Returning to Hungary after last year’s successful Bellator Kickboxing 3 card, Bellator brings a mixed card of both MMA and kickboxing to the country this Friday as Bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas defends his title against debuting challenger Leandro Higo in the main event of Bellator 177.

Bellator 177 takes place on Friday, April 14 at the Budapest Sports Arena in Budapest, Hungary and will also feature Bellator Kickboxing 6 as the night’s undercard.

Top prospect Higo goes for gold on Bellator debut

Replacing original challenger Darrion Caldwell due to an undisclosed injury, Higo will make his Bellator debut in this title fight and will carry an eight fight win streak into the cage after spells in his native Brazil and under both the RFA and LFA banners.

Having won the vacant RFA Bantamweight title last April, “Pitbull” Higo then took on Legacy FC bantamweight kingpin Steven Peterson to unify the RFA and LFC belts at the inaugural Legacy Fighting Alliance event, LFA 1. The Brazilian would put in a dominant performance on his way to the unanimous decision victory in January to capture the gold.

Since then, word was that the 28-year-old would sign with the UFC, however in another of their recent coups, Bellator would announce they had signed one of the hottest prospects in the 135lb divison to take the place of the injured Caldwell at Bellator 177.

Meanwhile, Bantamweight champion Dantas has enjoyed mixed fortunes since capturing the title for the first time in April 2012 with a second round submission win over former UFC contender Zach Makovsky.

A unanimous decision loss to Joe Warren would see him lose the belt at Bellator 128 in 2014 however “Dudu” would bounce back and and reclaim the gold on return from injury in 2016 when he defeated Marcos Galvao at Bellator 156 last year. Since then he has successfully got revenge and defended his title against Joe Warren in December.

The Brazilian will attempt to spoil the debut of his countryman whilst solidifying himself as one of the promotion’s most dominant champions this Friday night in Budapest.

Hungarian star Borics makes Bellator debut on home soil

In the evening’s co-main event, top Hungarian featherweight Adam Borics, who is currently undefeated, will make his promotional debut against Californian rookie Anthony Taylor.

Having tore through the European regionals since his professional debut in 2014, Borics signed with Euro FC at the tailend of last year before the promotion announced they were cancelling all of their scheduled events for the first half of 2017.

Left in limbo, Borics was snapped up by Bellator to make his debut for the promotion on home soil against “Prettyboy” Taylor, who has lost two of his three professional fights so far including a submission loss to Irish star James Gallagher.

Elsewhere on the card, Dantas’ Nova Uniao team mate John Teixeira will face Daniel Weichel in a match-up that’s bound to have implications on the 145lb division. German contender Weichel is currently on a three fight win streak and is a previous Bellator tournament winner however will have his work cut out as the Brazilian has not lost a fight in half a decade.

Meanwhile, Farnham strawweight Helen Harper flys the flag for Britain this week as she returns from an unsuccessful stint on TUF 23 to make her Bellator debut against Lena Ovchynnikova.

Bellator 177 Fight Card

Bantamweight Title: Eduardo Dantas (19-4) vs. Leandro Higo (17-2)

Featherweight: Adam Borics (9-0) vs. Anthony Taylor (1-2)

Featherweight: John Teixeira (21-1-2) vs. Daniel Weichel (38-9)

Women’s Flyweight: Lena Ovchynnikova (11-4) vs. Helen Harper (4-1)

Featherweight: Brian Moore (9-5) vs. Ludovit Klein (6-0)

Lightweight: Mate Kertesz (3-1) vs. Adam Polgar (14-8)