Bellator 202 is set for Friday night from Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma, with the prelims set for 7:00pm Eastern time (ParamountNetwork.com) and the main card set for 9:00pm Eastern time on the Paramount Network. The main event features Julia Budd and Talita Nogueira in a title bout for the women’s featherweight championship. The co-main event features an interesting bantamweight between Eduardo Dantas and Michael McDonald, both of whom are looking for some redemption in the sport. Take a look at the fight card as well as our MMA betting insights on the main event and several of the other tilts set for the evening.
Bellator 202 Betting Preview
Main Card (9:00pm ET, Paramount Network)
- Julia Budd vs Talita Nogueira
- Eduardo Dantas vs Michael McDonald
- Chris Honeycutt vs Leo Leite
- Valentin Moldavsky vs Ernest James
Undercard (7:00pm ET, ParamountNetwork.com)
- Stephanie Geltmacher vs Deborah Kauzmin
- Nation Gilbrick vs Luis Erives
- Jon Hill vs Rudy Schaffroth
- Gerald Harris vs Yaroslav Amosov
- Will Morris vs Charles Williams
- Aaron Webb vs Daniel Carey
- Fernando Trevino vs Tyler Ingram
- Emily Ducote vs Veta Arteaga
- Steve Kozola vs Ryan Walker
Julia Budd (10-2 MMA, 5-0 Bellator) vs Talita Nogueira (7-0 MMA, 1-0 Bellator) gives us a women’s MMA veteran in Budd who has not lost since a 2011 setback against Ronda Rousey. Now she looks to secure her second title defense as a Bellator champ. Nogueira comes in as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who had been set to fight Budd at Bellator 133 but had to pull out with a knee injury. That history of injuries and cancellations still rankles among some in the promotion, but now she is back for her flyweight championship shot. Her first fight in Bellator was quite brief as she submitted Amanda Bell at Bellator 182. Of her seven wins overall, five have come via submission and the other two via TKO. Against Bell, she moved into the clinch almost right away, using judo trips taken from overhook positions to knock Bell off balance and get her to the floor. If Budd wants to maintain her title, she will have to avoid takedowns and stay toe to toe with Nogueira. We are still waiting for lines on this bout at this writing, which is not surprising given the lack of information on Nogueira, but I’m curious to see whether Nogueira can snag Budd as well. I’m picking Budd to stay on her feet and win by decision, but this will be a fun bout to watch.
Bellator 202 Prediction: Budd wins via decision
Eduardo Dantas (20-5) vs Michael McDonald (18-4) square off in a bantamweight bout. Dantas lost his belt the last time he fought, so he should be motivated to pick up a big win here so that he can get another title shot. Dantas is currently considered the best bantamweight fighter who is not already in the UFC stable, so he will be looking to win this — and regain his belt — so that he can get a shot at a UFC contract. He faces a UFC ex in McDonald, who left the UFC because of personal reasons and is looking for some redemption in MMA. He has appeared on UFC main cards, and he brings a considerable amount of talent to Bellator. With two hungry fighters, it will be interesting to see which can bring enough to win. McDonald has suffered a number of injuries to his hands, including breaking his hand against Peter Ligier, and he claims that the lighter gloves that are used in the cages have a role in those injuries. In an interview with MMA Mania, he talked about changes to his training that may adjust his striking, as well as changes to his wrapping in order to prevent injuries. It will be interesting to see how this bout of two hungry contenders turns out.
Bellator 202 Prediction: Dantas wins via decision