Connecticut’s “Irish” Brennan Ward returns to the cage after nearly five years and Justine Kish’s Bellator MMA debut highlight the exhilarating preliminary card
Tickets for bellator 274 are on sale now
LOS ANGELES (January 20, 2022) – Headlined by No. 4-ranked Neiman Gracie (11-2) taking on No. 5-ranked Logan Storley (12-1) in a clash of top-10 welterweights, BELLATOR MMA 274: Gracie vs. Storley has announced five new scintillating matchups to the nine-bout extravaganza taking place Saturday, Feb. 19 live on SHOWTIME.
In the co-featured bout from inside the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., former BELLATOR Welterweight World Champion and No. 8-ranked Andrey Koreshkov (24-4) will return to action and open his 2022 campaign against undefeated Mukhamed Berkhamov (14-0). The main card also will feature 44-fight veteran Georgi “Insane” Karakhanyan (31-12-1) taking on Northern California’s Adam “The Bomb” Piccolotti (12-4) in a battle between two promotional staples. Lastly, opening the main card will be a pair of returning BELLATOR MMA heavyweights who find themselves tied at No. 8 in the official rankings as three-time promotional veteran and American Top Team standout Said Sowma (8-2) squares off against undefeated Jackson Wink product Davion Franklin (4-0).
In addition to the jam-packed main card, five newly announced preliminary fights have been added to the already-stacked night of action, including Brennan Ward (14-6) making his long-awaited return to the BELLATOR MMA cage following a nearly five-year layoff in a 175-pound contract weight bout against feisty Kentuckian Brandon Bell (10-10).
Also featured will be longtime UFC standout and Russian native Justine Kish (7-4) making her BELLATOR MMA debut against No. 8-ranked DeAnna Bennett (11-7-1) in a flyweight fracas featuring two fighters with Los Angeles ties. Top light heavyweight prospect Christian Edwards (5-1) also makes his 2022 debut when he welcomes Kevin Haley (5-5) to the BELLATOR fray.
Rounding out the preliminary contests, No. 9-ranked lightweight Aviv Gozali (6-0) of Israel will put his unblemished record on the line against BANG Muay Thai black belt Bobby King (10-4) of Utah, while two fighters making their second BELLATOR appearances will square off when Isaiah Hokit (0-1) moves down to featherweight to battle Theodore Macuka (1-2), who will celebrate his 22nd birthday nine days before the event. Lastly, opening the thrilling night of MMA action, Wisconsin native Jordan Newman (3-0) will strive to provide his Floridian opponent Cody Herbert (2-0) with his first pro blemish in a massive middleweight melee.
SHOWTIME will televise the BELLATOR MMA 274: Gracie vs. Storley main card live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Additionally, the thrilling preliminary fights will stream live three hours earlier on the BELLATOR MMA YouTube channel, SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and Pluto TV beginning at 6 p.m. ET/3p.m. PT.
Following a lengthy MMA hiatus, “Irish” Brennan Ward will make his dramatic return to fight in his home state of Connecticut. By far one of the most entertaining fighters in BELLATOR history, the former Division III All-American wrestler has finished his opponent in 12 of his 14 victories, including nine in the first round. Although he has taken some time off, the former BELLATOR Season Nine Middleweight Tournament Winner is eager to remind people what made him a title contender prior to his time away.
Born in Orem, Utah, DeAnna “Vitamin D” Bennett will make her 2022 debut and third appearance under the BELLATOR MMA banner. The 37-year-old Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt enters the Feb. 19 fight fresh off a huge win over former top contender Alejandra Lara at BELLATOR MMA 266 in San Jose, Calif. Bennett would go on to dedicate the unanimous decision victory to her late father, who served as a San Jose police officer and worked events at the SAP Center where Bennett’s bout was held. Now, the former Invicta FC veteran will look to build off her recent triumph and climb the ranks in BELLATOR’s stacked 125-pound division.
Following a five-year stint with the rival promotion, seven-time UFC veteran Justine Kish joined forces with BELLATOR MMA by signing a multi-fight deal in January 2021. After making an appearance on “The Ultimate Fighter 20,” the 33-year-old was awarded a UFC contract. Fighting out of Los Angeles, Kish went 2-1 in her strawweight matchups, including a notable win over Nina Nunes prior to returning to the flyweight class in 2018.
Undefeated Israeli sensation Aviv Gozali (6-0) will make his return to the BELLATOR cage in search of his seventh straight victory. Since making his professional debut at BELLATOR MMA 209 back in 2018, “The King” has amassed six first round submissions (all under the BELLATOR MMA banner), including two in the opening minute of action and a record-setting 11-second Heel Hook victory. Hailing from Bat Yam, Israel, the 21-year-old lightweight is on the cusp of superstardom as he continues his ascension to the top of the BELLATOR rankings.
Fighting out of Layton, Utah, Bobby King is locked in for the biggest fight of his career as he prepares for his first top-10 opponent. With victories in four of his past five and eight of his last 10 contests, the 38-year-old BANG Muay Thai product and Hawaiian submission specialist is on the brink of joining the lightweight division’s elite. A true thrill-seeker, King also spends time outside of the cage as a professional Fire-Knife Dancer, a traditional Samoan cultural dance that is typically performed in ceremonial processions.
A former standout wrestler at Fresno State, Isaiah Hokit signed with BELLATOR MMA in November 2020 and hails from a talented athletic family. His brother Josh Hokit is a practice squad player for the San Francisco 49ers and was called up to the pro squad during the 2020-21 NFL season. Following a tough loss in his BELLATOR MMA debut, the “Central Valley Gangster” hopes to even out his pro record on Feb. 19.
Also hoping to up his record to an even .500 at BELLATOR MMA 274, Theodore Macuka has survived a number of challenges, including an automobile’s stick shift becoming lodged in his abdomen during a car accident at a young age. After growing up and targeted as an Albanian-American in a foreign country, “The Headtaker” turned pro in July 2019 and stopped his counterpart Rikardo Hysenaj on punches at 0:36 of the opening round.
Returning to the BELLATOR MMA cage for the fourth time in as many bouts, Jordan Newman has commenced his professional career with two stoppages among three triumphs. Following a hard-fought victory in his last bout over Branko Busick at BELLATOR MMA 255 in April 2021, the 25-year-old became the first BELLATOR MMA fighter to earn a win in the SHOWTIME era.
Currently fighting out of Crestview, Fla., Cody Herbert (2-0) will be making his BELLATOR debut following two bare knuckle MMA fights in Florida late in 2021.
BELLATOR MMA 274: GRACIE VS. STORLEY MAIN CARD:
Saturday, Feb. 19 – live on SHOWTIME
9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT
Welterweight Main Event: #4-Neiman Gracie (11-2) vs. #5-Logan Storley (12-1)
Welterweight Co-Main Event: #8-Andrey Koreshkov (24-4) vs. Mukhamed Berkamov (14-0)
Lightweight Bout: Georgi Karakhanyan (31-12-1) vs. Adam Piccolotti (12-4)
Heavyweight Bout: #8–Davion Franklin (4-0) vs.#8-Said Sowma (8-2)
BELLATOR MMA YouTube channel | SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel | Pluto TV
6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT
Lightweight Bout: Mandel Nallo (8-1, 1 NC) vs. Nick Browne (12-1)
Light Heavyweight Bout: Christian Edwards (5-1) vs. Kevin Haley (6-6)
Bantamweight Bout: Jaylon Bates (4-0) vs. Chris Disonell (6-4)
Lightweight Bout: #9 Aviv Gozali (6-0) vs. Bobby King (10-4)
Flyweight Bout: #8 DeAnna Bennett (11-7-1) vs. Justine Kish (7-4)
175-Pound Contract Weight Bout: Brennan Ward (14-6) vs. Brandon Bell (10-10)
Middleweight Bout: Jordan Newman (3-0) vs. Cody Herbert (2-0)
Lightweight Bout: Justin Montalvo (4-0) vs. Corey Samuels (3-2)
Featherweight Bout: Isaiah Hokit (0-1) vs. Theodore Macuka (1-2)
Welterweight Bout: Orlando Mendoza (0-1) vs. Jonathan Di Lorenzo (1-0)