The second Bellator “tent pole” event will take place on Friday night as Bellator 134: The British Invasion comes from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut and will be headlined by Emanuel Newton defending the light heavyweight title against Liam McGeary.
In addition to the title fight in the main event, the co-main event will see former light heavyweight title challenger Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal moving up in weight to face Cheick Kongo in a heavyweight bout.
The fight card will kickoff with preliminary card on Spike.com at 6:45 p.m. ET/3:45 p.m. PT and the main card will begin at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with Sean Wheelock and Jimmy Smith calling the fights.
Take a look at the five biggest questions heading into Friday’s fight card.
1. Will a new champion be crowned?
Back in late 2013, I wrote a piece about prospects to watch out for in Bellator and one of those fighters was Liam McGeary. After winning six fights in Bellator, McGeary is no longer a prospect as he will challenge Emanuel Newton for the Bellator light heavyweight title. All of his wins in Bellator have come in the first round and he is only one of three fighters in Bellator history to win by inverted triangle choke submission.
On Friday night, he will look to become the first British fighter to win a title in a major mixed martial arts promotion in the United States. Is McGeary the guy to hand Newton his first defeat since 2012, when he lost a split decision to Attila Vegh? Can he avoid the spinning back fist of Newton? We will find out the answers to those questions on Friday night.
2. Which fighter has more to lose, King Mo or Kongo?
When this card was initially announced, King Mo and Kongo were not on the card. Following an injury to Bobby Lashley and James Thompson being off the card, Bellator President Scott Coker and his team made what they are calling a “super fight” between King Mo and Kongo.
King Mo is moving up in weight to face Kongo and this will be his first heavyweight bout since 2009 when he defeated Mike Whitehead in Strikeforce. Kongo enters this fight following back to back victories, including a submission over Lavar Johnson. Both fighters have a lot to lose and not much to gain. The question becomes, which fighter will lose the most in their respective weight class with a defeat?
3. Can Paul Daley supply another highlight reel knockout?
This card will feature the return of British striking specialist Paul Daley as he will step into the Bellator cage for the first time since 2012. It was well documented that Daley had visa issues that kept him out of the United States and those issues have been cleared.
Initially, he was scheduled to meet Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima in the main event of this card. However, an injury forced Lima out and now Daley will face Andre Santos. Daley’s last six wins have come by knockout and will he make it seven? That is the plan for Daley and if he does win by knockout, will it be a knockout of the year candidate?
4. How will Brennan Ward look at welterweight?
The opening bout of the main card on Spike TV will feature former Bellator middleweight tournament winning and title challenger Brennan Ward making his welterweight debut. He was initially booked to face Jesse Juarez on the preliminary card, but he was elevated to the main card when Michael Page pulled out of the event and Ward will now meet Curtis Millender.
Ward enters this fight after losing back to back fights and both of those defeats came by stoppage. His last defeat was a 21 second knockout defeat against Tamdan McCrory and the biggest question about Ward is will his abilities that he showed at middleweight translate for him at welterweight.
5. Is Tamdan McCrory the next middleweight title challenger?
One of the best comeback stories currently in mixed martial arts is Tamdan McCrory. He returned to action last year after being away for five years and scored the fastest knockout in Bellator middleweight history against Ward. He will be looking for his second straight win as he meets Jason Butcher on the preliminary card.
Currently, Bellator has not announced who middleweight champion Brandon Halsey will make his first title defense against. The Bellator middleweight division is not deep and there is no clear number one contender, outside of former champion Alexander Shlemenko. If McCrory has another statement victory on Friday like he did against Ward, it would be hard to not give McCrory the next title shot.