08 Feb - 
5 reasons to watch Bellator Newcastle: Title implications, former champs throughout card

Bellator launches its European series on Saturday with an event in Newcastle, England.

The series was announced in mid-2018. Bellator President Scott Coker explained the idea behind the events to MMAjunkie at the time.

“It’s really to look for the next fighter, and these guys need more fights,” Coker said following Bellator 200. “So we’re going to provide more fights, and it will be like almost a Western Europe circuit. It’s something we can provide the local fan base a live experience with local talent, and not come here once or twice a year like we’ve been coming.”

In the main event, longtime Bellator competitor Patricky Freire continues his quest to get a second shot at the lightweight title when he faces former BAMMA 155-pound champion Ryan Scope, who makes his Bellator debut.

In the co-headlining bout, former reality TV star Aaron Chalmers looks to add another win to his perfect record and maybe silence more of his doubters in the process. Chalmers takes a step up in competition when he faces Corey Browning in a lightweight contest.

Outside of those two fights, the event features former champions from BAMMA and Cage Warriors, as well as some former UFC competitors.

Bellator Europe 1 takes place at Metro Radio Arena. The event streams on Bellator’s app.

Here are five reasons to watch the event.

1. With an eye on the champ

In September, Freire stopped Roger Huerta early in the second round of their Bellator 205 matchup. The knockout was Freire’s 10th under the Bellator banner. No one has more knockout wins in Bellator history. The victory extended Freire’s winning streak to four straight since Michael Chandler knocked him out in their 2016 battle for the vacant Bellator lightweight title.

After he put away Huerta, Freire made his case for a shot at the 155-pound title, which was then held by Brent Primus.

“Who is better? Who is the champion? I want to beat the champion,” Freire told MMAjunkie after that win. “I wait to beat the champion and take my belt. He’s the best because he is the champion. I am ready. I’m the No. 1 contender.”

That fight didn’t happen. Instead, it was Chandler who got the shot at Primus. Chandler won that bout by unanimous decision. With the victory, Chandler began his third run as lightweight champ.

If Freire wants to get another shot at Chandler, who also beat him by decision in 2011, he’ll need to do something very special in Newcastle, because it seems as if Bellator President Scott Coker might be leaning toward matching up Freire’s brother, Patricio, who is the promotion’s featherweight champion against Chandler.

As for Scope 12-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), this bout represents a tremendous opportunity. A win over someone like Freire (20-8 MMA, 13-7 BMMA), who has been with Bellator since 2011, would be career-changing.