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Bellator 188 predictions, preview for 'Lahat vs Labiano' on Spike TV

Bellator 188 ‘Lahat vs Labiano’ takes place Nov. 16, 2017 at Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel. MMA Mania brings you a preview and predictions for all of the fights set for the main card on Spike TV!

Noad Lahat
Noad Lahat
Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

Bellator 188: “Lahat vs. Labiano” takes place Thurs., Nov. 16, 2017 at Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel. The main event will see two Featherweights headline including a former UFC turned Bellator star who will be immensely popular in his home country.

There’s something at stake for the majority of the main card fights. A streaking Middleweight could assert his right to a title shot with a seventh win. A successful kickboxer comes in looking to finally prove herself in MMA. Two up and coming 170 lb. fighters look to shine under the bright lights.

Let’s break it down:

145 lbs.: Noad Lahat (11-3) vs. Jeremiah Labiano (11-5)

Noad Lahat is looking to shine in his homecoming here in Israel after a disappointing loss to Henry Corrales when Bellator was in New York in August. The former UFC fighter is a bit predictable in his attempts to get opponents to the ground, but with six of 11 wins by submission, it’s a strategy that usually pays dividends. Jeremiah Labiano is slightly more balanced with three knockouts, four submissions and four decisions, but he hasn’t finished in a win since 2013 and only has one notable victory over Tyson Nam. If you guess they’re feeding him to Lahat you’ve guessed right.

Final prediction: Noad Lahat wins via first round armbar

185 lbs.: John Salter (14-3) vs. Jason Radcliffe (12-4)

Jason Radcliffe may not be a big name to U.S. fight fans, but “The Assassin” has won 67% of his fights via knockout (eight out of 12) and had a seven fight win streak until June 2017. Unfortunately for him two consecutive TKO losses followed, which is not the kind of momentum you want coming into your Bellator debut. Standing 6’1” and fighting out of London, the European fighter will look to turn his fortunes around by putting John Salter on his hit list.

That’s not going to intimidate Salter one bit. With six wins in a row over the likes of former champion Brandon Halsey, former UFC fighter Dustin Jacoby and former TUF winner Kendall Grove, Salter has built up a reputation as a monster to be feared with seven knockouts and seven submissions. Whether he takes your back for the rear naked or takes your neck with his strong legs for a triangle, either choke is going to tap you out, and he’s done it in four of his last five.

In theory this should be the last win Salter needs to earn a title shot, but that theory gets blown up by the fact Gegard Mousasi was promised a shot at the winner of “Carvalho vs. Sakara” in December. Given that Mousasi’s victory against Alexander Shlemenko was less than thrilling and somewhat controversial, Salter holds the power in his hands to change the equation. The flip side is that Radcliffe can jump near the front of the line with an upset win over Salter. To win all Salter needs to do is stick to the formula that got him here - hurt people until they crash to the mat and tap them out quickly after that.

Final prediction: John Salter picks up his seventh victory via another triangle choke

125 lbs. Denise Kielholtz (0-1) vs. Jessica Middleton (2-2)

In a Flyweight division that has already crowned a champion this fight may feel small, but don’t count Bellator Kickboxing champion Denise Kielholtz out. Just because she was tapped out in her first MMA fight in 2015 doesn’t mean she can’t get it done here and emerge as a new star of the 125 lb. division. “Miss Dynamite” has a ton of striking experience with 48 kickboxing fights and a stellar 45-3 record. Middleton has no such accolades and has lost two in a row to Ilima-Lei Macfarlane and Emily Ducote. Unless she takes Kielholtz down quickly it will be her third defeat.

Final prediction: Denise Kielholtz takes the fight via second round technical knockout

170 lbs. Haim Gozali (7-4) vs. Arsen Faitovich (4-1)

Team Renzo Gracie fighter Haim Gozali didn’t impress against Ryan Couture at Bellator NYC, but the Israeli native could turn that around against the Ukranian fighter Faitovich in Tel Aviv. He’s a very tall and lanky 6’2” and has six wins by submission, while the 6’0” less experienced Faitovich has two knockouts and two submissions, giving him a chance to make a spectacular Bellator debut with a win here. If Gozali is motivated by the response of his countrymen and has shored up his cardio and striking he’ll be okay. He’s had a few months to do it but even so he just looked so bad against Couture in the third round that I’ve got to think that’s Faitovich’s ace in the hole.

Final prediction: Arsen Faitovich wins by third round TKO

That’s a wrap!

MMAmania.com will deliver coverage of Bellator 188 Friday with Spike TV fights starting at 9:00 p.m. ET. To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.