Bellator 177: Bantamweights in Budapest

Bellator MMA seems to be taking advantage of the warm weather that comes with the official arrival in spring, as they are in the midst of a run of fight cards in consecutive weeks. Bellator’s latest offering is once again an overseas one, with both a Bellator MMA card and Bellator Kickboxing card for our friends in Budapest, Hungary too enjoy, and a title fight to boot.

Adam Borics (5-0) vs. Anthony Taylor (1-2) (Featherweight – 145 lbs.)

This is an intriguing matchup. Borics is making his Bellator debut while all three of Taylor’s pro fights have come in Bellator, and he sandwiched a knockout victory between two submission losses. As luck would have it, Borics has won three out of his five pro fights by submission, including his most recent victory over a year ago. Will Borics have a case of nerves and cage rust? Will Taylor learn to defend submissions so his record doesn’t slip to 1-3? Bellator seems to have a knack for unearthing young talent, and it seems they may have found another gem in Borics.

Winner: Borics by submission

Lena Ovchynnikova (12-4) vs. Helen Harper (4-1) (Flyweight – 125 lbs.)

Ovchynnikova still appears to be one of the fighters that Bellator wants to build its women’s flyweight division around, along with fighters like Anastasia Yankova (when she can make weight), Ilima Lei-Macfarlane and Emily Ducote. Ovchynnikova has split her first two Bellator fights while picking up victories in other organizations in-between. Harper is probably best known for her brief stint on The Ultimate Fighter, and is making her Bellator debut.

Ovchynnikova is a grappling expert, with eight of her 12 overall victories coming by way of submission. She’s yet to notch a TKO victory, however, which is how Harper achieved two of her last three wins. Something has to give here, and I think Ovchynnikova’s experience will be the deciding factor.

Winner: Ovchynnikova by unanimous decision

Daniel Weichel (38-9) vs. John Teixeira (21-1-2) (Featherweight – 145 lbs.)

This fight has the potential to steal the show, as Weichel has only lost twice in roughly the last five years, with both of those losses coming in title fights. Teixeira’s only loss also came roughly five years ago and he is undefeated in Bellator, with 10 submission victories and 14 total finishes among his 21 overall victories. However, his last win via finish came over three years ago.

Weichel is coming off a first-round submission victory in his last fight and has 22 submissions among his 38 overall wins. I don’t expect this fight to stay on its feet for very long. So if you enjoy the ground game, you’ll definitely want to watch this fight. The winner of this fight has to be considered on the short list of title contenders at 145 pounds, and I’m going to go with my gut and pick what some may consider an upset.

Winner: Teixeira by submission

Eduardo Dantas (19-4) vs. Leandro Higo (17-2) (Bantamweight Title – 135 lbs.)

Dantas has never looked better than he has in his last two fights, when he picked apart Marcos Galvao and Joe Warren. Dantas is still only 28 years old and still looks to have many years of his prime left and could go on a prolonged and dominant run as bantamweight champion. However, he shouldn’t take Higo lately.

Higo is another fighter who gets a title shot in his Bellator debut, but he’s on an undefeated streak that’s lasted five years on the regional circuit. Only two of his victories over the last five years have come via a decision, so he can definitely catch Dantas if the champion takes him lightly. But I don’t think Dantas will do that. It seemed that soundly beating his former training partner Galvao and dominating Warren has given Dantas a new edge, and he wants to prove he’s one of the best bantamweight fighters in the world. Higo will give Dantas a challenge, but won’t do enough to pull the upset.

Winner: Dantas by unanimous decision

Photo Credit: Bellator MMA

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Chris Huntemann
Chris Huntemann writes about mixed martial arts in the state of Maryland. He also opines on all things UFC, Bellator, World Series of Fighting and any other MMA topics he cares to bloviate about. You should check out his blog, or his Twitter. Or both. When he's not watching MMA, he's an avid fan of other sports, such as football, baseball and college basketball. He may or may not do other, non-sports-related things as well.

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