Some of the leading Israeli fighters in the world will step into the Bellator cage this weekend when the promotion heads to Tel Aviv, Israel for Bellator 188.
A Bellator Featherweight Championship bout between Patricio Freire and Daniel Weichel was the original headliner for this event. However, “Pitbull” Freire withdrew from the event on November 12 due to “multiple injuries.” Now, the event will see Jeremiah Labiano and Noad Lahat go at each other in the main event of the evening.
Noad Lahat (11-3), a local Israeli favorite, will fit straight into the headlining role after managing a 2-1 record in his three fights within Bellator so far. Prior to Bellator, Lahat had a stint in the UFC in which he scored two wins and two losses. His opponent, Jeremiah Labiano (11-5), is also 2-1 during his time with Bellator. After picking up wins against Vince Murdock and Stephen Cervantes, Labiano was scheduled to battle rising star James Gallagher at Bellator 187. However, the contest didn’t eventuate and now Labiano finds himself battling Lahat in Israel.
John Salter (14-3) and Jason Radcliffe (12-4) will do battle in the co-main event at Bellator 188. Salter and Radcliffe are experiencing different trajectories with Salter entering the fight with six consecutive victories and Radcliffe suffering two-straight defeats. Salter, at the age of 32, has managed to rejuvenate his career after joining Bellator in 2015 and he has now finished all of his last six opponents in either the first or second round. This will be Radcliffe’s fifth consecutive bout in a different promotion. He has also managed to fight for a championship in three of his last four contests. He defeated Wilfried Edmund to win the Contender Norwich title before losing to Oskar Piechota and Shane Mitchell.
In what should be an exciting female flyweight bout, Denise Kieholtz (0-1) will compete against Jessica Middleton (2-2). Kieholtz recently featured in a Bellator Kickboxing match in 2016 against Gloria Peritore and lost a split decision. This will be her first MMA competition for the promotion. Middleton’s career has hit a roadblock after running into top women’s flyweights Ilima-Lei Macfarlane and Emily Ducote consecutively. Essentially, Middleton now finds herself just underneath the quality required to stand in there with the champion.
Also on the main card is Israeli Haim Gozali (7-4) who is up against Arsen Faitovich (4-1). Gozali joined Bellator in November 2016 after a four-year layoff and has since gone 1-1 in his time with the organization. 24-year-old Faitovich, who fights out of Ukraine, will make his Bellator debut after fighting in local organizations in Ukraine through his five-fight career. He’s finished all four of his wins before the third round.
Predictions and Best Bets
Jeremiah Labiano vs. Noad Lahat
Jeremiah Labiano is a talented black-belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu who is looking to make a statement after missing out on an opportunity to fight James Gallagher last weekend. Labiano is exceptional on the mat but has some room for improvement in the stand-up game. He certainly packs power in his hands, but he needs to find a way to land his strikes consistently in order to set up his takedowns.
Labiano might not have to worry about his striking defense too much against Noad Lahat, however. Lahat is also a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt with excellent grappling ability thanks to his second-degree black belt in Judo.
What’s concerning about Lahat going into this contest is how he faded significantly after the first round with Henry Corrales at Bellator 182. After an impressive start, he slowed down enough to let Corrales take over and win the contest via decision. Despite a small spark of renewed energy in round three, that lasted for just under a minute, his explosiveness and athleticism faded so much that he wasn’t able to win the grappling or standing exchanges.
Prediction: Jeremiah Labiano by submission – Round 2
Bet: Jeremiah Labiano to win
Odds: +373 ($4.73, 373/100)
Bellator 188 fight card and start time
Bellator 188 starts on Thursday, November 16 at 10:30am ET (2:30pm GMT), but will air on Spike the following day (Friday, November 17) at 9:00pm ET (1:00am GMT).
Spike TV – Friday, November 17 (9:00pm ET / 1:00am GMT)
- Jeremiah Labiano vs. Noad Lahat
- John Salter vs. Jason Radcliffe
- Denise Kieholtz vs. Jessica Middleton
- Haim Gozali vs. Arsen Faitovich
- Kirill Medvedovski vs. Luiz Rocha
Spike.com – Friday, November 17 (7:00pm ET / 11:00pm GMT)
- Shimon Gosh vs. Francisco Silva
- Olga Rubin vs. Joana Magalhaes
- Oron Kahlon vs. Julian Maloku
- Alex Nikulin vs. Rami Abuhav
- Almog Shay vs. Anthony Mor
- Alex Trofimov vs. David Abisror
- Netanel Parisi vs. Or Eliov
- Adam Keresh vs. Roma Kushnir
- Ivan Solomatov vs. Moshiko Ben Shimol
- Raz Bring vs. Nadeem Kablan
- Matan Levi vs. Erik Sianov
- Assaf Batan vs. Mor Atias