Bellator 254: Macfarlane vs. Velasquez Preview

Bellator will close out their 2020 season with a battle of two undefeated flyweights in the main event on Friday. Bellator Flyweight Champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane will fight Juliana Velasquez on Friday from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, USA.

Here’s a preview of the show.

Click here to skip to a preview of the main card.

Preliminary Card (8:00PM EST) (Youtube)

Bout 1: Robson Gracie Jr. (3-0) vs. Billy Goff (2-2) (Welterweight)

Undefeated through three fights in Bellator, Robson Gracie Jr. returns on the prelims against Billy Goff. Gracie Jr.’s three previous wins all came via stoppage, submitting opponents within the first two rounds.

The fight will be Goff’s return to Bellator. He won a Bellator fight in 2019, defeating Ryan Hardy Evans. He has lost two fights on the regional scene since.

Bout 2: Kenny Champion (2-0) vs. Cody Law (1-0) (Featherweight)

After a successful pro debut in October, Cody Law is matched against Kenny Champion on Friday. Law won his debut against Orlando Ortega in October, defeating him with a darce choke in the first round.

Champion enters Bellator after two explosive wins as a pro, defeating Ian Beatease and Raymond Yanez via TKO. He has never fought longer than two minutes as a pro.

Bout 3: Romero Cotton (4-0) vs. Justin Sumter (7-3) (Middleweight)

Returning for his first fight of 2020, Bellator’s Romero Cotton will fight Justin Sumter on Friday. The fight was originally booked for a March card before COVID-19 forced Bellator to cancel events.

Cotton is one of the fighters Bellator has backed since the start of his pro career, booking him since 2017. His last win came in unsatisfying fashion, as his opponent, Jason Perrotta, left the fight in the third minute due to injury.

Sumter returns to Bellator after a second appearance on “Dana White’s Contender Series” in 2019. He won his Bellator debut in 2019, defeating Reginaldo Felix.

Bout 4: Maurice Jackson (7-2) vs. Grant Neal (4-0) (Light Heavyweight)

Grant Neal will get his fourth Bellator test when he fights Maurice Jackson on the prelims. Neal has won all three of his Bellator bouts thus far, defeating Jimmy Lugo, Claude Wilcox and Hamza Salim.

The fight will be Jackson’s return to action after being out of the cage for more than two years. His last fight was in early 2018, where he defeated former UFC fighter Melvin Guillard.

Bout 5: Kemran Lachinov (10-2) vs. Shamil Nikaev (9-0) (Welterweight)

After a strong run in Russian promotion ACB, Shamil Nikaev will make his Bellator debut on Friday against Kemran Lachinov. Nikaev fought in ACB eight times from 2015 to 2018, picking up seven wins in his time.

While Lachinov has been in-and-out of Bellator throughout his career, he has been undefeated in Bellator with five fights. His last bout was in October, where he handed Kyle Crutchmer his first loss.

Main Card (10:00PM EST) (CBS Sports Network)

A bout between Nate Andrews and Goiti Yamauchi was taken out of Thursday’s lineup on Wednesday after Yamauchi egregiously missed the lightweight limit, coming in at 162 pounds. Because of this, a fight from the prelims was bumped up to the main card.

Bout 6: Davion Franklin (2-0) vs. Anthony Garrett (5-2) (Heavyweight)

Looking to cap off a strong 2020 with a third win, Davion Franklin will fight Anthony Garrett on Thursday’s main card. Franklin has won two-straight bouts in Bellator this year, defeating JW Kiser and Ras Hylton.

Garrett won his last fight in October, defeating JW Kiser on a regional card. Garrett’s sole Bellator fight was in 2019, where knees to his groin forced a no-contest against Jake Hager.

Bout 7: Linton Vassell (20-8) vs. Ronny Markes (19-7) (Heavyweight)

Former PFL fighter Ronny Markes will make his Bellator debut on Thursday against Linton Vassell. Markes fought in the PFL 2018 and 2019 season, putting together a record of one win and two losses.

Markes has been benched since late 2019, as a COVID-19 cancellation and complications with opponents have taken him out of three appearances.

Vassell broke a three-fight losing streak in his last fight, defeating Sergei Kharitonov in November of 2019.

Bout 8: Magomed Magomedov (16-1) vs. Matheus Mattos (12-1-1) (Bantamweight)

Former ACB talents Magomed Magomedov and Matheus Mattos will both make their Bellator debuts on Thursday’s co-main event. Magomedov picked up three-straight wins from 2017 and 2018 in ACB. Magomedov dropped his bantamweight belt in 2017, giving his sole loss to now-UFC Bantamweight Champion Petr Yan.

Mattos won his last fight, taking a majority decision against Nashko Galaev. Like Magomedov, his only loss is against Yan.

Both fighters have been absent from competition since 2018.

Bout 9: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (11-0) vs. Juliana Velasquez (10-0) (Bellator Flyweight Championship)

Ilima-Lei Macfarlane will look to defend her Bellator Flyweight Championship show for the fifth time on Friday, fighting Juliana Velasquez.

Macfarlane won the vacant belt in 2017, catching Emily Ducote in the fifth round with an armbar. She has maintained the belt since, with three of her wins being stoppage victories. Her most notable win came against former UFC fighter Valerie Letourneau.

Friday’s fight will be the first time Macfarlane faces an undefeated opponent. Velasquez has fought five times in Bellator since her 2017 promotional debut. Her most recent fight was in December, defeating Bruna Ellen.

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