Bellator: James Gallagher vs Jeremiah Labiano announced as main event for Dublin card

20-year-old James Gallagher will headline Bellator's return to Dublin, Ireland in a featherweight battle with Jeremiah Labiano at the Dublin's 3Arena on November 10.

Bellator MMA is going all-in on James Gallagher.

Fighting out of Straight Blast Gym in Ireland, Gallagher has understandably drawn lots of public attention for his relationship with Conor McGregor and John Kavanagh. Recently, however, it’s Gallagher’s performances in the cage combined with his entertaining personality that has helped him grow in popularity worldwide.

His last fight, a matchup with Chinzo Machida, was supposed to be his toughest challenge yet. But, Gallagher easy disposed of Machida by submitting him with a rear-naked choke just 2:22 into the opening round. The submission caught the attention of all those who had tuned into Bellator’s biggest event to date, Bellator NYC/180. The victory marked Gallagher’s fifth first-round submission win in just seven fights and helped to stamp himself as a top contender in Bellator’s featherweight division.

Gallagher’s matchup with Jeremiah Labiano will certainly be a fascinating one. Labiano, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, will certainly have the tools to defend against Gallagher’s submission onslaught. Labiano enters this contest after scoring two consecutive decision victories, which includes a 25-minute battle with Stephen Cervantes for the Conquer Fighting Championship featherweight championship in June.

The rise of James Gallagher

These days, self-promotion for a mixed martial artist is almost as important as your performance on fight night. It helps that Gallagher is excellent at both. He’s active on social media and has racked up over 68,000 followers who all seem to enjoy his wacky personality. His confidence is off the charts, and he was playing with the idea of dropping down to Bellator’s bantamweight division and competing there before coach John Kavanagh suggested that he should stick to the 145-pound weight division for now. These talks are scarily similar to that of fellow SBG fighter Conor McGregor who was a simultaneous two-division champion of both the UFC and Cage Warriors promotions.

Gallagher also believes that he will be the fighter who carries Bellator’s torch for them in their quest to top the UFC as the world’s largest mixed martial arts organization.

“In New York, I proved that I’m the fighter that they should invest in. I’m going to be the one who eventually breaks a million pay-per-view buys for Bellator. That’s the promotion’s goal, and I’m going to be the one who gets them there.”

It sounds like a wild dream at the moment, but we’ve seen stranger things happen from fighters out of the Straight Blast Gym and John Kavanaghs’ tutelage.

Further details for Bellator’s return to Dublin, Ireland are yet to be announced. There is a chance that Gallagher is accompanied by another rising Bellator star, Heather Hardy, who has expressed interest in competing at the event.

It looks as though Bellator is making all the right moves as a Bellator event that features Gallagher and potentially Hardy as well is sure to be a success, especially when it takes place in Dublin, Ireland.

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Jake Nichols


Jake is a mixed martial arts analyst and reporter from Australia for The Body Lock.