October is a historic month for mixed martial arts in France, as the first sanctioned event in the nation’s history is set to take place on Thursday the 8th; a Grand Prix promoted by MTGP. Accompanying this regional show will be Bellator, the first major organization looking to make waves in this territory of Europe.
To commemorate their first dealings in France, Bellator has put together a double-header event featuring some of their more prominent European talent, including two very intriguing debutants poised to make noise within their respective divisions. Regardless of each individual outcome, the situation remains a win-win for both promotion and country.
Each card, titled Euro Series 9 and Bellator 248, will air on multiple streaming channels and platforms across the globe – for this article, we will be looking into the latter.
Bellator 248 Fight Card
Main Card (11:30 a.m ET on CBS Sports Network)
- Michael Page (17-1) vs. Ross Houston (8-0-1)
- Oliver Enkamp (9-2) vs. Emmanuel Dawa (9-3)
- Ryan Scope (11-3) vs. Alan Omer (23-5)
- Mads Burnell (13-3) vs. Darko Banovic (17-7)
Bellator 248 will not feature a preliminary card, as it is the first of two events scheduled for October 10. The second show, titled Euro Series 9, is packed with both a preliminary and main card.
Bellator 248 Preview
Michael Page vs. Ross Houston
Bellator’s welterweight division is on the rise, with notable names such as Paul Daley, Neiman Gracie and champion Douglas Lima all taking their positions in the ranks. Joining this list of popular names is Michael “Venom” Page, the promotions very own social media star. Page has made a name off beating C-level, and sometimes D-level competition, hence the fan given moniker of “can crusher.” Despite this, the multiple-time Kickboxing world champion has a victory over the credible Paul Daley, by far his best career win to date.
On October 10, “Venom” meets the debuting Ross Houston, a former Cage Warriors champion with experience parallel to none on the regional circuit. Houston is seeking to make an immediate impact in the Bellator cage, and with a victory on Saturday, his perfect professional record will remain intact.
In order to claim his first major win Houston will need to apply pressure on his scheduled counterpart, not allowing him any time or space to find comfort at kicking range. Page performs best while tagging his opponent from the outside, after all. While having success in the pocket seems limited, ” The Hitman” should be able to land some clean strikes and work his way into the clinch, where opportunities for takedowns will present themselves; three submissions may not look appealing on paper, but Houston is more versed on the mat than many give him credit for.
Chances are if you’re reading this preview, you likely know of Michael Page and the skills he possesses. In the majority of bouts so far, he has shown a willingness to control the center of the cage, using his lengthy frame to (sometimes) counter and keep the opposition on the backfoot. A win for Page won’t drastically impact his location in the rankings, however it is a must – losing to a debut fighter, no matter how terrific, won’t look good in the eyes of regular fans and the company’s brass.
Mads Burnell vs. Darko Banovic
When news surfaced in 2018 that the UFC had released featherweight Mads Burnell, many were left perplexed and instantly demanded an answer. Even with a promotional record of 1-2 the young featherweight was tagged a prospect by many, giving a decent showing of himself in losses to Michael Prazeres and Arnold Allen.
Following four dominant displays in Cage Warriors (topped off by a world title win), Burnell signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator, further strengthening their European roster. Within days his first bout was announced: a three-round battle with Darko Banovic, an aggressive Bosnian searching for his 18th pro triumph.
Darko recently spoke to The Scrap about his upcoming fight and had this to say about it.
“I watched his last fight almost eight months [ago], so I imagined our fight a long time [ago].”
“He was in the UFC, he was a Cage Warrior’s champion, he’s a black belt” he stated, “I’m really glad to fight this guy.”
Burnell is undoubtedly expected to run through Banovic come Saturday night, and the chances of that happening are extremely high. This writer anticipates Burnell to score a takedown and work his way into a submission, with the finishing maneuver likely being a rear-naked choke or Japanese necktie.
Regardless of outcomes, this weekend is set to a be a historic one for French MMA.