The Bellator cage lands on the Emerald Isle tonight as Bellator 270 brings a lightweight title fight to the 3Arena.
Ahead of fight night, we take a look at four key questions that will be answered when the fighters take to the cage on what promises to be a wild night in Dublin.
Can Peter Queally rise to the occasion on home soil?
Ireland’s own Peter Queally will step into the cage looking to become the first Irish Bellator champion, and the first Irish champion of a major global MMA organization since Conor McGregor.
He’s taking on a man he’s already defeated, too. Queally defeated Patricky Pitbull at Bellator 258 in May, but that victory came via TKO due to cuts. It was a legitimate win, no doubt, but a win on cuts isn’t always viewed in the same way as a finish due to strikes or a submission, and Queally himself admitted he wouldn’t have been happy with the stoppage if he had been on the receiving end of that call.
But “The Showstopper” also stated that the fight was firmly in his grasp at the time of the stoppage, and he has cut a calm, focused and confident figure during fight week in Dublin as he prepares to step into an arena jam-packed with fans who will be looking to roar him to victory.
The unique atmosphere of the 3Arena has affected many a fighter over the years, and even Queally himself admitted that he was taken aback by the experience earlier in his career.
Now he has to take that energy and use it to his advantage as he faces Pitbull, who is looking to carry on the family’s reign at the top of the 155-pound division after his brother Patricio relinquished the title earlier this year.
Will Queally rise to the occasion and send the Irish fans home happy, or can Pitbull level the score with “The Showstopper” and silence the crowd by capturing the title?
What will the “new” James Gallagher look like?
James Gallagher may have been a polarizing character throughout his MMA career so far, but there can be no doubt of his fighting credentials.
Still only 25, “The Strabanimal” has amassed an 11-1 career record and is one of the premier bantamweights on the Bellator roster. But can he make that leap from ranked fighter to bona-fide title contender? We’ll find out tonight when he faces a man who has already fought for the 135-pound strap.
Patchy Mix is a top-drawer bantamweight with outstanding submission skills, and he’s looking to reposition himself as the top contender after his 2020 loss to Juan Archuleta in their fight for the vacant title at Bellator 246.
He’s picked up an impressive submission win since then, and sees a win over Gallagher as way to make a statement and push himself back into contention once again.
As for Gallagher, despite his impressive form, the Irishman hasn’t sat on his laurels. He took the decision to move to the United States to train at Glory MMA & Fitness under the tutelage of the highly-respected fighter/coach James Krause.
Gallagher has maintained ties with his old gym at SBG, and will have both Krause and SBG head coach John Kavanagh in his corner on fight night.
It will be fascinating to see what wrinkles Krause has been able to add to Gallagher’s already solid game, and whether those additions will help get Gallagher past Mix and into the championship picture at 135 pounds.
Typically, Gallagher is in confident mood but, make no mistake, this is the toughest test of his Bellator career to date. If he passes, even bigger fights will be just around the corner.
Can Pedro Carvalho bounce back?
The bout between Daniel Weichel and Pedro Carvalho will see pair of featherweights with eyes on the top of the division face off as they look to rebuild momentum in Bellator’s talent-stacked 145-pound class.
For Germany’s Weichel, it’s a chance for the 53-fight veteran to continue his recovery following his elimination from the featherweight grand prix. The two-time title challenger has already bounced back with victory over Keoni Diggs, and will be looking to kickstart a winning streak by adding Carvalho’s name to his list of victims.
Former title challenger Carvalho, meanwhile, is on a two-fight skid and will be hoping that the crowd in his adopted home of Dublin will inspire him to a momentum-changing performance.
“The Game” was eliminated from the featherweight grand prix by then-champion Patricio Pitbull, and his comeback fight ended in defeat to a Jay Jay Wilson who failed to make weight for their featherweight bout.
Now set to face one of the most seasoned veterans on the Bellator roster, Carvalho has the chance to claim a victory over a teak-tough, respected former title challenger.
Can the Dublin-based Portuguese fighter rise to the occasion, or will “Drake’s” experience prove too much on fight night?
Will Ilias Bulaid deliver a highlight-reel finish?
Dutch-Moroccan striker Ilias Bulaid gave us a glimpse of his striking acumen on his Bellator debut as the former kickboxer scored a buzzer-beating first-round knockout in Dublin at Bellator 227.
Bulaid has added a decision win to his fledgling record to improve to 2-0 as a pro, but his potential remains largely untapped at this early stage in his MMA career.
Bulaid faces French debutant Georges Sasu, who carries a four-fight win streak into his first outing as a Bellator fighter. If “The Blade” can cut down the debutant and add another eye-catching finish to his record, the hype will start to build on one of the most exciting European prospects on Bellator’s roster.