It appears as though all barriers standing between James Gallagher and Callum Ellenor have finally been cut by Bellator MMA brass, as the featherweight rivals will lock horns in the Bellator Euro Series 9 headliner on Saturday at the Allianz Cloud in Milan, Italy.
Operating out of the John Kavanagh-led SBG Ireland camp, Gallagher enters the cage on the strength of a three-fight winning streak. The hubris-infused prospect last competed at Bellator 227, where he needed just 35 seconds to submit Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Roman Salazar with a guillotine choke a little more than a year ago. Ellenor, meanwhile, has recorded three victories across his past four outings. The Team Fish Tank export has not fought since he submitted Nathan Greyson with a rear-naked choke in his Bellator debut in February 2019.
As Gallagher and Ellenor approach their showdown, a look at some of the numbers that have accompanied them to this point:
23: Years of age for Gallagher, who was born on Oct. 24, 1996 in Strabane, Ireland.
8: Gallagher victories by submission, accounting for 80% of his career total (10). His methods of choice: six rear-naked chokes and two guillotine chokes.
1: Defeat on the Gallagher resume. Ricky Bandejas brought down “The Strabanimal” with a head kick and follow-up punches at Bellator 204 in 2018.
7: First-round finishes to Gallagher’s credit. Salazar, Steven Graham, Chinzo Machida, Kirill Medvedovsky, Gerard Gilmore, Declan McAleenan and Denis Ahern were the victims.
.589: Cumulative winning percentage between the 10 men Gallagher has defeated. Only Salazar, Medvedovsky and Jeremiah Labiano have reached double figures in victories.
29: Years of age for Ellenor, who was born on April 4, 1991 in Sunderland, England.
6: Submission wins under Ellenor’s belt, accounting for 75% of his career total (eight). He put away Greyson, Espen Kolltveit and Declan Williams with rear-naked chokes and dispatched Faeez Jacobs, Aidan Stephen and Nathan Thompson with guillotine chokes.
2: Ellenor losses by decision, both of which took place in the South Africa-based Extreme Fighting Championship organization. He has never been knocked out or submitted. Ellenor wound up on the wrong side of a split verdict against Gareth Buirski at EFC 62 on Aug. 19, 2017 and dropped a unanimous decision to Luthando Biko in a failed bid to capture the interim bantamweight title at EFC 75 on Nov. 3, 2018.
58: Seconds needed by Ellenor to bounce Will Cooper with punches at an International Combat Elite Fighting Championship show in June 2016. Having occurred in just his second professional assignment, it remains the fastest finish of his 10-fight career.
3: Ellenor-Gallagher fight cancellations. The two men twice saw scheduled bouts against one another scuttled by injuries. The third was axed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.