Bellator 224 takes place Friday, July 12 at WinStar World Resort Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. The offshore sportsbooks recently opened up the betting odds for the main card, and here they are.
Bellator 224 Opening Odds
Julia Budd -275
Olga Rubin +235
Rafael Carvalho -150
Chidi Njokuani +130
Ed Ruth -375
Kiichi Kunimoto +310
Juliana Velasquez -240
Kristina Williams +205
And here are my initial thoughts on the Bellator 224 Opening Odds:
- The main event features Bellator women’s featherweight champion Budd put her belt on the line against the undefeated challenger Rubin. Budd has won 10 straight fights and in her career has only lost twice, to Ronda Rousey and Amanda Nunes. She’s a physical specimen and has racked up a perfect 6-0 record in Bellator so far, becoming the promotion’s biggest female star. She now takes on Rubin, who is unbeaten with a 6-0 record including a 4-0 mark in Bellator. She’s mostly a home-grown talent for Bellator and in a shallow division was the next No. 1 contender. But Budd is a seriously good fighter who would do very well if she was in the UFC. Instead, she’s in Bellator where she is fighting inferior competition. I expect Budd to wipe the floor with Rubin in this fight and I’m surprised the odds opened so close as I expected Budd to be a massive favorite in this fight. Expect Budd to be a popular parlay piece.
- The co-main event should be a fun middleweight bout between Carvalho and Njokuani. Carvalho is 6-2 in Bellator but is coming off of back-to-back losses to Gegard Mousasi and Lyoto Machida, who many felt he should have won a decision over. Njokuani is 5-2 and is coming off of a submission loss to John Salter. Both men are striking-based fighters so this should be a fun fight, but Carvalho is the more solid fighter and I believe he wins as a small favorite.
- In welterweight action, Ruth returns to fight the UFC veteran Kunimoto. Ruth has racked up a tremendous 6-1 record in Bellator with his lone loss coming to Neiman Gracie. Kunimoto is coming off of back-to-back wins in RIZIN after flaming out of the UFC with a 3-2 record. Kunimoto is 38-years old now and his ability to take punishment isn’t what it once was. Ruth has been finishing most of his fights and if he can get Kunimoto down to the mat he can pound him out for a TKO win. Give me Ruth to win this fight.
- And finally, a women’s flyweight bout sees Velasquez take on Williams. Velasquez is a perfect 8-0 as a pro including a 3-0 mark in Bellator. She is a late bloomer to MMA, having begun her pro career at the age of 28, and now at age 32 it seems she is in her prime. Williams is relatively young at 29 and has racked up a 3-1 record in Bellator. She made a splash in her pro debut back in 2017 when she knocked out Heather Hardy, and since then her only loss is to the veteran Valerie Letourneau. Of all the dogs on this card I give Williams the best chance to win, but I can see why Velasquez opened as the favorite.