Bellator MMA announced in a press release that James Gallagher will headline Bellator 218 in Dublin, Ireland on Feb. 23.
Gallagher (7-1) will look to bounce back from the first loss of his career as he’s set to face Steven Graham in a bantamweight bout. The 22-year-old is coming off a first-round TKO loss to former CFFC champion Ricky Bandejas at Bellator 204 in August. Losing for the first time in his career was especially tough for Gallagher who had engaged in a lot of trash talk leading up until the bout. The highlight reel head kick made it’s way on SportsCenter and did big numbers on social media.
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The setback snapped Gallagher’s seven-fight win streak. The Irishman has finished six of his eight career opponents, including five first round finishes. The SBG Ireland standout holds wins over Kirill Medvedovski, Chinzo Machida and Team Body Shop product Anthony Taylor. The last time Gallagher fought in Ireland was at Bellator 173 in Belfast, but this will be his first trip back to Dublin since Dec. 2016 where he competed at Bellator 169. Gallagher has never lost back-to-back fights in his career. He’s currently 4-1 under the Bellator MMA banner.
Graham (6-3) will be making his promotional debut and is riding a five-fight win streak. The 27-year-old went 6-2 as an amateur, including a win over Bellator veteran Chuka Willis for KC Fighting Alliance in May 2013. Graham made his professional debut in Nov. 2014, earning a first-round submission win over Lonnie Tull Jr. at Blackout FC 26. The Kansas City native had a shaky start to his career going 1-3, however he’s remained undefeated since that slump. Graham is a product of American Top Team HD where he trains under PFL and UFC veteran Jason High.
James Gallagher is only the second opponent Graham has faced with a winning record. Of Graham’s nine career fights, his opponents have a combined 24-52 record.
How do you think James Gallagher will perform in this return to action?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/10/2018.