The British are invading this coming Friday, as Bellator MMA presents Bellator 134: The British Invasion at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., a stacked card pitting Bellator’s best of the best from either side of the pond against one another. It’s the first of Bellator’s “big events,” so-called quarterly tent poles that have been hyped by new CEO Scott Coker, and it looks like a card that will deliver.

That said, the Bellator 134 card hasn’t come together without its share of difficulties: an originally planned heavyweight rematch between TNA Wrestling champion Bobby Lashley and England’s James Thompson, one of only two men to beat Lashley in his pro career, was scratched when Lashley suffered an injury, and a planned welterweight title fight between England’s Paul Daley and Douglas Lima was nixed when Lima was hurt as well. An appearance by hot prospect Michael Page also had the damper put on it by the injury bug.

Despite this, Bellator 134 remains a card that should entertain. Names like Newton, King Mo, Kongo, Sokoudjou, and Daley makes this a stacked card by Bellator standards, allowing it to retain a big event feel in spite of the injuries. The card has both relevancy in a title fight between Emanual Newton and Liam McGeary, and a curiosity factor: how will King Mo fare going up in weight to fight Cheick Kongo at heavyweight? Add in the excitement of Daley’s striking, and the seemingly rejuvinated Sokoudjou, and you’re in for an exciting Friday night.

Lets take a look at all five main card bouts, and predictions to go with them!

Brennan Ward vs. Curtis Millender

NCAA Division III All-American Brennan Ward (9-3), a former Bellator middleweight title contender, opens the Bellator 134 card against Curtis Millender (7-0), and you’d be forgiven by wishing that Michael Page was still in this spot. The exciting and controversial Page, who has turned heads due to his show-boating in the cage and finishing ability, is an undefeated 7-0 in his young MMA career, while Brennan has suffered two straight losses, one to Alexander Shlemenko for the middleweight strap, the other to former UFC fighter Tamden McCrory, who took four years off from the sport before signing with Bellator and knocking out Ward in 21 seconds at Bellator 124 in September.

In short, you have the struggling Ward taking on the undefeated Curtis Millender here, and with the short-notice opponent change (Ward was already on the card), this is really anyone’s fight. Millender wasn’t given much of a shot against Page, as he has never fought for a major promotion, and Page is the next big thing in Bellator. Ward, however, is a different animal. He’s on a two-fight skid, and is potentially fighting for his job, plus making his welterweight debut at the event.

Still, experience goes a long way.

Prediction: Ward by TKO

“King” Mo Lawal vs. Cheick Kongo

Here we have the curiosity factor. “King” Mo Lawal (14–4 (1)) continues to look for a signature win in Bellator. Brought in as a big name signing after the demise of Strikeforce, Lawal was to be the face of the franchise in the promotion, or so it seemed for a while. Then he lost to Emanuel Newton, twice, and looked sluggish in his win over Mikhail Zayats. He would lose a close decision to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson as well, in the headliner of Bellator 120, the company’s only PPV outing to date — and it really seemed that, short of a rematch with Rampage, Lawal’s days as a decent draw were done.

However, a two-fight win streak with two TKO wins, albeit against lesser competition, has seen his stock rise slightly, and Lawal has made arguably the smartest move of his recent career by stepping up to shore up the Bellator 134 card in the wake of the cancellation of Lashley vs. Thompson. The card was practically screaming for a heavyweight bout, and in opting to go up against Kongo, it’s a win-win for King Mo. He has fought at heavyweight before, and has an excellent wrestling base in addition to knockout power. Were he to lose, there’d be no shame, as he went up in weight for the challenge on relatively short notice; should he win, he takes down an opponent in a higher weight class who still has considerably more name value than most Bellator fighters.

The stakes aren’t much worse for Cheick Kongo (22-9-2): like Mo, he originally wasn’t part of the British Invasion card. He’s stepping up, and fighting a guy in Mo who still has some name value to him. Like Mo, he’s on a two fight win streak, most recently having submitted Lavar Johnson.

Here’s the question: how big will the size difference between the two really be? Kongo tends to weigh in around the 235lb mark, and Lawal is by no means a small man. Beyond that, will Mo’s wrestling get the better of Kongo’s striking? Will Mo try and catch Kongo, who has been knocked out by Lawal’s buddy Roy Nelson before?

That’s where the curiosity factor really sets in. And the answer is that these two may be tentative to get going and cancel one-another’s strengths out.

Prediction: Cheick Kongo by Decision

Rameau Sokoudjou vs. Linton Vassell

On name value alone, it’s easy to count Linton Vassell (14–4 (1)) out in his fight against the man usually referred to as just Sokoudjou: after all, MMA fans are likely to be far less familiar with the English fighter than the man who shocked many back in Pride. Vassell, however, was on a nine-fight win streak before falling to Emanuel Newton in their light heavyweight title fight in October 2014, and up until being caught in a fight-ending rear-naked choke in the fifth round, Vassell was winning that bout.

As for Rameau Sokoudjou (16-12), he has won both his fights, finishing both (one submission, one TKO) since joining Bellator, and looks like he could finally be a consistent light heavyweight threat in a major promotion.

That said, give the edge in this one to Vassell, who really did look fantastic against Newton.

Prediction: Linton Vassell by Decision

Paul Daley vs. Andre Santos

Paul “Semtex” Daley (35–13–2) makes his Bellator MMA return Friday night, having sorted out the VISA issues stemming from an assault charge that saw him briefly dropped from the promotion. Granted an immediate title shot by Scott Coker, Daley saw that slip through his fingers as Douglas Lima had to withdraw from the bout with injury. Instead, Daley is paired up with… someone not Lima. With all due respect to opponent Andre Santos, he’s no Lima, and Daley was won six of his last seven, all by KO or TKO.

Santos (37–9) does boast an impressive record, and anyone with close to forty wins as a professional in MMA is legit, but he has made a career as something of a journeyman in the regionals, bouncing around, never staying in one promotion for long, and prior to his Bellator debut last October, where he won a unanimous decision, his biggest exposure was probably as part of Shooto Brazil, where he popped up from time to time.

Look for Daley to make this a short night.

Prediction: Daley via TKO

Emanuel Newton vs. Liam McGeary

The main event of the evening pits The Hardcore Kid, Emanuel Newton (25–7–1), against the undefeated Liam McGeary (9-0), who is coming off a slick inverted triangle choke submission win in his last bout against Kelly Anundson. This is a fight that Bellator MMA fans have wanted to see for a while: Newton is a slightly undersized light heavyweight with an awkward style and a ton of heart that keeps finding a way to win, while McGeary appears to be a legitimate threat in the division.

There is going to be a considerable size difference in this bout, with McGeary five inches taller and with a six inch reach advantage. Given the skillset he also possesses, will he be able to hand Newton his first loss since 2012, and take the title in the process?

We called it in our What to Watch For piece: this fight has Fight of the Night written all over it. And in this case, you may be watch the crowning of a new champion.

Prediction: McGeary by Submission

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.