Even though this coming weekend is a rare week off from the UFC and its famous Octagon, MMA fans need not worry. There’s still plenty of action to go around, and it all starts on Friday afternoon (US time) from Dublin, Ireland with Bellator 285!
Bellator MMA returns this week for the first of two consecutive weekends of action as the promotion begins to wind down its 2022 itinerary of events. Next week, Bellator returns to the United States when Long Beach, CA plays host to the anticipated Bellator 286 (Oct. 1, 10 pm ET/ 7 pm PT on Showtime).
At present, the scheduled main event of Bellator 286 will feature a battle for the promotion"s featherweight championship when incumbent titleholder Patricio Pitbull (Freire) (33-5 MMA, 19-5 Bellator) puts his strap at risk against No. 2 contender Adam Borics (18-1 MMA, 9-1 Bellator) in a five-round fight at five minutes per round. More on that fight next week.
Henderson and Queally Meet on Friday in Bellator 285 Main Event
This week"s Bellator 285 originates from Dublin"s 3Arena (Friday, 4 pm ET/ 1 pm PT on Showtime following prelims at 1 pm ET/ 10 am PT on YouTube.) All told, the card features a full slate of 13 bouts, highlighted by a lightweight tussle in the Bellator 285 main event of the evening.
No. 3 contender Benson Henderson (29-11 MMA, 6-6 Bellator) will do battle with No. 7 contender Peter Queally (13-6-1 MMA, 2-2 Bellator) in the main event on Friday. As with all headliners in Bellator MMA, this contest will be an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the show.
Bellator 285 Main Event Fighter Comparison
Entering Friday"s Bellator 285 main event, Peter Queally stands as the taller man at 5-foot-10, compared to the 5-foot-9 frame of Benson Henderson. Additionally, Queally owns a 4 1/2-inch reach advantage (74 1/2 inches to 70 inches even) over Henderson ahead of the fight.
Benson Henderson in Career Twilight
Benson Henderson comes into the Bellator 285 main event having posted a record of 2-3 in his last five bouts. Most recently, he saw a three-fight losing streak snapped thanks to a split decision against Islam Mamedov (21-2-1 MMA, 2-1 Bellator), most recently with Eagle FC, on the night of Jan. 29 in Bellator 273.
Mamedov is slated to return to the Bellator MMA cage one week from Saturday night against Nick Browne (13-1 MMA, 2-0 Bellator) during Bellator 286 in Long Beach on the YouTube undercard.
However, Father Time appears to have caught up with Benson Henderson of late. Prior to the three-fight losing streak stopped at the beginning of the year, he"d won four fights in succession dating back to April of 2018 versus Roger Huerta in Bellator 196"s main event (second-round submission due to a rear-naked choke).
Henderson will turn 39 years of age just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday inside the United States in November, so it"s safe to say that the former UFC Lightweight Champion is in the twilight of his career. Although his reign as lightweight champion in the UFC happened a decade ago, Henderson has found himself in the mix for the 155-lb. strap in Bellator in 2022.
Given the fact that the Bellator 285 main event figures to be part of Henderson"s last ride, could he grab his second win in succession and possibly get a bid at the championship against Patricky Pitbull (Freire) (24-10 MMA, 14-8 Bellator) in a future fight?
A victory on Friday in Dublin will be the next step in the right direction for that goal. Tune in and find out if Henderson can take that next step.
Peter Queally Ready to Go on Friday
In the other corner, Peter Queally has posted a record of 3-2 in his last five MMA appearances, but he"s coming off of a 10 1/2-month layoff to make his appearance in the Bellator 285 main event on Friday. Back in November of last year, he sustained a second-round knockout defeat (punches) in a rematch versus Patricky Pitbull during the Bellator 270 main event.
Prior to that fight, Queally scored a second-round TKO in May of 2021 against Pitbull, who could not continue in the fight upon sustaining a cut on his eye in Bellator 258.
A major storyline for the Bellator 285 main event, as well as a major advantage for Peter Queally"s camp heading into it, is the fact that he will be fighting in front of his hometown fans and fellow countrymen. Queally also bases his training camps out of Dublin, so one would figure that he has everything going right for him.
Recently, Queally talked to Jason Cruz about having that hometown advantage.
“If I fought all around the world, and it"s never an advantage to travel, in my opinion, it"s nice to be in your hometown," Queally began. “You sleep in your own bed. I travel 15 minutes to the arena to get there. All these things can help you. Obviously, I"ve got a big crowd behind me. Everyone knows this, and this can help you, too. Every time I touch my opponent, they"re going to cheer. Every time he touches me, there will be no sound."
One final question remains for Peter Queally going into the Bellator 285 main event: Can he feed off the energy his countrymen will give him? Only time will tell.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the Bellator 285 main event on Friday looks to favor Benson Henderson, who holds black belts in both taekwondo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Comparatively, Peter Queally owns a blue belt in BJJ.
Benson Henderson Can"t Afford To Absorb Punches in Bunches
Although Benson Henderson has been known to go the distance in most of his fights, one problem that"s shown up on video is the fact that he"s also been known to take too many punches. His 2020 contest against Michael Chandler in the latter"s final Bellator MMA appearance is an example of that.
At the start of the fight, Henderson landed a kick before Chandler responded with one of his own. While Henderson managed to stick to his gameplan, Chandler was able to score with right-handed punches , and the fighters were able to go strike for strike with one another.
Chandler landed a vicious kick about two minutes into the opening round to wobble Henderson, following it up with a punch to the head and a short flurry of ground and pound shots before referee Dan Miragliotta pulled Chandler away.
As long as Benson Henderson does not take excess damage in the Bellator 285 main event, he"s got a good chance at coming away with the win.
Peter Queally Can Battle Back To Win
In the other corner, do not, under any circumstance, count out Peter Queally in a fight. He"s been known to battle back when the odds are stacked against him, as was the case versus Ryan Scope back in 2019.
Although Scope was able to knock Queally down thanks to a kick to the head and almost had him on the losing end of a submission, he was able to reverse position and take top mount before rising to his feet. From there, Queally teed off against Scope with a barrage of punches, causing him to fold like an accordion.
If Peter Queally finds himself down on the scorecards in the Bellator 285 main event as it reaches its later stages, look for him to reach into his bag of tricks. It may be what he needs to take the victory in his hometown.
Even though there"s no UFC on the schedule this coming weekend, there are still some appetizing fights headed your way. Friday"s Bellator 285 main event certainly fits the bill. Before we leave, one final piece of advice:
If you can, try and sneak out of work just a little early on Friday so you can get home in time to watch the fight. Chances are that you"re not going to want to miss a second of this one.
Prediction: Benson Henderson by Unanimous Decision.
What are your predictions? Let us know in the comments below!
Main image credit Embed from Getty Images