Bellator 293 is set to go down this Friday night (March 31, 2023) inside Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California airing live on Showtime. Headlining the event will be a hard-hitting Heavyweight affair as former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) big man, Marcelo Golm, battles up-and-coming contender, Daniel James. In the co-main event, Leah McCourt will take on Cat Zingano to see who earned the right to face Cris Cyborg for the womenís Featherweight strap.

Marcelo Golm vs. Daniel James
Golm didnít exactly have the career he had imagined when he signed with UFC in Oct. 2017. Sure, he started things off great with a with a first-round submission win over Christian Colombo, but he then went on to lose three straight which lead to his parting of ways with the promotion. After picking up two wins on the regional circuit, the Brazilian bomber inked a contract with Bellator and earned back-to-back stoppage wins over Billy Swanson and Davion Franklin, good enough to earn him the No. 6 spot on the official rankings. Now, Golm is eying his third straight win and a spot in the Top 5, which will undoubtedly get him closer to the championship conversation. But standing in his way is a hard-hitting big man who isnít wasting any time making his presence felt with the promotion. Making his debut at Bellator 288, James (No. 7) pulled off a big upset by knocking out Tyrell Fortune in round two, extending his win streak to four in a row, all stoppages. In fact, out of 14 wins, James has 10 knockouts and three submission to his credit. If he can take Golm out in impressive fashion, it will be him inching closer to the Top 5. Golm has knockout power, as well, but trading strike-for-strike against James may not be the best course of action here. For Golm, softening up his foe before taking it to the ground for a submission win will be the key to victory.
Final prediction: Golm via third-round submission


Cat Zingano vs. Leah McCourt
Itís been close to a year since we last saw Cyborg defend her title inside the Bellator cage, defeating Arlene Blencowe for a second time at Bellator 279 in April 2022. One of the big reasons she has been idle is because a clear-cut No. 1 contender hasnít surfaced to peak her interest. But that will all change soon because the winner of Zingano (No.1) vs McCourt (No. 4) should get the next title fight. Zingano was in talks to face Cyborg but that fight never came to be. Nevertheless, with three straight wins to kick off her Bellator career, Zingano is in prime position to get her long-desired title shot. McCourt, on the other hand, is 6-1 under the Bellator banner and is coming off a win over Dayana Silva six months ago at Bellator 285. But this will be one of her toughest tests to date because Zingano is as experienced as they come, facing the bet UFC has to offer ó including a title fight against Ronda Rousey ó for five years. Zingano has the striking advantage here but we canít sleep on McCourt, who showed heart in her tough loss to Sinead Kavanagh. Unfortunately she will need a lot more that that to get thought the longtime veteran, who is determined to reach the big dance.
Final prediction: Zingano via unanimous decision


John Salter vs. Aaron Jeffery
Salter hasnít had the best run over the last few years. After losing to former Middleweight champion, Gegard Mousasi, in Aug. 2021 in a 185-pound title fight, he then went on to lose to current champion ó Johnny Eblen ó seven months later, giving him his first-two fight losing streak of his career. Now, he will try to avoid a third straight defeat when he takes on rising star Aaron Jeffery, who has impressed the masses in his first two fights with the promotion. After stopping Fabio Aguiar via strikes, he went on to defeat Austin Vanderford two months later, also via technical knockout (TKO), putting him at 7-1 over his last eight fights, with his lone loss coming to Caio Borralho on the Contender Series. A win for either man wonít get them a title shot because Jeffery is slowly trying to chip away and get closer to the Top 5, while Salter is simply trying to dig himself out of a hole. Unfortunately, itís going to get a bit worse before it gets better for Salter because Jeffery is firing on all cylinders at the moment and is on the cusp of breaking through. Itís his time, and while Salter does have the chops to make it a competitive fight, I just donít see it working out for him a third straight time.
Final prediction: Jeffery via unanimous decision


Sullivan Cauley vs. Luke Trainer
The main card will kick off with a banger of a fight between two rising Light Heavyweight contenders as Cauley and Trainer will battle in what a bout that could very well steal the show and set the tone. Bellator prides itself in home-grown talent, and Cauley is just that, staring his pro career with the Viacom-owned promotion, winning his first five fights...all five first-round knockout. And thatís just what you get from Cauley, all action with no rest, which isnít good for his opponents, obviously. Hereís the kicker: All of Trainer's wins have come via stoppage, as well, so something has got to give. But what that means is that this fight has the potential to end early, or, believe it or not, can lead to a drawn out chess match ala Derrick Lewis vs. Francis Ngannou. While I donít expect it to be that type of bore-fest, I do anticipate a feeling out process from both men. And itís understandable because each respect the otherís power and know what he brings to the table. We can expect a lot of action on the feet but donít be too surprised if Cauley reverts to his wrestling to get the job done. An accomplished wrestler, Cauley trains with Heavyweight king, Ryan Bader, so he has a couple of tricks ready to unleash when the time is right which will ultimately be his ticket for the win.
Final prediction: Cauley via unanimous decision

MMAmania.com will deliver coverage of Bellator 293 tomorrow evening on Showtime right here. To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.
See you then!

Bellator 293 is set to go down this Friday night (March 31, 2023) inside Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California airing live on Showtime. Headlining the event will be a hard-hitting Heavyweight affair as former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) big man, Marcelo Golm, battles up-and-coming contender, Daniel James. In the co-main event, Leah McCourt will take on Cat Zingano to see who earned the right to face Cris Cyborg for the womenís Featherweight strap.



Marcelo Golm vs. Daniel James


Golm didnít exactly have the career he had imagined when he signed with UFC in Oct. 2017. Sure, he started things off great with a with a first-round submission win over Christian Colombo, but he then went on to lose three straight which lead to his parting of ways with the promotion. After picking up two wins on the regional circuit, the Brazilian bomber inked a contract with Bellator and earned back-to-back stoppage wins over Billy Swanson and Davion Franklin, good enough to earn him the No. 6 spot on the official rankings. Now, Golm is eying his third straight win and a spot in the Top 5, which will undoubtedly get him closer to the championship conversation. But standing in his way is a hard-hitting big man who isnít wasting any time making his presence felt with the promotion. Making his debut at Bellator 288, James (No. 7) pulled off a big upset by knocking out Tyrell Fortune in round two, extending his win streak to four in a row, all stoppages. In fact, out of 14 wins, James has 10 knockouts and three submission to his credit. If he can take Golm out in impressive fashion, it will be him inching closer to the Top 5. Golm has knockout power, as well, but trading strike-for-strike against James may not be the best course of action here. For Golm, softening up his foe before taking it to the ground for a submission win will be the key to victory.


Final prediction: Golm via third-round submission




Cat Zingano vs. Leah McCourt


Itís been close to a year since we last saw Cyborg defend her title inside the Bellator cage, defeating Arlene Blencowe for a second time at Bellator 279 in April 2022. One of the big reasons she has been idle is because a clear-cut No. 1 contender hasnít surfaced to peak her interest. But that will all change soon because the winner of Zingano (No.1) vs McCourt (No. 4) should get the next title fight. Zingano was in talks to face Cyborg but that fight never came to be. Nevertheless, with three straight wins to kick off her Bellator career, Zingano is in prime position to get her long-desired title shot. McCourt, on the other hand, is 6-1 under the Bellator banner and is coming off a win over Dayana Silva six months ago at Bellator 285. But this will be one of her toughest tests to date because Zingano is as experienced as they come, facing the bet UFC has to offer ó including a title fight against Ronda Rousey ó for five years. Zingano has the striking advantage here but we canít sleep on McCourt, who showed heart in her tough loss to Sinead Kavanagh. Unfortunately she will need a lot more that that to get thought the longtime veteran, who is determined to reach the big dance.


Final prediction: Zingano via unanimous decision




John Salter vs. Aaron Jeffery


Salter hasnít had the best run over the last few years. After losing to former Middleweight champion, Gegard Mousasi, in Aug. 2021 in a 185-pound title fight, he then went on to lose to current champion ó Johnny Eblen ó seven months later, giving him his first-two fight losing streak of his career. Now, he will try to avoid a third straight defeat when he takes on rising star Aaron Jeffery, who has impressed the masses in his first two fights with the promotion. After stopping Fabio Aguiar via strikes, he went on to defeat Austin Vanderford two months later, also via technical knockout (TKO), putting him at 7-1 over his last eight fights, with his lone loss coming to Caio Borralho on the Contender Series. A win for either man wonít get them a title shot because Jeffery is slowly trying to chip away and get closer to the Top 5, while Salter is simply trying to dig himself out of a hole. Unfortunately, itís going to get a bit worse before it gets better for Salter because Jeffery is firing on all cylinders at the moment and is on the cusp of breaking through. Itís his time, and while Salter does have the chops to make it a competitive fight, I just donít see it working out for him a third straight time.


Final prediction: Jeffery via unanimous decision




Sullivan Cauley vs. Luke Trainer


The main card will kick off with a banger of a fight between two rising Light Heavyweight contenders as Cauley and Trainer will battle in what a bout that could very well steal the show and set the tone. Bellator prides itself in home-grown talent, and Cauley is just that, staring his pro career with the Viacom-owned promotion, winning his first five fights...all five first-round knockout. And thatís just what you get from Cauley, all action with no rest, which isnít good for his opponents, obviously. Hereís the kicker: All of Trainer's wins have come via stoppage, as well, so something has got to give. But what that means is that this fight has the potential to end early, or, believe it or not, can lead to a drawn out chess match ala Derrick Lewis vs. Francis Ngannou. While I donít expect it to be that type of bore-fest, I do anticipate a feeling out process from both men. And itís understandable because each respect the otherís power and know what he brings to the table. We can expect a lot of action on the feet but donít be too surprised if Cauley reverts to his wrestling to get the job done. An accomplished wrestler, Cauley trains with Heavyweight king, Ryan Bader, so he has a couple of tricks ready to unleash when the time is right which will ultimately be his ticket for the win.


Final prediction: Cauley via unanimous decision



MMAmania.com will deliver coverage of Bellator 293 tomorrow evening on Showtime right here. To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive righthere.


See you then!






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