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James Gallagher To Make Statement In Bantamweight Debut

August 15, 2018

Logan Storley speaks to the crowd in his Bellator post-fight interview

Logan Storley vs. AJ Matthews

Friday, August 17 – 10:00 pm (ET) /  2:00am (GMT)

Undefeated Bellator prospect, Logan Storley (8-0), will face arguably his toughest test to date when he meets A.J. Matthews in the co-main event at Bellator 204.

Now 25-years-old, Logan Storley is starting to shine as one of the most promising talents on Bellator’s roster. With his wrestling accolades, he is positioned to make a significant impact in the years to come, much like other successful wrestlers who transitioned to Bellator such as Aaron Pico and Ed Ruth.

Since joining Bellator in July 2017, Storley has since proved victorious in all three of his bouts. In his most recent two fights, Storley’s finishing ways were put to an end as he claimed unanimous decision victories over Joaquin Buckley and Matt Secor – his first-ever fights to last the distance.

At Bellator 204, we can be confident that Storley wants to score another finish and put an end to the streak of decisions.

A.J. Matthews will enter the cage on Friday night just after snapping a four-fight losing streak that included a 0-3 start to his return to Bellator. A split decision victory over Kendall Grove in January this year was enough to return to the win column after defeats to Andre Fialho, Hisaki Kato, and Ben Reiter.

Fight Breakdown

It’s hard to see A.J. Matthews offering anything that disrupts the usual flow of Logan Storley. Expect to see Storley’s usual intensity, forward movement, and hefty top pressure and ground and pound. There might be moments in which Storley experiments standing up for longer than usual. Don’t fear, though, because if the plan isn’t working out as intended, he and his excellent team of coaches ringside (including Robbie Lawler this weekend) will immediately call for a shift in strategy and take this fight to the mat.

Storley’s top pressure is suffocating and there’s a fair chance that Matthews doesn’t make it to the end of 15 minutes.

Logan Storley vs. AJ Matthews Odds

All throughout the main card, 888Sport are delivering fantastic odds on the betting favorites.

As expected, Logan Storley is a heavy favorite in this co-main event at Bellator 204.

He’s currently an 1.14 favorite with 888Sport, while the best odds for AJ Matthews are 7.75 with BetOnline.

Best Bet

Logan Storley to win 1.14 with 888Sport

James Gallagher celebrates another incredible victory in Bellator

James Gallagher vs. Ricky Bandejas

Friday, August 17 – 9:30 pm (ET) /  1:30am (GMT)

Speaking of rising talent in Bellator’s ranks, James Gallagher (7-0) might be one of the very best of them. The 21-year-old, who trains at Straight Blast Gym alongside Conor McGregor and under John Kavanagh, has made an immediate impact since joining Bellator in July 2017. He’s also the youngest of all eight competitors on Bellator 204’s main card.

Most recently, he scored a significant win against Chinzo Machida at Bellator NYC last year when he picked up an impressive rear-naked choke submission just 2:22 into the first round. That submission was his third consecutive rear-naked choke finish after he had executed the same technique to perfection against Kirill Medvedovski and Anthony Taylor in previous fights. And in fact, all but one of Gallagher’s victories have been via choke submission.

He’ll return to action after a ‘tough run’ of injuries and will compete in the bantamweight division for hte first ime in his career after this 419-day layoff.

Ricky Bandejas (10-1) had his hopes set on joining the UFC after becoming the champion of the Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) bantamweight division. A big win over Askar Askar in a scheduled bout earlier this year could have been enough to slingshot him into consideration, as well, but that fight never eventuated. Now, Bandejas gets a significant opportunity in Bellator as he gets set to enter the promotion for the first time and take on one of the hottest prospects around.

Bandejas will be stepping into this contest with confidence after winning five-straight contests. His last and only loss came against Nick Pace in 2015. Bandejas’ record also contains a major win over now-UFC highly-touted bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili. He’s no stranger to fierce competition and has regularly been training with the likes of Frankie Edgar, Marlon Moraes, Edson Barboza, and more.

Fight Breakdown

Now, of all underdogs at Bellator 204, I think that Ricky Bandejas has the biggest chance. The guy is talented, packs power in his punches and is relatively well-rounded.

But in saying that he has the biggest chance, it’s more reflective of how some of the other underdogs are up against all the odds. Bandejas is a worthy contender against James Gallagher, but I haven’t seen anything from Gallagher that makes me think he can be toppled by someone at this level, yet.

Of course, Gallagher will need to be careful of Bandejas’ raw stopping power in his hands – as he best displayed at CFFC 69 against Nick Mamalis when he whooped him with a left, right combination that stiffened him out.

For the most part, I don’t buy into the hype of Straight Blast Gym, either, and I don’t think their ‘game planning’ will play a major factor as others seem to suggest whenever an SBG member is competing. But I do think that Gallagher’s talents will be displayed here at Bellator 204. It will be a fierce battle for both fighters but expect Gallagher to come out on top.

James Gallagher vs. Ricky Bandejas Odds

The odds for this battle are a little tighter than many expected. This leads us to believe there is excellent value by betting on James Gallagher to get the job done against Bandejas at Bellator 204.

Right now, there’s a good offer at 888Sport, who have Gallagher at 1.60. And for the Bellator newcomer, Ricky Bandejas, you can bet on him over at BetOnline where he is 2.45 at the moment.

Best Bet

James Gallagher to win 1.60 at 888Sport

Tywan Claxton weighs in for his Bellator fight

Tywan Claxton vs. Cris Williams

Friday, August 17 – 9:00 pm (ET) /  1:00am (GMT)

To get the main card started, Tywan Claxton will battle with Cris Lencioni in a three-round featherweight bout.

After an impressive 7-0 amateur career, Tywan Claxton (2-0) joined Bellator and has since made his mark by finishing each of his two opponents. Claxton crushed Jonny Bonilla-Bowman with a flying knee just 1:29 into the first round at Bellator 186. Later, he then managed to defeat Jose Perez by ground and pound in the middle of round two at Bellator 194.

Claxton will be competing against Cris Lencioni (4-1), who has split wins and losses in his first two Bellator outings. Much like Claxton, Lencioni enjoyed an extensive amateur career and racked up eight victories – five of which by submission. In fact, only 2 of Lencioni’s 13 bouts in his amateur and professional career have lasted the distance.

Note: Cris Lencioni recently changed his name from Cris Williams to honour his grandpa.

Fight Breakdown

Claxton certainly doesn’t lack confidence. When he arrived in Bellator last year, he started calling out Aaron Pico to a fight and has attempted to secure that bout ever since. And that flying knee in his debut? Absolutely brutal. With his wrestling ability and a somewhat innovative approach on his feet, Claxton looks to be a dangerous contender in the division.

His creativity might cause problems for Lencioni, who has always looked a little unsure on the feet. His techniques aren’t great by any means, but he needs to bait someone into engaging with him on the ground. Against Thomas Lopez, Lencioni wrapped up a brilliant triangle choke and maintained the position for a very long time before eventually submitting Lopez in the first round.

We’ll take Claxton in this spot, but we shouldn’t be counting out a surprise submission win for Williams, either.

Tywan Claxton vs. Cris Williams Odds

For those looking to be on Tywan Claxton, the best odds available are currently -330 with BetOnline.

If you’re looking to back the underdog, Cris Lencioni, you’ll want to take the odds of +1.30 at 888Sport.

Best Bet

Tywan Claxton to win -330 with BetOnline

Betting Plays

Logan Storley to win 1.14 with 888Sport

James Gallagher to win 1.60 at 888Sport

Tywan Claxton to win -330 with BetOnline

  • Bellator 204
  • James Gallagher
  • Logan Storley

    About the author

    Jake Nichols
    Jake Nichols

    MMA Reporter

    Jake is a mixed martial arts reporter from Australia. At SBO.net, Jake uses his industry knowledge to uncover exceptional betting opportunities and share them with readers before the bookmakers can adjust their lines.