It’s a great weekend of MMA fighting if you are a fan of UFC competitor Bellator. That organization has a card scheduled on both Friday and Saturday, and we’ll have previews on both here at Mybookie Sportsbook. On Friday from Oklahoma, it’s Bellator 202 headlined by a women’s featherweight title fight between Julia Budd and Talita Nogueira. Here’s a look at the main fights. Check back for the latest Bellator 202 MMA odds before placing your ticket!
Bellator 202 Betting Preview & Predictions
“I love fighting. Jiu-jitsu has changed my life.” @talita_treta
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) 12 de julio de 2018
- When: Friday, 9 PM ET
- Where: WinStar World Casino and Resort, Thackerville, Oklahoma
- TV: Paramount Network
- Streaming: Bellator Live
Julia Budd (11-2) vs. Talita Nogueira (7-0)
Budd will be the betting favorite here and is the only fighter to ever sit atop Bellator women’s featherweight division. She has beaten some big names like Germaine de Randamie, Arlene Blencowe and Marloes Coenen in her career. “The Jewel” is also the only woman to defeat Gina Carano in Muay-Thai competition.
Budd captured the Bellator featherweight belt with a fourth-round TKO victory over Coenen in March 2017. Budd was last in the Octagon on December and beat Blencowe by controversial split decision. Budd spent most of the fight being backed up by the pressure of Blencowe, generating her best offense with knees when she was able to force the clinch.
The bout was largely lacking and by the fifth round, many fans were booing. Budd took home the split decision with judges Todd Anderson and David Sutherland awarding her 49-46 scorecards, and Michael Bell scoring the bout 48-47 for Blencowe. The Spike TV commentator had Blencowe winning.
The 35-year-old Budd hasn’t lost a fight since early career stumbles to future UFC stars Amanda Nunes and Ronda Rousey under the Strikeforce banner. After the loss to Rousey, Budd streaked through four Invicta Fighting Championships opponents, including Charmaine Tweet, and then joined Bellator.
Nogueira was a world champion in jiu-jitsu before shifting to MMA. “Treta” went undefeated in six MMA contests in her hometown of Sao Paulo, Brazil between 2009 and 2013, before signing to compete with Bellator. Originally slated to fight Budd at Bellator 133, Nogueira suffered an injury that forced her to withdraw from the contest. Her promotional debut ultimately took place at Bellator 182, where the 32-year-old scored a first-round submission over Amanda Bell. That was “Treta’s” first MMA bout in almost four years.
Nogueira had justifiable reasons for her absence: she spent a year on the mend from a torn ACL and meniscus and then came in heavy for her next scheduled fight after dealing with the loss of her mother just before accepting the bout. “Treta” is an excellent grappler who trains out of Demian Maia’s Vila da Luta camp.
“I feel like I match up against her great, you know,” McDonald said. “We had a full training camp, I was supposed to fight her in 2015. So we had a full training camp before training for her and I’ve known about this fight since March. I just feel like I’ve been able to cover all of my bases, obviously, I studied her before.”
Michael McDonald (18-4) vs. Eduardo Dantas (20-5)
This is non-title bantamweight bout. McDonald made his Bellator debut in December, defeating Peter Ligier via decision despite fracturing his hand early in the fight.
A former title challenger in the UFC, “Mayday” went 6-3 with wins over the likes of Miguel Torres, Brad Pickett and Chris Cariaso inside the Octagon. Fighting professionally since the age of 16, McDonald has been a mainstay in the bantamweight rankings for the better part of 11 years.
Other than a loss to Cole Escovedo in 2009, McDonald has only struggled with the best of the best. He failed in a UFC bantamweight title challenge against Renan Barão, who still looked elite then. Later in 2013, he was submitted by Urijah Faber, a legend of the sport and a perennial title challenger at the time.
“(Dantas is) obviously a great fighter, a former champion, and is very good, so I have to perform and do my game as solid as I can,” McDonald said. “That’s what I plan on doing. There are no tricks, there’s no deception, I think a better martial artist, and we’re going to go head to head and see how that goes.”
Dantas, a former two-time Bellator champion, has proven himself a perennial top-10 bantamweight fighter with impressive performances over Joe Warren, Marcos Galvao (twice), Wilson Reis and Zach Makovsky. The Bellator Season 5 tournament champion has strung together a 10-2 record with Bellator during his seven-year tenure with the promotion.
Dantas lost the bantamweight title to Darrion Caldwell in October 2017 when he was defeated by unanimous decision. The loss snapped a four-fight winning streak. The 29-year-old trains alongside the likes of Jose Aldo in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro and is looking for another shot at Bellator gold.
“McDonald who is a very experienced guy and is a good match-up for me. He likes to strike, he knows how to fight on the ground and is well-rounded,” Dantas said.
Expert Bellator 202 Betting Predictions
Take Dantas, who could earn another title shot, and Budd.