Bellator MMA returns to the UK with Bellator: Birmingham. Another exciting card featuring vets, novices, ready-made stars and prospects.
In this piece, we’ll be looking for the fighters you should be keeping an eye on this weekend at Bellator: Birmingham. From the starlets in the spotlight to the lesser known domestic talents, we’ll be having a look at what this weekend has to offer.
This man needs no introduction. If you don’t know him yet, you should and soon will. Brother of ranked UFC welterweight contender Leon Edwards, ‘The Assassin’ has all the tools and weaponry to make it to the very top.
Fabian Edwards was victorious in his return to Bellator with an impressive, measured performance over former Cage Warriors champion and vastly experienced veteran Lee Chadwick. In what seemed a potential banana peel fight for Edwards in just his sixth professional fight, he overcame the experience gap with a mature display showing his well-roundedness.
The 26-year-old can win a fight wherever it should take place, something not seen often in many British fighters. Training at the reputable Renegade gym, Fabian’s BJJ and ground game is no joke, despite being known as a striker. From submissions to liver kicks, grinding decision victories to flying knees, Fabian has done it all which only bodes well for his future.
In front of him is an unknown entity. Falco Neto Lopes, from Portugal, has a record of 11-9 against mainly unknown opposition and realistically should serve as an easy win for the Brit. For Edwards, it’s a chance to impress and end a fight in exciting fashion after a controlled and sensible approach to his Bellator return. Expect fireworks this time out.
Raymond Daniels/Wilker Barros
Raymond Daniels is by no means a prospect, but certainly a name any combat sports fan should be keeping an eye on this weekend, especially if you’re a fan of striking.
The kickboxing welterweight champion, known for his flashy and aggressive style, returns to professional MMA to have a second bite of the cherry. After suffering defeat on his MMA debut over a decade ago, the 39-year-old is back and looking to get back on track.
Whilst a charge for the title is perhaps unlikely, with this match serving as a striking exhibition, fans should savor this matchup and accept it for what it is; two exciting, elite strikers entering the cage in a bid to prove themselves.
Standing opposite Daniels will be Wilker Barros, a K1 champion in his own right and rated the number-one kickboxer in the UK. At just 27 years of age, Barros will be looking to cause the upset here and make a charge in the division. This matchup is a dream for those who love their stand-up.
Saul Rogers/Aiden Lee
Another pair that the hardcore MMA fanbase is probably already familiar with, Saul Rogers and Aiden Lee have both recently reached the upper echelons of UKMMA with Saul venturing to then ACB (Now ACA). Rogers suffered his first loss in years in his last outing with the Russian promotion and has now seen a two-year absence from the cage with his scheduled bout with Jeremy Petley canceled.
Rogers made a name for himself in The Ultimate Fighter, with impressive wins seeing him make it to the final. However, visa issues prevented him from fighting at The Finale and thus Rogers was cut from the UFC by Dana White.
Lee, a lesser name in the world of MMA, is training out of Renegade, alongside a long line of contenders. With a fantastic and somewhat unorthodox ground game mixed with decent striking, Lee is a handful for anyone.
A record of 7-3 is very deceiving so don’t watch this fight solely expecting a Rogers win. This fight is a pure 50-50 with both looking to get back to winning ways after suffering defeat last time out.