Bellator is back this week with back-to-back events in Connecticut, the first of which features a light heavyweight rematch. Bellator 245 takes place Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The top of the billing is getting a light heavyweight rematch between the promotion’s former champ, Phil Davis, and the UFC’s former title holder, Lyoto Machida.
Main Card (10pm EST., Paramount Network)
Phil Davis (21-5, 1NC) vs. Lyoto Machida (26-9)
Cat Zingano (10-4) vs. Gabby Holloway (6-5)
Ed Ruth (8-2) vs. Taylor Johnson (5-1)
Raymond Daniels (2-1) vs. Peter Stanonik (5-4)
Preliminary Card (8:15pm EST., Youtube)
Rafael Carvalho (16-4) vs. Alex Polizzi (6-0)
Tyrell Fortune (8-1) vs. Jack May (11-6)
Keith Lee (6-3) vs. Vinicius Zani (11-6)
Leslie Smith (11-8-1) vs. Amanda Bell (7-6)
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The first time these two top-tier titans collided was way back at UFC 163 in 2013. Davis took home a highly competitive unanimous decision, earning three scores of 29-28. Quite a lot has happened up until this point, aside from a global pandemic. Phil found some lethality and won himself a world title with Bellator, just to turn right around and lose it to his nemesis Ryan Bader. But since then, he’s beaten everyone that has been put in front of him not named Vadim Nemkov.
As for Machida, his path to this rematch has been a bit less glorious, and arguably a great deal more challenging. The Karate master had to endure a couple of brutal finishes at the hands of some the UFC’s top 185-pounders, but did rebound with a couple of epic knockout wins over some old veterans. Father time has hit Machida a lot harder athletically than it has Davis, which really hinders “The Dragon’s” style that relies heavily on reflexes and surprising speed. That reduction in quickness pitted against a more evolved, and always risk adverse, Davis could make swaying the judges even more of a challenge for Machida than it was the first go-round.
During a time in which the UFC’s light heavyweight division is going through a period of transition following the exits of Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson over the past two years, Bellator is thriving. New champion Vadim Nemkov’s demolition of Ryan Bader last month, along with Bellator’s recent signing of Corey Anderson, was proof that a new light heavyweight era has arrived for the promotion.
Friday night’s main event of Bellator 245 is another example of the division’s depth as UFC veterans Phil Davis and Lyoto Machida enter a rematch seven years in the making (Paramount Network/DAZN, 10 p.m. ET) inside the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, with a shot at Nemkov’s title firmly at stake.
The Bellator 245 main card will also see collegiate wrestling standout, Ed Ruth, make his return up to the middleweight division where the 5-1 Taylor Johnson will be waiting. Ruth is on the mend after dropping an important decision to welterweight contender Yaroslav Amosov this past February, and will be taking a sizable step down in terms of caliber of opposition. His opponent Johnson has earned several ground and pound finishes, but good luck getting on top of someone with the wrestling chops of Ruth. Kicking off the main card (literally), prolific kickboxer Raymond Daniels looks to sport the small gloves and square off with fellow GLORY Kickboxing veteran, Peter Stanonik. The striking of Daniels really is poetry in motion, and he’ll be getting an opponent in Stanonik who is likely going to oblige him in a standup fight.
The Bellator 245 undercard is full of familiar faces that are worth tuning in for. The company’s former middleweight champion, Rafael Carvalho, is looking to get himself into the win column at 205-pounds by taking on undefeated Bellator newcomer, Alex Polizzi. After falling short in dramatic fashion to Timothy Johnson in his last outing, heavyweight prospect Tyrell Fortune hops back on the horse to face UFC and PFL veteran Jack May. Longtime MMA veteran Leslie Smith is also on the prelims and she will battle it out with the 7-6 Amanda Bell. It should be noted that Bell missed weight by 3 lbs.