(Dave Mandel/Sherdog)Bellator 144: What to Watch For RJ Gardner October 19, 2015 Bellator, Bellator Events, Events, Previews, Promotions, Spotlight Bellator MMA has quietly become a true competitor to the UFC’s dominance of the MMA marketplace. Between creative matchmaking, solid talent development and strong free agent signings, Bellator – under the leadership of Scott Coker – looks primed and ready to gain even more ground on the competition moving forward. Bellator may not have the overall depth at this point, but their talent at the top is as good as any other organization in the world. Bellator might put together questionable main events from time to time, but the thinking behind their actions is sound; give the casual fans an attraction that will draw them in while showcasing your true talent on the remainder of the card. When Bellator heads to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., on Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, for Bellator 144: Halsey vs. Carvalho, fans will be treated to a night of fights featuring some of the organization’s best young talent as well as a few intriguing veteran matchups. Featherweight Prospect Showdown One of the most intriguing fights on the card is the featherweight prospect showdown between Goiti Yamauchi and Isao Kobayashi. Both fighters will enter the cage with 18 career wins, but that’s where the similarities between the two stop. Kobayashi is a grinder with some pop in his hands while Yamauchi is a rear naked choke machine with 10 career wins by that technique. Michael Page As one of the most dynamic and exciting prospects in MMA today, Michael Page is a fighter fans need to tune in and watch first hand. The young Englishman is a world champion freestyle kickboxer and his unorthodox striking has become a serious weapon in the confines of MMA competition. Undefeated as a pro at 8-0 with seven wins by stoppage, Page is always fun to watch. Brandon Halsey vs. Rafael Carvalho In the main event of the evening, former Bellator middleweight champion Brandon Halsey takes on surging striker Rafael Carvalho. Since being stripped of his title prior to his last victory for missing weight, Halsey’s motivation has been at an all-time high. Undefeated and disgruntled by the situation, Halsey will be looking for a statement victory. Carvalho on the other hand is coming into this bout on the heels of his most impressive career victory; a close split decision against striker extraordinaire Joe Schilling. Since coming up short in his pro debut, Carvalho has won 11 fights in a row; nine by way of knockout. Halsey and Carvalho are two of the best middleweights Bellator has to offer and this is going to be a great bout. Both fighters are coming in hungry and confident and both are looking to send a message.