Bellator MMA makes its way back to Thackerville, Oklahoma for Bellator 174. The main event takes us to the women’s side as Julia Budd takes on Marloes Coenen for the inaugural Bellator featherweight title.
The four fight main card rounds out with Fernando Gonzalez taking on Brandon Girtz in the welterweight division, Charles Hackman vs. Rafael Lovato Jr. and Roman Pizzolato vs. Justin Wren.
The prelims will stream live on Bellator.com starting at 6 PM CT with Spike TV taking over at 8 PM CT for the main card.
Julia Budd (9-2) vs. Marloes Coenen (23-7) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Julia Budd has a 9-2 career record with the two losses coming against two of the best bantamweights in Ronda Rousey and Amanda Nunes. Budd also holds a win over current UFC featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie. She enters her fight against Coenen looking for her eighth straight win.
MMA veteran Marloes Coenen is 1-1 over her previous two fights. She submitted Arlene Blencowe at Bellator 141 but was then submitted herself by Alexis Dufresne at Bellator 155. Coenen was expected to win the fight against Dufresne, but instead didn’t look good at all. If she resembles the fighter we saw at Bellator 155 then it’s going to be a very short night for her.
I expect Julia Budd to keep distance and keep the fight standing. Normally I would say Coenen has the advantage on the ground but after her latest performance I favor Budd there as well. More than half of Julia Budd’s wins have come by decision so I don’t expect the most exciting fight, but I do expect her to win.
Pick: Budd by decision
Fernando Gonzalez (25-14) vs. Brandon Girtz (14-5) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Brandon Girtz has had enough of the lightweight division and makes his debut at welterweight on Friday. He steps in for the injured Andrey Koreshkov when he takes on Fernando Gonzalez. Girtz was on a three fight win streak until he dropped a decision to Adam Piccolotti at Bellator 165. Of his 14 career wins 8 have been by submission and 4 by KO/TKO. What Girtz gives up in size, he more than makes up in speed and quickness.
The last we saw Fernando Gonzalez was at Bellator 165 where he lost a split decision to Michael Page in one of the most boring fights I can remember. Leading up to the Page contest, Gonzalez had won five fights in a row since joining Bellator, including wins against Karo Parisyan and Gilbert Smith.
This is another tough fight to predict due to Girtz moving up in weight class. Gonzalez will have the size advantage so the question is how will Girtz deal with it? Girtz taking the fight on short notice also favors Gonzalez. While I expect Girtz to give Fernando Gonzalez all he can handle, I think he’s going to come up short on the judge’s scorecards. Win or lose expect Brandon Girtz to go back to the lightweight division.
Pick: Gonzalez by decision
Prelims Quick Look
Rivera over Thomison
Pfister over Gary
Wren over Pizzolato (moved to Main Card)
Ducote eover Collins
Lovato over Hackman (moved to Main Card)
Dufresne over Holloway
Patterson over Witt
Enjoy the fights!
The Fighting Champion
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