Bellator Women’s Featherweight Championship: Julia Budd (c) (12-2) vs. Olga Rubin (6-0)
Luke Irwin: Rubin in a decent-enough striker, but nothing Earth-shattering, and certainly nothing that Budd, who’s been in the cage with Amanda Nunes and Germaine De Randamie, hasn’t seen before. This will also be Rubin’s first five-rounder, which is always an adjustment. I think Budd drags it to the championship rounds, and finishes a tired Rubin. Budd via R4 TKO.
Middleweight Bout: Chidi Njokuani (18-6) vs. Rafael Carvalho (15-3)
Luke: This should be a hell of a tilt. You know what Chidi is going for. He’s a kickboxer like his brother, through-and-through. He’ll live by the strike and die by the strike…or the submission. Carvalho won’t be impressed. He’s stood down Joe Schilling and Melvin Manhoef twice, and not only lived to tell the tale, but won all three. I don’t think Njokuani gets starched, but I do think Rafael is a much better fighter who will outclass him to a win. Carvalho via UD.
Women’s Flyweight Bout: Juliana Velasquez (8-0) vs. Kristina Williams (3-1)
Luke: Williams’s only loss was in her third professional fight, and it was against Valerie Letourneau, who is incredibly seasoned, and had fought Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Joanne Calderwood, Alexis Davis, Sarah Kaufman, and Claudia Gadelha to that point. Yikes. Still, I like Velasquez’s game much more. As a 5’8″ flyweight, Williams will have her advantages, and landing a doctor stoppage on Heather Hardy is a huge feather in her cap, but Velasquez has more to offer. Velasquez via R2 Submission.
Welterweight Bout: Ed Ruth (6-1) vs. Kiichi Kunimoto (20-7-2)
Luke: Normally, the krypotonite of Japanese fighters is American wrestlers, due to the near-complete lack of an amateur wrestling system in Japan, compared to a deep system in the States, but Kunimoto is a submission whiz. However, he’s never faced a wrestler with Ruth’s pedigree. He can catch him, Ruth lost by submission in his last fight, his first pro loss, but I think Ruth plays it safe en route to a win to rebound. Ruth via UD.