Friday, August 17 – 10:30 pm (ET) / 2:30am (GMT)
Sioux Falls, South Dakota, United States – Paramount Network
In the Bellator 204 main event, bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell (12-1)will make his move to the featherweight division to challenge Noad Lahat (12-3) in a non-title fight.
Darrion Caldwell will move up to featherweight and battle with Noad Lahat in this non-title main event at Bellator 204. Caldwell, the champion of Bellator’s bantamweight division, recently captured that title when he defeated Eduardo Dantas in October last year. Despite the significant difference in experience levels, Caldwell looked the more composed of the two at Bellator 184 and used his typical aggression and forward momentum to disrupt Dantas’ flow and outwork him for a unanimous decision victory.
The win also cemented Caldwell as a world-class mixed martial artist and one that could certainly make a splash in the UFC’s bantamweight division, if that’s any comparison. He’s now won three in a row since losing to Joe Taimanglo in July 2016, a defeat he later avenged. With his wrestling accolades and fearless approach inside Bellator’s cage, Caldwell could be sticking at the top of the bantamweight division for a very long time. Furthermore, this weekend represents the start of a new point in his career – a run at featherweight.
Noad Lahat is the man waiting to welcome Darrion Caldwell to the featherweight division. The 34-year-old is the most well-known Israeli fighter in any mixed martial arts promotion and is entering this fight after a fantastic main event performance against Jeremiah Labiano in front of his fans in Tel Aviv, Israel, last year.
Lahat, who is now 3-1 during his time with Bellator, previously competed in the UFC where he managed two wins and two losses in his four-fight stint. Known for his aggressive approach, much like Caldwell, this should make for a brilliant main event in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, this weekend.
Even after a gruelling weight cut, Darrion Caldwell starts all of his fights in attack mode. Rarely seen taking a step back, Caldwell pushes forward and attempts to utilize his wrestling techniques. If he is caught on the back foot, he’ll expertly wait for the right moment to shoot in for one of his lightning-fast takedowns. This is where Caldwell’s strengths lie – superior takedowns, excellent top pressure, and a decent submission game.
Interestingly enough, Caldwell will be matched against another fighter who likes to press the action; Noad Lahat prefers to work his opponent into the cage where he can initiate a clinch. Known for outworking his opposition, much like he did to Jeremiah Labiano over three rounds, Lahat is effective from top position and can launch a vicious barrage of ground and pound when required. Mostly, though, Lahat just controls the fight by dictating the location and pace of the action.
Could that mean trouble against the bantamweight champion?
Lahat’s style should be a walk in the park for Caldwell at Bellator 204, and I’d be mightily surprised if Lahat can outclass him in any area of this contest. Caldwell is too powerful, too fast, too smart and should be able to finish this one inside the distance.
Darrion Caldwell was released as a massive betting favorite over Noad Lahat for this main event.
Currently, the best odds for Caldwell are -525 at BetOnline. Alternatively, Noad Lahat is sitting as a +410 underdog.
Bet: Darrion Caldwell to win -525 at BetOnline
Prediction: Darrion Caldwell to win inside the distance