BELLATOR WILL RETURN to these shores next month for an event which will offer a veteran of Irish MMA a chance to take the biggest scalp of his career.
Straight Blast Gym’s Chris Fields (11-7-1) has been scheduled to take on Liam McGeary (11-1) in the main event at Bellator 173 at the SSE Arena in Belfast on Friday, 24 February. The news was broken to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto by Bellator president Scott Coker.
Bellator’s second event in Ireland will be another co-promotion with British organisation BAMMA. A similar event took place at Dublin’s 3Arena on 16 December. The BAMMA portion of next month’s Belfast bill will be headlined by a lightweight title bout between former UFC pair Norman Parke and Paul Redmond.
After a frustrating 2016, Fields will be hoping for better fortune this year as the 33-year-old gets set for what he has termed “the biggest fight of my career” in just over six weeks’ time.
Fields submitted Dan Konecke in February 2016 at BAMMA 24, but the former Cage Warriors middleweight champion and Ultimate Fighter participant hasn’t fought since.
Scheduled bouts against Paul Craig and Andy Clamp in September and December respectively fell through due to late withdrawals by both of his opponents, so Fields will be fighting for the first time in a year when he faces McGeary.
A 34-year-old Englishman who fights out of New York, McGeary was undefeated until this past November when he relinquished his Bellator light-heavyweight title following a unanimous-decision loss to UFC veteran Phil Davis.
McGeary was crowned champion in February 2015 after overcoming Emanuel Newton. He went on to make one successful defence of the belt — a first-round submission of UFC Hall of Famer and former champion Tito Ortiz.
According to ESPN’s report, Bellator 173 will also feature SBG’s rising featherweight prospect James Gallagher, who took his unblemished ledger to 5-0 in Dublin last month by submitting Anthony Taylor. An opponent for the 20-year-old Strabane native has yet to be finalised.