James Gallagher Returns to Featherweight Division Against Cris Lencioni at Bellator 298

James “The Strabanimal” Gallagher is set to return to the Bellator cage after a 21-month layoff, and the SBG Ireland black belt is headed back to the featherweight division.

Sources confirmed to SevereMMA.com that Gallagher (11-2) is scheduled to face Cris “Sunshine” Lencioni (11-3) in a featherweight bout at Bellator 298, which takes place at Sanford Pentagon on Friday 11th August in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The booking marks the first time Gallagher will compete since his third-round submission loss at the hands of Patchy Mix at Bellator 270 in November 2021. The Irishman was subsequently booked against Brett Johns for Bellator 285 in Dublin and Leandro Higo for Bellator 292 in California, but neither bouts came to fruition.

It will be the first time “The Strabanimal” competes at 145lbs since submitting Chinzo Machida in Madison Square Garden back in June 2017. Gallagher is undefeated as a professional at featherweight, with a perfect 6-0 run in the weight class, all victories coming by way of submission.

The SBG Ireland charge will be looking to return to winning ways with the move up from bantamweight. Cris Lencioni boasts a 6-2 record in the Bellator featherweight division. After a victorious decision against BJJ standout AJ Agazarm in 2020, Lencioni competed in a number of grappling matches throughout 2020 and 2021 before returning to MMA action under the Fighting Alliance Championship banner in February 2022.

Lencioni is currently riding a four-fight win streak, with his two most recent victories coming in the Bellator cage over Cody Law (6-1) and Blake Smith (7-2).

Bellator 298 is set to be headlined by a welterweight showdown between former champion Logan Storley (14-2) and knockout artist Brennan Ward (17-6).

Andy is a multimedia reporter, interviewer, writer, with a strong focus on Irish MMA. Co-host of The Auld Triangle podcast. Follow Andy on Twitter (@andyste123) and Instagram (@andystevensonMMA).

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