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Bellator Belfast predictions — Corey Anderson vs. Karl Moore: Fight card, start time, odds, how to watch

Bellator MMA returns to Belfast on Friday for the promotion’s first event since being acquired by Professional Fighters League. Bellator 302 is the first Bellator event held in Belfast since Bellator 173 in February 2017. Unlike that event, which featured no title bouts, the Bellator 302 card is topped by a pair of championship showdowns.

In the main event, Corey Anderson and Karl Moore will battle for the vacant light heavyweight championship. The belt became available after Vadim Nemkov chose to vacate the belt in a move up to heavyweight. Nemkov won the title in August 2020 and successfully defended it four times before officially making the jump to heavyweight at February’s PFL vs. Bellator event, where he defeated PFL’s Bruno Cappelozza.

Anderson is one of the men who failed to wrestle the title from the grasp of Nemkov. In the pair’s first meeting, Anderson was seemingly winning the fight when an accidental clash of heads in the third round opened a cut over Nemkov’s eye, ending the fight in a no contest five seconds before the end of the round. Had the fight ended after the completion of the third round, Anderson likely would have won a technical decision.

Anderson would get his rematch with Nemkov, but found little of the success he had the first time around, with Nemkov taking a clear unanimous decision.

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The fights with Nemkov are the only times Anderson has entered the Bellator cage and left without having his hand raised, compiling a 4-1 record with three stoppage victories. In his most recent outing, Anderson took a split decision win over Phil Davis.

Moore will have the home cage advantage as he competes in front of his hometown Belfast fans. Moore has fought four times in Bellator, winning all four fights, with three wins coming by decision.

Moore last fought at Bellator 297, earning a decision win over Alex Polizzi.

In the co-main event, the greatest fighter in Bellator history returns to the cage as Patricio Pitbull puts his featherweight championship on the line against Jeremy Kennedy.

Pitbull will be looking to pull out of a spiral that has seen him lose back-to-back fights for the first time in his accomplished professional career.

At Bellator 297, Pitbull, a former lightweight champion who is on his third stint as featherweight king, attempted to drop down to bantamweight to win a title in the third weight class of his career. Instead, Pitbull was outworked and dominated by Sergio Pettis, who took a lopsided decision.

This past July, Pitbull made the fateful decision to take a fight with Chihiro Suzuki on extremely short notice in Japan’s Rizin promotion. Pitbull lost the fight by first-round knockout.

Pitbull was set to return to action at PFL vs. Bellator only to see both scheduled opponents fall out of the event with injuries.

Kennedy has plenty of big-fight experience, with a 3-1 record in the UFC and a stint in PFL. Since joining Bellator, Kennedy has gone 4-1, with a loss to Adam Borics as the lone blemish on his Bellator record.

Since dropping a decision to Borics, Kennedy has won three consecutive fights, with wins over Emmanuel Sanchez, Aaron Pico and Pedro Carvalho setting up his shot at the title.

The rest of the undercard features more intriguing matchups with a European flair. Fabian Edwards, brother of UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards, looks to take the next step toward gold when he takes on fast rising contender Aaron Jeffery at middleweight. Plus, Irish sensation James Gallagher is back in a featherweight bout against veteran Leandro Higo. And Lightweights open the main card when Tim Wilde takes on Manouel Sousa.

Bellator Belfast fight card, odds

  • Corey Anderson -500 vs. Karl Moore +360, vacant light heavyweight championship
  • Patricio Pitbull (c) -105 vs. Jeremy Kennedy -115, featherweight championship
  • Fabian Edwards -150 vs. Aaron Jeffery +125, middleweights
  • Leandro Higo -135 vs. James Gallagher +110, featherweights
  • Tim Wilde -135 vs. Manouel Sousa +110, lightweights

Viewing information

  • Date: March 22 | Location: SSE Arena — Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • Time: 4 p.m. ET (noon ET for prelims)
  • Channel: Max (subscription required)

Predictions

Corey Anderson vs. Karl Moore: When breaking down the level of competition, it’s easy to see that Anderson has faced tougher competition than Moore, and has responded to that tough competition with many stoppage victories. Moore will have a rabid local fanbase cheering him on, to be sure, but it shouldn’t be expected that the adrenaline bump will carry him to victory over a fighter who we have every reason to believe is simply better and more dangerous. Pick: Corey Anderson via TKO3

Patricio Pitbull vs. Jeremy Kennedy: Were this the Pitbull of just a few years back, one would have every reason to believe that he should retain his title and keep right on being the best fighter in Bellator history. But this is a Pitbull who has looked noticeably slower, a bit less capable of pulling the trigger when needed, coming off of two losses and who is coming off a cervical spine surgery that he said he will “never be the same” after. Kennedy doesn’t carry the traits of a “special fighter” but he is good enough to beat a diminished version of Pitbull. The champion retaining his title wouldn’t be a shock, but Kennedy likely has enough to take a hard-fought decision. Pick: Jeremy Kennedy via UD

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