Travis Lizotte "Full Contact Writer"
Once again, with fight day now less than 24 hours away, we check in to the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut as the tenant Bellator MMA continues to unleash star studded fight cards week after week. This week we find ourselves back in the saddle at Bellator 252 with the resumption of the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix set to headline a talent rich fight card, littered with some familiar New England talent. New England fans set your alarms for 4 pm as Bellator 252 prelims will begin on the Bellator MMA YouTube Channel as Autumn welcomes the fitting return of Trevor "Scarecrow" Gudde (1-1) who will make his long awaited Bellator MMA debut against the man with the legendary lineage; Khonry Gracie (2-1) in a Welterweight preliminary bout. Cage Titans FC Standout Trevor Gudde has had Gracie's name in his cross-hairs for a few months now as Gracie was forced to withdraw from their original bout scheduled for Bellator 245 in September, forcing Gudde to postpone his clash with the son of Legendary; Royce Gracie, until tomorrow night.
Gudde told our Steve Domenico on The Room Podcast he is "So ready for this" adding, "even when it was rescheduled we were like; 'alright,fine, whatever, lets do this' as long a Bellator still wants us as long as its the same name, let's do this." Gudde went on to mention that he is a high level Brown Belt in BJJ and would not be afraid to test himself on the ground with the man who bears the founding blood of the sport. This is quite a big spot for Boston's Gudde, as a victory over the famed Gracie could send his stock into orbit both here on the local scene as well as nationally.
Fellow New England Welterweight Pat "The Gorilla Ninja" Casey (6-3) makes his second straight Bellator appearance, just two months removed from his Middleweight clash with Daniel Madrid (17-6) that saw Casey fall just shy on the split judges scorecards at Bellator 246 in September. Casey returns to the Bellator cage at what he told our Lars Borssen in an interview earlier this month, is his ideal weight class as he meets Roman Faraldo (3-0) at 170 pounds tomorrow night. Casey showed a ton of potential in his last bout against the much more experienced and over-sized Madrid drawing the attention of Bellator matchmakers. Casey will look to leave a much more lasting impression on Bellator brass this time out, as "The Gorilla Ninja" aims to put the Bellator Welterweight division on notice against knockout artist Roman Faraldo, and show why he was once one of the fastest rising prospect in all of New England MMA.
Former Connecticut resident and CES MMA veteran Jornel "A1" Lugo (4-0) now fights out of West Palm Beach, Florida where he trains with American Top Team and totes an impressive 4-0 as he heads into his Bantamweight bout Thursday evening with the also undefeated Schyler Sootho (4-0). Though both men are undefeated in their four professional bouts, Lugo has done so against much tougher competition, as Lugo's opponents are a combined 10-1 whereas Sootho's opponents combined record is just 7-17. If Lugo can continue to string wins together against quality opponents like Sootho, he could become a mainstay on the Bellator MMA roster sooner than later.
Finally a man whom I consider a pioneer of New England MMA, "Mr. Nostos MMA" himself; Devin Powell (10-4) will follow up his viral sensational technical submission of Marcus Surin (6-2) last October at Bellator 232, with a fight the Powell admits he has wanted for some time. The South Berwick, Maine native Powell meets Lightweight veteran Manny "The Dragon" Muro (11-6) as Powell has his sights set on another dramatic finish and a multi fight deal with Bellator MMA. Since his departure from the UFC in 2018 Powell has struggled to find fights, with a tremendous showing at Bellator 232 against Surin backed by a big showing tomorrow night against Muro, Devin could very well make his new home in the Bellator Lightweight division before the commencement of 2021.
Bellator 252 and its host of New England MMA implications kicks off live Thursday afternoon at 4 pm on the Bellator MMA YouTube Channel with the Main Card, highlighted by the continuation of the Featherweight Grand Prix Quarterfinal, coming to live on CBS Sports Network starting at 7 pm local time. Below is the entire Bellator 252 fight card as it is set to go down tomorrow from Mohegan Sun Arena.
Patricio Freire vs. Pedro Carvalho TITLE FIGHT
Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Daniel Weichel
Yaroslav Amosov vs. Logan Storley
Aaron Pico vs. John de Jesus
Emilee King vs. Keri Anne Taylor-Melendez
Trevor Gudde vs. Khonry Gracie
Jornel Lugo vs. Schyler Sootho
Amanda Leve vs. Kara Hoad
Gabriel Varga vs. Brandon Phillips
Lucas Brennan vs. Andrew Salas
Pat Casey vs. Roman Faraldo
Manny Muro vs. Devin Powell