Bellator 243: Chandler vs. Henderson Preview

Bellator’s return following COVID-19 continues on Friday night, as the promotion offers a 10-fight card from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. Headlining the card is a rematch between Michael Chandler and Benson Henderson. Here’s a preview of the card.

Click here to skip to the main card.

Preliminary Card (7:15PM EDT) (Youtube)

Bout 1: Dalton Rosta (2-0) vs. Mark Gardner (1-1) (Middleweight)

After a successful first year as a pro in 2019, Dalton Rosta will return for a bout against Mark Gardner. Rosta fought twice in Bellator last year, defeating Cody Vidal and Claude Wilcox. He will welcome Gardner to Bellator, as he will be making his promotional debut. Gardner also made his professional debut in 2019, however, he also faced his first loss, as he was stopped in the first minute against Reginaldo Felix in April of 2019.

Bout 2: Nainoda Dung (3-1) vs. Charlie Campbell (1-1) (Lightweight)

Both looking to bounce back from their first losses as a pro, Nainoa Dung and Charlie Campbell will fight on the prelims. Dung took his first loss in December, losing to Zach Zane via decision. Campbell took his a month before, dropping a scorecard battle to Anthony Newton on a Ring of Combat show.

Bout 3: Grant Neal (3-0) vs. Hamza Salim (5-2) (Light Heavyweight)

Grant Neal will try for his third consecutive Bellator victory when he’s matched against Hamza Salim. Neal competed on one of the last Bellator shows before COVID-19 cancellations, defeating Claude Wilcox with ground and pound late in the fight. Salim will be making his first Bellator appearance, coming into the promotion after three straight stoppage wins in the regional scene. The momentum comes with a caveat, that being that he hasn’t fought since September of 2018.

Bout 4: Valerie Loureda (2-0) vs. Tara Graff (1-1) (Flyweight)

Rising Bellator flyweight Valeria Loureda will get her third assignment as a pro on Friday, facing Bellator newcomer Tara Graff. Loureda got her first two pro MMA wins in 2019, defeating Colby Fletcher and Larkyn Dasch. Her matchup with Graff will be the first time she has an opponent who has an even or positive record. Graff last fought twice in 2018, with a finish win and loss in the Fall of 2018. The fights happened in regional promotion King of the Cage. This pairing was scheduled for January, although it couldn’t happen due to Loureda facing an injury.

Bout 5: AJ Agazarm (3-1) vs. Cris Lencioni (6-2) (Featherweight)

Longtime featherweights AJ Agazarm and Cris Lencioni will clash for the first time on Bellator’s prelims. Agazarm’s five-fight career started with a loss, although since then in 2019 and 2020 he has picked up three wins. His last fight was in January, stopping Adel Altamimi in the third round with an armbar. Lencioni’s last two fights saw him come back from two consecutive losses, defeating Adil Benjilany and Salim Mukhidinov.

Bout 6: Adam Borics (14-1) vs. Mike Hamel (7-3) (Catchweight 150 lbs)

Finishing off the six-fight preliminary card is a catchweight bout between Adam Borics and Mike Hamel. Borics’ last fight was the first loss of his career, as in January he got caught by a rear naked choke from Darrion Caldwell. The fight was part of the quarterfinals of the “Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix Tournament,” which saw Borics advance in the round before by stopping Pat Curran. He will fight Hamel, who is making his Bellator debut. Hamel has lost three of his past five fights, although his last fight was a win in February over Fabio Serrao.

Hamel missed weight for the 150-pound catchweight bout, coming in at 154.6 pounds.

Main Card (10:00PM EDT) (Paramount Network / DAZN)

Bout 7: Curtis Millender (18-5) vs. Sabah Homasi (13-8) (Catchweight 175 lbs)

A catchweight bout of 175-pounds kicks off the main card, as former UFC fighters Curtis Millender and Sabah Homasi will have a second fight in their Bellator stints. Millender made his debut last January, where he defeated Moses Murrietta via decision. Before then he had a UFC run which saw him earn three wins and two losses.

Homasi had his Bellator debut earlier, as he stopped Micah Terrill in 17 seconds with strikes in an August 2019 bout. His UFC stint was a shorter one than Millender, losing three consecutive times. Before COVID-19 cancelled some events, Homasi was scheduled to face Paul Daley.

Bout 8: Myles Jury (18-5) vs. Georgi Karakhanyan (29-10-1) (Lightweight)

On the main card, lightweights Myles Jury and Georgi Karakhanyan will try to get their second-straight win. Jury broke a three-fight losing streak in his last fight, defeating Brandon Girtz via decision in February. The fight was his first win in Bellator, as he had a long UFC stint before. Karakhanyan won in February with a fight over Paul Redmond, bouncing back from losses to Emmanuel Sanchez and AJ McKee Jr.

Bout 9: Matt Mitrione (13-7) vs. Timothy Johnson (13-6) (Heavyweight)

In the co-main event of the show, heavyweights Matt Mitrione and Timothy Johnson will battle. Mitrione’s last fight was a headlining bout, where mouthguard troubles, unfortunately, distracted him, causing Sergei Kharitonov to finish him in the second round with strikes. Johnson fought on that show as well, losing via stoppage to Vitaly Minakov. Johnson has recovered since, as he earned a February victory over Tyrell Fortune, ending his eight-fight undefeated streak.

Bout 10: Michael Chandler (20-5) vs. Benson Henderson (28-8) (Lightweight)

In the three-round main event, Michael Chandler and Benson Henderson will face each other for the second time. Their first meeting came in 2016, where Chandler won a split decision at Bellator 165.

Henderson lost once again after the fight, going to the scorecards against Patricky Pitbull. After that, though, he won four-straight, with his last fight being a decision win over Myles Jury.

Chandler has won four times and lost twice since his first meeting with Henderson. Both losses were shots at the Bellator Lightweight Champion, as he lost to Brent Primus and Patricio Pitbull during their respective reigns. Chandler’s last fight was meant to be against Henderson on a December card in Japan, however, Henderson had to pull out due to injury. Replacing Henderson was Sidney Outlaw, who Chandler finished in the first round with punches.

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