Plenty of Home Interest in Dublin

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Bellator 275 has a packed card and it promises to be a fantastic night of action on Friday!

Gegard Mousasi

Dublin’s 3Arena hosts a jam-packed card on Friday with a middleweight title bout between Gegard Mousasi and Austin Vanderford topping Bellator 275.

Dublin-based Peter Queally was slated to face Kane Mousah at lightweight but the Irishman had to withdraw after sustaining an injury.

There is still plenty of Irish interest, however, with Sinead Kavanagh, who trains out of Dublin, taking on Northern Ireland’s Leah McCourt in the co-main.

Drogheda native Ciaran Clarke also returns to action as he looks to extend his unbeaten record at the expense of Abou Tounkara.

Vanderford to Pose Wrestling Problem

Champion Mousasi is vastly experienced but he has often found it difficult to compete against highly-trained wrestlers.

The 36-year-old is 48-7-2 since making his professional MMA debut in 2003, while Vanderford only made his debut in 2017 but he is yet to taste defeat and boasts an 11-0 record.

Mousasi is 2/5 to successfully defend his belt in the Irish capital with Vanderford available at 9/5 to come out on top.

The Iranian, who spent four year’s with the UFC before signing for Bellator in 2017, won the middleweight strap courtesy of a TKO win over Rafael Carvalho in May 2018 and he successfully defended against Rory MacDonald four months later.

He lost the belt in 2019 via a majority decision against wrestler Rafael Lovato Jr but reclaimed the gold in 2020 after it had been vacated.

That defeat to Lovato Jr suggests Mousasi could be in for a tough time when he steps out against Gracie Barra Portland product Vanderford.

The American is yet to taste defeat and, if he follows Lovato Jr’s blueprint, could leave the 3Arena with his arm raised.

However, if Mousasi can survive beyond the opening three rounds then the advantage should fall his way, with Vanderford only having gone five rounds once in his career.

Title Hopefuls Clash in Co-main

McCourt and Kavanagh will attempt to start 2022 in a positive manner as they look to build towards a featherweight title shot later in the year.

McCourt, who beat Jessica Borga last time out at Bellator 267, has momentum on her side and is riding a six-fight winning streak.

Kavanagh, meanwhile, has lost five of her last eight fights but her most recent defeat came in November when suffering a knockout loss at the hands of champion Cris Cyborg.

There’s plenty of value in backing McCourt at 1/1 as she looks to continue climbing the rankings, while Kavanagh is priced at 10/13 to bounce back.

Clarke on the Rise

Clarke is the latest prospect to emerge from SBG Ireland – the gym that helped develop Conor McGregor into a two-weight UFC world champion – and the early signs look hugely positive.

The BJJ purple belt boasts two submission wins and two victories via decision as he prepares to take on Aboubakar Tounkara.

Despite being 32, Tounkara is still relatively green and has fought professionally just seven times – winning five.

He makes his Bellator debut this weekend as he looks to bounce back from defeat to Saba Bolaghi at SLM 2 in October.

Each of Clarke’s four professional contests have come with Bellator and that experience with the company could stand him in good stead.

The Irishman is priced at 2/9 to make it five wins in a row and Tounkara can be backed at 59/20.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

Bobbie is a big football fan across all levels, and he also has an impressive background in martial arts and is a regular provider of quality boxing and UFC content.
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