Bellator 178 takes place on Friday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut and will be headlined by a title fight as Daniel Straus will defend the Bellator featherweight title against former Bellator featherweight champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire.

In the co-main event of the fight card, a key matchup in the Bellator women’s flyweight division will take place between undefeated fighters as Ilima-Lei Macfarlane will look for her sixth victory when he meets Jessica Middleton.

Now let’s take a closer look at the four fights that will take place on Friday at Bellator 177.

Daniel Straus (24-6, 1NC) vs. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (25-4)
The trilogy bout between Straus and Pitbull came in late 2015 at Bellator 145 and Straus became a two-time Bellator featherweight champion with a decision victory. This will be the first fight for Straus since defeating Pitbull (1 year, 5 months, 15 days ago) and he will be looking for his third straight victory.

  • Tied with Marcin Held and Joe Warren for the 3rd most wins in Bellator history (2nd most wins in Bellator featherweight division history).
  • 4th most cage time (3:22:51) in Bellator history (Pat Curran #1, 4:04:39).
  • Currently tied with Rick Hawn, Brennan Ward and King Mo Lawal for the 4th most fights (14) in Bellator history (David Rickels #1, 18).
  • Tied with Curran, Alexandre Bezzerra, Marlon Sandro, Goiti Yamauchi, Patricio and Daniel Weichel for most submissions in Bellator featherweight division history.
  • Owns 7th fastest victory in Bellator featherweight division history with his 50-second knockout victory against Justin Wilcox at Bellator 127.

Just like Straus, Pitbull enters this fight following a layoff due to injury as he is coming off a TKO defeat due to a leg injury at Bellator 160 against Benson Henderson. This is the first fight for Pitbull in nearly eight months and he is 1-2 in his last three fights.

  • Tied with Michael Chandler for the most wins in Bellator history.
  • 3rd most cage time (3:32:58) in Bellator history.
  • Currently tied with Joe Warren and his brother, Patricky Pitbull for 2nd most fights in Bellator history and with this fight, he will tied Rickels for the most fights in Bellator history.
  • His victory over Straus at Bellator 132 is the 3rd latest stoppage victory (4th, 4:49) in Bellator title fight history.
  • Most TKO/KO in Bellator featherweight division history and is tied with Richman, Shlemenko and Ward for 3rd most TKO/KO wins in Bellator history.

Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (5-0) vs. Jessica Middleton (2-0)
MacFarlane has been in Bellator since her second professional fight and two of her four wins in Bellator have come by submission. She enters this fight following a decision victory as she defeated Emily Ducote at Bellator 167.

  • Two of her three stoppage victories have come in the opening round.
  • Prior to her decision victory against Ducote, she had won back to back fights by submission.

Middleton made her professional debut at Bellator 159 and both of her professional fights have come in Bellator. Both of her professional wins have come by decision and she is coming of a victory against Alice Yauger at Bellator 171 in January.

  • Her pro debut came in July of last year and defeated Bruna Ellen.
  • This will be her 2nd fights in 84 days.

Saad Awad (19-9) vs. Ryan Quinn (13-6-1)
Awad initially made his debut in Bellator in 2009 at Bellator 10 and will be looking to snap a two fight losing streak. His most recent defeat came in November at Bellator 163 as he lost to Brennan Ward by knockout in a welterweight bout.

  • Currently tied with Eddie Alvarez, David Rickels and Steve Kozola for the 3rd most TKO/KO wins in Bellator lightweight division history.
  • Tied with David Rickels for the 6th most in Bellator lightweight division history.
  • His victory over Guillaume DeLorenzi at Bellator 87 is tied for the 3rd fastest victory in Bellator lightweight division history.
  • During the season eight lightweight tournament, he defeated Will Brooks by TKO in 43-seconds and this is tied for the 9th fastest victory in Bellator lightweight division history.

Quinn is returning to Bellator for the first time since defeating Waylon Lowe at Bellator 140 in July of 2015 and he is coming off back to back victories. He most recent win came in October at Z Promotions: Fight Night Medicine Hat 2 as he defeated Matt MacGrath by split decision.

  • His first fight in Bellator came in 2010 and he has gone 7-0 in the promotion.
  • Seven of his thirteen wins have come by decision.
  • Won six of his last eight fights.

A.J. McKee (7-0) vs. Dominic Mazzotta (12-1)
All of McKee’s professional fights have come in Bellator and he is coming off back to back decision victories after starting his career with five straight stoppage victories. His last win came back in January as he defeated Brandon Phillips at Bellator 171.

  • 5th most wins in Bellator featherweight division history.
  • Tied with several fighters for the 2nd most submission wins in Bellator featherweight division history.
  • Currently tied with Shahbulat Shamhalaev and Georgi Karakhanyan for the 3rd most TKO/KO wins in Bellator featherweight division history.

Mazzotta has been viewed as one of the best prospects below 155 pounds not signed by the UFC or Bellator for the past couple of months. His only professional defeat came in 2012 against current UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt and he is coming off a decision victory against Solon Staley.

  • Since losing to Garbrant, he has won nine in a row and seven of those wins have come by submission.
  • Previously held the Pinnacle FC featherweight and bantamweight titles.

The complete Bellator 178: Straus vs. Pitbull 4 fight card is below.

Main Card: (Spike – 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT)
Daniel Straus (24-6, 1NC) vs. Patricio Freire (25-4)
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (5-0) vs. Jessica Middleton (2-0)
Saad Awad (19-9) vs. Ryan Quinn (13-6-1)
A.J. McKee (7-0) vs. Dominic Mazzotta (12-1)

Preliminary Card: (Bellator.com – 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT)
Nick Alley (1-0) vs. Kastroit Xhema (0-0)
Don Shainis (1-1) vs. Max Kelleher (1-3)
Regivaldo Carvalho (3-2) vs. Jason Perrin (3-2)
Kemran Lachinov (2-2) vs. Sam Watford (2-1)
John Lopez (8-3) vs. Remo Cardarelli (6-5)
Chris Foster (10-5) vs. Shane Manley (3-2)
Thomas English (6-7) vs. Blair Tugman (9-6)
Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Tim Caron (6-0)
Ed Ruth (2-0) vs. David Mundell (6-2)
Tyrell Fortune (2-0) vs. Branko Busick (0-0)
Billy Giovanella (9-5) vs. Joshua Ricci (3-0)

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