellator. Looking online it seems that Romero has quite a background in wrestling, doing it throughout college and high school. Very recently MMA-Today.com ran a piece about how he is on a redemption path after having a troubled past. Reading the article, it makes you want to cheer for Cotton and see him succeed. It’s a very well written piece by Ryan Thomas. He looks to make his Bellator victories a trio as he faces Willie Whitehead. Willie is a dangerous opponent because of the amount of experience that he has. An 8-0 record in amateur fighting and a 2-2 record professionally. Even though he has a shaky pro record, he has experience on his side. On Friday Willie missed weight for the bout, weighing in at 200 pounds for a Middleweight bout.
The next bout is a clash of two fighters who have stayed loyal to (nearly) one promotion up until now. Tyler Ray, who has a 2-1 record in LFA is facing Seth Bass, who has a 4-2 record, with most bouts coming from Victory FC. He had an impressive 10-0 record before going pro.
Just like Seth Bass, Micah Peatrowsky is also a Victory FC man. Through his pro 2-0 record and 5-0 amateur record Peatrowsky has stayed undefeated. He faces Keith Phathaem, who is in his first pro bout after having a 50/50 amateur record (4-4).
In a Lightweight fight we have a classic “two O’s, one’s gotta go” situation. 3-0 undefeated Troy Nawrocki faces 6-0 Omar Morales. Morales returns to the octagon after being absent for 1 year and 9 months. Debuting in 2011, his career has been very spread out throughout the years.
The next bout, along with the final two preliminary fights are all in the Welterweight class. With a 8-2 record having many appearances at Titan FC, Demarques Jackson hopes to get his foot in the door of Bellator and defeat Bryce Logan. Bryce Logan is on a 6 fight win streak, having four of those appearances coming from Victory FC.
Kingston, Jamaica born Jason Jackson has the charismatic nickname “The Ass-Kicking Machine” is looking to bounce back after his last fight being a loss over a year ago. Jackson lost on the Dana White Contender Series, losing due to an injury in round 2. He trains out of the Blackzilians gym, just like the previously mentioned Tyler Ray. He faces Jordon Larson, who goes into the fight with a 9-4 pro record. His last victory was against a last minute opponent in Darrius Flowers, after Clarence Jordan fell under weight cut difficulties.
The final preliminary fight is David Michaud versus Corey Davis. Michaud had a short run in the UFC, losing two bouts and winning one. His last fight in the UFC, which was a loss, was against Olivier Aubin-Mercier. Michaud participated in the 16th Ultimate Fighter season, losing on the first episode and not getting picked on a team. Since then he has been fighting under many promotions, Titan and LFA among them. His opponent Corey Davis has had a successful career up until now, being undefeated through his amateur and pro career. His three pro wins have come through Victory FC.
Moving to the main card which will be aired on the Paramount Network, the first TV fight is Ty-wan Claxton versus Cris Lencioni. Claxton has been undefeated 7-0 in his amateur career, and undefeated in his two Bellator performances. His two wins were from striking stoppages. Cris Lencioni has gotten all of his wins via submission moves. He is coming off a loss at Bellator 195 from March, which went the distance. If there is a prediction to make for this fight, it’s that it won’t go all 15 minutes. During the weigh-ins on Friday, Lencioni missed weight, tipping the scales at 148 pounds.
Coming from the famous Irish SBG camp, James Gallagher looks to win after having bad luck with injuries cancelling bouts for a year now. His last came on the preliminary of Bellator NYC from 14 months ago with a Rear Naked Choke. As a matter of fact, his past three wins have all been Rear Naked Chokes. It must be his favourite way to end a fight, since he has used it 7 times to win a bout. He walks into his fight with Ricky Bandejas with a 7-0 undefeated record. Bandejas has spent his whole pro career fighting for CFFC, picking up 10 wins and 1 loss.
Logan Storley sees himself on the co-main event slot for this card. Before his MMA he started his currently 8-0 undefeated MMA career he was an All American in wrestling. He has been with Bellator since 181, getting one stoppage win and two unanimous decisions. He is set to face AJ Matthews, who has been loyal to Bellator, with a shaky pro record. After losing four times in a row, he saw his first win since 2015 in his January decision victory at Bellator 193.
In the main event of the show, Darrion Caldwell defends his Bantamweight belt against Noad Lahat. He won the belt back in November, beating Eduardo Dantas via decision. He has defended the belt once since then, defeating Leandro Higo at Bellator 195. Noad Lahat has been absent since December, when he beat Jeremiah Labiano at Bellator 188. Before then he lost to Henry Corrales. If Caldwell is able to successfully defend his belt, he will tie himself with Julia Budd for current Bellator Champions with most successful title defenses.
The card isn’t anything huge, but Bellator has a lot coming ahead. A champion versus champion fight is booked for September 29, when new Bellator employee Gegard Mousasi faces Rory MacDonald. It will take place at the SAP Center, a bigger venue than usual for Bellator. In October the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix carries on with two legends of the sport, Fedor Emelianenko and Chael Sonnen. The Bellator 204 main card starts at 9PM EST, live from the Stanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.