Bellator makes its return to Dublin this weekend for yet another action-packed event at the 3Arena.
The capital city venue has become accustomed to hosting Bellator Dublin fight card’s over the past few years with the passionate and vocal Irish fan base lending itself to some of the organisation’s most talked-about shows.
SBG Ireland’s James Gallagher was due to headline the event once again, however, his bout with Cal Ellenor fell through for a second time after the Tyrone native picked up an injury.
In his absence, Leah McCourt steps up to become the first Irish female fighter to headline a major MMA card while also becoming the first female to headline a Bellator Europe event.
Here is everything you need to know ahead of Bellator Dublin this weekend.
Where is it on?
The event takes place at the 3Arena in Dublin
When is it on?
Saturday, February 22nd.
What time does it begin at?
The action gets underway at 4.30 pm kicking off with the prelims with the main card expected to start around 10 pm.
Is it on TV?
The prelims will be live and free on the Bellator MMA YouTube channel from 4:30 pm. The Bellator 240 main card will be shown on Sky Sports Arena at 3 AM.
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Last night I was given the news, that I will be main event at Bellator Dublin. Its hard to believe that a single mum from a council estate in Belfast will be main event in a sold out @3arena in Dublin live on @channel5_tv . I have clawed my way up from the bottom, life has thrown everything at me, but my determination has never waivered, this moment is a testament to my faith, work ethic, my team, my family and never giving up. To be the first Irish female to ever headline a major MMA promotions card and the first female to headline a @bellatoreurope card is surreal and emotional. I’m ready to rise to the occasion. Trust me, this will be a main event performance. Ready to make history. Thank-you to @bellatormma, @mikekogan and @judesamuels for this opportunity. I wish @strabanimal a speedy recovery and thanks for bringing Bellator to Europe. If it wasn’t for a superstar like James, a lot of us wouldn’t have this platform, still be fighting for pennies and jobless. Born for such a time as this. This is for you Isabella! #HISTORY . . . 🎫 Commision from all tickets bought from me are going to @friends_of_the_cancer_centre so contact me @ezacharopoulou or @air.una to order. Sponsors: any businesses that would like to join my team contact me. Sponsors & Team @coachowenroddy/ @sbgcharlestown / @teamtorreshq/ @ifitni / @lifelikemedia / @rayginleyboxing / @air.una/ @meatballmolly / @ezacharopoulou / @hazardharvey / @lindseydoylept /@slimshealthykitchen/ @mikemccomishfitness / @boojummex/ @a_mcgreevy/ @healing_heat/ @virusintl/ @thephysiogroupni/ @thecbdfarmacy
The main card will be shown on Virgin Media Three from 10 pm.
Who is headlining?
Belfast woman Leah McCourt will become the first female MMA fighter to headline a Bellator event in Europe when she faces Judith Ruis in the main event.
Popular SBG Ireland fighter James Gallagher was due to headline once again but was forced to withdraw through injury paving the way for McCourt to step into the limelight.
The SBG Charlestown fighter, whose head coach is Owen Roddy, took to Instagram following her promotion to headline act to express her gratitude.
“Last night I was given the news that I will be main event at Bellator Dublin. It’s hard to believe that a single mum from a council estate in Belfast will be a main event in a sold-out 3arena in Dublin live on Channel 5 tv.
“I have clawed my way up from the bottom, life has thrown everything at me, but my determination has never wavered. This moment is a testament to my faith, work ethic, my team, my family and never giving up.
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First ever female non title fight to headline @bellatormma. First Irish female to headline a major MMA promotion and first female to headline a @bellator.europe card. Ready to make history. This is going to be special. . . Repost @bellator.europe with @make_repost ・・・ 🗣️ 'I'm a finisher, I have killer instinct!' @leahmccourtmma looks to prove she is one of Europe's top emerging talents when she headlines #BellatorDublin against @judithhoneybadger on February 22nd. . . . Sponsors & Team @coachowenroddy/ @sbgcharlestown / @teamtorreshq/ @ifitni / @lifelikemedia / @rayginleyboxing / @lindseydoylept /@slimshealthykitchen/ @mikemccomishfitness / @boojummex/ @a_mcgreevy/ @buellalife / @healing_heat/ @virusintl/ @thephysiogroupni/ @thecbdfarmacy/ @materialgoodsco / @mckinstryskiphire/ @nisupplements
“To be the first Irish female to ever headline a major MMA promotions card and the first female to headline a Bellator Europe card is surreal and emotional.
“I’m ready to rise to the occasion.”
Who are the fighting Irish?
The event is headlined by Belfast’s Leah McCourt but there is also a plethora of Irish fighters competing on the undercard. Charlie Ward will act as the co-main event for Bellator Dublin while Kiefer Crosbie is the co-main event for Bellator 240 earlier in the evening.
Other Irish or Irish-based fighters include Paul Redmond, Richard Kiely, Richie Smullen, Will Fleury, Blaine O’Driscoll, Danni Neilan, Dyland Logan, Ciaran Clark and Frans Mlambo.
What other notable fighters are competing?
Former reality TV star Aaron Chalmers will fight on the Bellator Dublin main card where he will look to extend his impressive 5-1 record.
Former lightweight champion Brent Primus headlines Bellator 240 in the early evening where he is joined by former UFC flyweight Bec Rawlings and Ricky Bandejas, the man who handed James Gallagher his only professional defeat.
What is the full fight card?
Bellator Dublin: McCourt vs. Ruis Main Card
10 p.m. GMT
Women’s Featherweight Main Event: Leah McCourt (3-1) vs. Judith Ruis (6-4)
Middleweight Co-Main Event: Charlie Ward (7-4) vs. Kyle Kurtz (10-7)
Welterweight Bout: Aaron Chalmers (5-1) vs. Austin Clem (3-1)
Bellator 240: Primus vs. Bungard Main Card
7:30 p.m. GMT
Lightweight Main Event: Brent Primus (9-1) vs. Chris Bungard (15-5)
160-lb. Contract Weight Co-Main Event: Kiefer Crosbie (7-1) vs. Iamik Furtado (6-1)
Women’s Flyweight Bout: Bec Rawlings (7-9) vs. Elina Kallionidou (7-3)
Bantamweight Bout: Ricky Bandejas (12-3) vs. Frans Mlambo (8-4)
Welterweight Bout: Oliver Enkamp (8-2) vs. Lewis Long (17-5)
4:30 p.m. GMT
Featherweight Bout: Ilias Bulaid (1-0) vs. Diego Freitas (Pro Debut)
180-lb. Contract Weight Bout: Richard Kiely (3-2) vs. George Hardwick (5-1)
Lightweight Bout: Paul Redmond (15-8) vs. Georgi Karakhanyan (28-10-1, 1 NC)
Lightweight Bout: Philip Mulpeter (10-6) vs. Daniel Crawford (10-3)
Featherweight Bout: Asael Adjoudj (Pro Debut) vs. Constantin Blanita (Pro Debut)
Featherweight Bout: Richie Smullen (5-1-1) vs. Alberth Dias (4-2)
Middleweight Bout: Will Fleury (6-2) vs. Justin Moore (9-4)
161-lb. Contract Weight Bout : Mateusz Piskorz (14-5) vs. Chris Duncan (5-0)
Featherweight Bout: Dylan Logan (4-3) vs. Calum Murrie (4-2)
Flyweight Bout: Blaine O’Driscoll (7-3) vs. Ezzoubair Bouarsa (7-1)
Featherweight Bout: Ciaran Clarke (2-0) vs. Jamie Faulding (1-0)
Women’s Strawweight Bout: Danni Neilan (1-0) vs. Chiara Penco (4-1)