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Trailblazing: Bellator Dublin

All photos are courtesy of the PFL

Much of the fun of watching children grow is experiencing all their firsts. First teeth, words, and steps are all memorable events. Organizations have first too and Friday March 22, 2024 is the first Bellator Championship Series card with many opportunities that accompany restructured organizations.

One opportunity is to become the first to win a title. That is what Corey “Overtime” Anderson and Karl Moore have.  As Vadim Nemkov vacated the title they will have the distinction of being the first champion of the promotion. This is a first title shot for Moore who has been fighting professionally since 2011. He would also be the first SBG Ireland athlete to win a title since 2015.  If victorious this will be the first major title held by Anderson.

The TUF 19 winner has had two title fights before but has yet to be victorious in these matches. At the March 30th press conference he mentioned that maybe, “The third time in the charm.”  When asked about his failed attempts he replied, “Don’t cry over spilled milk. Clean it up, and make a new bowl of cereal.”

Each of the Bellator Championship Series cards will have two title fights. A valuable position for the roster is that this iteration of Bellator is so new there are no rankings. For fighters like Ireland’s Bantamweight Ciaran Clarke, that presents a huge upside. A good showing and you could have a title shot next. That’s what James Gallagher says he was promised if he is victorious vs Leandro Higo.

Bellator in recent years has had much success internationally, specifically in Europe. So it’s no surprise that five of its seven announced locations this year will take place in a European nation.  That has often been a source of contention for the US market as fights were either tape delayed or difficult to find.  That has been remedied by a deal struck between Bellator and WBD. This marks a first for MMA to be broadcast on Max.

There will be many first on Friday’s card from the SSE arena. One thing that hopefully remains the same is the highlight reel, viral finishes that have made this organization a good watch down through the years.


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