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Bellator 191: McDonald vs. Ligier fight card preview

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Check out tonight’s Bellator 191 card from Newcastle, England, where Michael McDonald makes his promotional debut against Peter Ligier in the main event.

Viacom’s brand of MMA bounces across the pond once again, as Bellator 191 is set to transpire tonight in Newcastle, England. At the top of the billing fans will witness the promotional debut of top tier bantamweight Michael McDonald, who locks horns with fellow Bellator newcomer Peter Ligier. Another notable name making her Bellator debut is women’s MMA veteran Valerie Letourneau, facing off against Kate Jackson in the flyweight co-main event.

Also on the card, two English heavyweights will wage war. “The Colossus” James Thompson is slated to scrap with UFC veteran Philip De Fries. Bellator 191 can be seen tonight, on Spike TV at 9:00 P.M. ET (Tape Delay).

Main Card: Spike TV

Michael McDonald (17-4 MMA; Bellator debut) vs. Peter Ligier (8-1-1 MMA; Bellator debut): Bantamweight

Speed kills, and that is the exact commodity possessed by Bellator’s top bantamweight acquisition Michael McDonald. McDonald amassed a 6-3 record over in the UFC, and even made it to a world title fight, falling short to then-champion Renan Barao at UFC on Fuel TV 7 back in February of 2013. Having been involved in seven straight finishes, for better or worse, McDonald is must-see TV and has only gone to a decision twice in his 21-fight career.

Consistency has plagued the 26-year-old fighter, however, as he has alternated wins and losses in his previous 6 fights. His last outing was against John Lineker back in July of 2016, so McDonald will be returning from a bit of a layoff, which is nothing new for him as he took off all of 2014 and 2015. Will McDonald show up to Bellator as the same elite bantamweight that fans have all come to know? Will he be worse? Will he be even better than before?

Peter Ligier is also making his promotional debut at Bellator 191, and he’ll facing the highest caliber opponent of his ten-fight career. Although he is older than McDonald, the 31 year old Ligier has only been fighting since 2013 – right around the time McDonald was competing for a world title. So, the experience edge is not exactly in his favor.

Ligier has shown some diversity, winning two of his bouts by KO, three of them by submission, and the other three by unanimous decision. There are two big advantages at play for Ligier, with the 1st being his recent activity – already having fought twice in 2017. And the 2nd being the lack of high, fight-related mileage, when compared to McDonald. Will that be enough though?

Valerie Letourneau (8-6 MMA; Bellator debut) vs. Kate Jackson (9-2-1 MMA; 1-0 Bellator): (W) Flyweight

Bellator newcomer Valerie Letourneau has been fighting professionally for over a decade, racking up an 8-6 record dating back to March of 2007. She most recently put up a 3-3 run inside of the UFC. Having already fought the likes of Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Claudia Gadelha, and Joanne Calderwood, there really isn’t much that Letourneau hasn’t seen. On the downside, Letourneau has fallen short in her past three outings, and had to withdraw from her Bellator 181 bout with Emily Ducote due to injury. Letourneau is really hoping to get things moving in a positive direction, but she must get passed Kate Jackson to do so.

Kate Jackson made her promotional debut at Bellator 182 this past August, with a 1st round TKO of Colleen Schneider. TUF 23 aside, Jackson has not tasted defeat since her match with JJ back in May of 2013. Letourneau isn’t the only one coming into this fight with some experience, as Jackson has also fought top competition, like Jedrzejczyk and Tatiana Suarez. Jackson is a proven finisher, and of her nine wins, six took place inside the distance – with five by knockout and one by submission. Fresh off of back-to-back TKO victories this year, can Jackson pick up the hat trick to close out a perfect 2017?

James Thompson (20-16 MMA; 1-1 Bellator) vs. Phil De Fries (13-6 MMA; Bellator debut): Heavyweight

The last time we saw James Thompson in the Bellator cage, he suffered a 1st round TKO loss to Bobby Lashley in November of 2015. “The Colossus” followed up that disappointing performance with a somehow worse showing, losing by 2nd round TKO to a 45 year old Tsuyoshi Kosaka at RIZIN World Grand Prix 2015: Day 1. It’s been two years since we’ve seen Thompson in a professional fight, and that’s probably a good thing – seeing as how he’s been KO’d thirteen times in his MMA career, and those were just the times he was stopped. Thompson has racked up years and years worth of wear and tear dating all of the way back to 2003. You can’t help but feel for his and wish him the best. Cheers!

Phil De Fries has yet to win back to back fights since leaving England’s regional circuit, and looks to change all of that tonight with a new start in a new promotion. De Fries moved into the UFC on an eight-fight unbeaten streak, put up a 2-3 record with the promotion, and then went on to alternate wins and losses that account for his current 13-6 record. His specialty seems to be his subs – chokes in particular – as ten of his thirteen wins came via tap.

Of those ten subs, eight of them have come by way of rear-naked choke, so there’s a great chance that De Fries wants to get the fight to the ground. Not to rain on his parade, but it should be noted that Thompson has only been submitted twice in his professional career. Another reason De Fries might want to take the fight to the mat could be the fact that he’s been KO’d in 5 of his 6 losses. This could be a battle for the worst chin at heavyweight, with the loser of the fight being the winner of the title.

Jeremy Petley (11-8-1 MMA; 1-0 Bellator) vs. Lewis Monarch (9-2 MMA; Bellator debut): Lightweight

Lewis Monarch has terrorized England’s regional circuit, finishing all nine of his wins in the 1st round, earning five KO’s and four submissions. With many different avenues to victory, look for Monarch to try and impress the crowd in his promotional debut.

Jeremy Petley was born in Canada but fights out of England, and was last spotted at Bellator 179 back in May, picking up a unanimous decision over Chase Morton. The win in his Bellator debut snapped a 4-fight losing skid for Petley, but will he keep the momentum rolling?


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