We have a ridiculous weekend of fights coming our way with strong cards being put on by both the UFC and Bellator. The headliner for Bellator 196 will feature former world champion ‘Smooth’ Benson Henderson (24-8) filling in for an injured James Gallagher, in a lightweight matchup against Roger Huerta. The same night will also see Bellator put on their 9th kickboxing event, headlined by Raymond Daniels and Djibril Ehouo. That event also features Australia’s John Wayne Parr, who will be looking to get his 100th win at the expense of Eder Lopes.
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) March 26, 2018
With two victories over both Donald Cerrone and Frankie Edgar, and having defeated the likes of Nate Diaz, Gilbert Melendez and Jorge Masvidal, ‘Smooth’ Benson Henderson is looking to add another name to an already impressive resume, and to improve the 1-4 record he’s picked up since moving to Bellator in 2016. Having not made the tsunami-proportion waves he was expected to at Bellator, Henderson has a lot to prove since moving over to the organisation. This is also evidence that the level of competition at Bellator can rival that of the UFC’s, at least for the top 5 (or so) of each division.
Huerta’s entertaining fight style has seen him defeat big names like Clay Guida and Leonard Garcia in years past, though he never truly fulfilled the potential some saw in him. More recently, the Texan has added two consecutive wins to his record in fights outside of the Bellator (and the US). At Bellator 196, Huerta is stepping back into top-level competition when he faces Henderson. Having been active since 2003, and having faced all sorts of athletes in those 15 years, it’s clear that Huerta has more than just a punchers chance. Should everything go to plan for him, a win over a well-known name like Henderson will be a shot back into relevancy for the 34-year-old and possibly position him well for future talks about title shots.
Bellator 196 hosts some other great fights too with some vets on the card, as well as fresh talent. As long as there are no further injuries the main card includes a co-main event between featherweights Adam Borics and Teodor Nikolov. A women’s flyweight bout between Denise Kielholtz and Petra Castkova. Earlier in the night, there’s a featherweight bout between Brian Moore and Giorgio Belsanti and 175-pound catchweight fight featuring Ed Ruth and Ion Pascu at 175lb.
The April 7 card at BOK Hall will also feature kickboxing action, as Bellator Kickboxing returns for another great night of stand up fights. In the main event, legend Raymond Daniels defends his welterweight belt against France’s Djibril Ehouo. A must watch for MMA fans who are more fond of the stand up martial arts than the ones involving grappling. Bellator Kickboxing 9 will also see everybody’s favourite Aussie-larrikin-kickboxer, John Wayne Parr look to mark down his 100th win against Eder Lopes, who undoubtedly hopes to take some of the shine from the social media sensation.
If you’re looking for a legal way to watch Bellator 196 in Australia, be sure to check out Bellator’s social media and YouTube accounts, they regularly post a wealth of content after the fact. Watching the event live Down Under isn’t always easy. Be sure to check out the Bellator app for the prelim action, though I’m fairly certain you’ll need one of those virtual networks to stream the main card live in the content deprived land we call home.