Bellator MMA today announced that famed Dutch kickboxer Melvin “No Mercy” Manhoef (30-14-1, 2 NC) will return to mixed martial arts action against Britain’s Kent “The Hammerhorn” Kauppinen (11-4) in a hard-hitting light heavyweight affair, as the promotion returns to The SSE Arena, Wembley on Saturday, June 22.
Additionally, a further five preliminary bouts have been added to Bellator London: Mousasi vs. Lovato Jr. Former two-weight BAMMA champion Terry “The Dominator” Brazier (10-2) faces Dublin’s Peter “The Showstopper” Queally (11-5-1) in a lightweight bout. Meanwhile, two welterweight contests have been added to the card with Galore “The Paranormal” Bofando (5-3) and Richard Kiely (3-1) going head-to-head and Walter “The Sniper” Gahadza (18-3) meeting Carl “The Bomber” Booth (8-3). In addition, Cornwall’s Kate Jackson (10-3-1) takes on Lena “Hunter” Ovchynnikova (12-5, 1 NC) in a women’s flyweight contest.
Also on the card, Nathan “The Black” Rose (6-1) and Luke Ord (7-2-1) face off in a featherweight clash.
Melvin Manhoef boasts an impressive combat sports career spanning two and a half decades, where he has found success in DREAM, Cage Rage and now Bellator, culminating in a world title bout at Bellator 176 against Rafael Carvalho. Most recently, the veteran defeated Remy Bonjasky in the final bout of his kickboxing career. With 28 of his 30 wins coming by way of KO, including an 18 second knockout of Mark Hunt, fans can expect fireworks from the opening bell.
Following a crowd-silencing knockout of Italy’s Alessio Sakara in the headliner of Bellator 211: Sakara vs. Kauppinen in Genoa last year, Wiltshire’s Kent Kauppinen immediately made himself known to the rest of the light heavyweight division. Training out of Dragon’s Lair MMA, the 27-year-old rarely lets the fight go beyond the first round and will look for the same result when he goes toe-to-toe with Manhoef.
Meanwhile, Terry Brazier will make his second appearance for Bellator in London and the Windsor-based fighter will be hoping to bounce back following a close battle against Chris Bungard at Bellator Newcastle: Pitbull vs. Scope. Brazier, a former paratrooper, will look to find the form that led him to two world titles under the BAMMA promotion before signing for Bellator.
Standing in his way will be SBG fighter Peter Queally, who will be looking to get back in the win column following his narrow split-decision loss to Team Ryano’s Myles Price in the co-main event at Bellator Dublin: Gallagher vs. Graham.
Queally’s SBG team-mate Richard Kiely will also join the card at Bellator London when he faces Galore Bofando in what is set to be a month-watering welterweight showcase. Kiely walked away from his promotional debut at Bellator Dublin victorious following a first-round stoppage victory over Mickael Bucher. The Dublin-based fighter will be hoping to make it four KO/TKO wins in his professional career when he steps inside the Bellator cage in London.
His opponent on the night, Londoner Galore Bofando, makes his first appearance for Bellator in front of his home crowd. Bofando joins from the UFC and will be looking to get back to winning ways following a loss against Chad Laprise at UFC on Fox 26. With four of Bafando’s five victories coming via KO or TKO fans should expect one of the fighters to walk away with an early finish.
Following victories in his first two Bellator outings, London’s very own Walter Gahadza will be hoping to stretch his winning streak to three when he faces Carl “The Bomber” Booth in his hometown. “The Sniper” will make his second appearance in London under the Bellator promotion after making his debut last year at Bellator 200: Carvalho vs. Mousasi.
Bellator newcomer Carl Booth, who fights out of Nottingham, U.K., joins the promotion from BCF and will want to build on his victory over Dino Bagattin at Brave CF 19 in his last outing, where he won in the second round via knockout.
Fighting out of Koncept Gym in Newquay, Cornwall, Kate Jackson has quietly established herself as a contender in a crowded women’s flyweight division with wins over Colleen Schneider and most recently, Anastasia Yankova. A member of The Ultimate Fighter season 23, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt plans on taking the next step in becoming a world champion.
Across the cage will be former Muay Thai champion and MMA veteran, Lena Ovchynnikova. Splitting her wins and losses evenly inside the Bellator cage, the Ukrainian fighter has plans to build momentum against a very tough opponent. She will look to her experience as a kickboxer and karate fighter to upset Jackson on her home turf.
Finally, Nathan Rose will be looking to stretch his win streak to seven at Bellator London. Rose made his debut for the promotion at Bellator Newcastle where he walked away with an impressive first-round victory over Ranjeet Baria via first round KO. Rose, who fights out of Croydon, London, trains at Lions Pride gym alongside British MMA veteran Jimi Manuwa.
He will come up against fellow featherweight Luke Ord who will fight for the first time under the Bellator promotion in London. Ord comes into the bout following two successive victories in 2018 over Harry Hardwick and Nathan Thompson under the M4TC banner.
For further information visit Bellator.com
Updated Bellator London: Mousasi vs. Lovato Jr. Fight Card:
Middleweight World Title Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (45-6-2) vs. Rafael Lovato Jr. (9-0)
Welterweight Bout: Paul Daley (40-17-2) vs. Erick Silva (20-10, 1 NC)
140-lb. Catchweight Bout: James Gallagher (8-1) vs. Jeremiah Labiano (12-6)
Light Heavyweight Bout: Melvin Manhoef (30-14-1, 2 NC) vs. Kent Kauppinen (11-4)
160-lb. Catchweight Bout: Aaron Chalmers (4-1) vs. TBD
Women’s Flyweight Bout: Denise Kielholtz (2-2) vs. TBD
Lightweight Bout: Chris Bungard (14-4) vs. Charlie Leary (15-10-1)
Middleweight Bout: Mike Shipman (13-1) vs. Costello van Steenis (11-1)
Middleweight Bout: George Tokkos (4-0) vs. John Redmond (7-13)
Bantamweight Bout: Nathan Greyson (6-2) vs. Frans Mlambo (6-4)
Lightweight Bout: Terry Brazier (10-2) vs. Peter Queally (11-5-1)
Welterweight Bout: Galore Bofando (5-3) vs. Richard Kiely (3-1)
Welterweight Bout: Walter Gahadza (18-3) vs. Carl Booth (8-3)
Women’s Flyweight Bout: Kate Jackson (10-3-1) vs. Lena Ovchynnikova (12-5, 1 NC)
Featherweight Bout: Nathan Rose (6-1) vs. Luke Ord (7-2-1)