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Bellator returns Stateside on Friday after back-to-back events overseas with Bellator 178, which takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

A featherweight championship clash headlines the four-fight lineup. Reigning champion Daniel Straus (24-6 MMA, 11-3 BMMA) returns from a nearly 18-month injury layoff to put his belt on the line against a familiar foe in challenger Patricio Freire (25-4 MMA, 13-4 BMMA).

Straus and Freire meet for the fourth time in their careers, meaning they bring a lot of history into the cage. For more on the numbers behind the 145-pound title fight, as well as the other bouts scheduled for the main card, check out 30 pre-event facts about Bellator 178.

* * * *

Main event

Daniel Straus and Patricio Freire, Bellator 145

Straus and Freire become the first fighters in Bellator history to compete against the same opponent four times under the promotional banner.

Straus returns to competition for the first time since Nov. 6, 2015. The 532-day layoff is the longest of his more than eight-year career.

Straus is one of six fighters in Bellator history to become a two-time champion in a single weight class.

Straus competes in his fifth Bellator championship fight. He’s 2-2 in his previous title-fight appearances.

Straus competes in his 14th Bellator featherweight bout, the second most appearances in divisional history behind Freire (17).

Straus’ 10 victories in Bellator featherweight competition are second most in divisional history behind Freire (13).

Straus has suffered two of his three Bellator losses to Freire.

Straus has suffered five of his six career losses by stoppage.

Freire returns to the featherweight division after a one-fight stint at lightweight where he lost to Benson Henderson at Bellator 160 in August.

Freire competes in his 18th Bellator bout, tied with David Rickels for the most appearances in company history.

Freire’s 13 victories in Bellator competition are tied with Michael Chandler for most in company history.

Freire competes in his sixth Bellator championship fight, tied for the third most in company history behind Chandler (eight) and Pat Curran (seven).

Freire’s nine stoppage victories in Bellator competition are most in featherweight history and second most in the company overall behind Chandler (10).

Freire’s six knockout victories in Bellator competition are tied for third most in company history behind Hector Lombard (seven) and Douglas Lima (seven).

Co-main event

Ilima Macfarlane

Ilima Macfarlane (5-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) competes in her fifth Bellator bout, the most appearances of any female in company history.

Macfarlane’s four Bellator victories are most among female fighters in the organization.

Macfarlane’s four-fight Bellator winning streak in the longest among female fighters in the organization.

Remaining main card

A.J. McKee

A.J. McKee (7-0 MMA, 7-0 BMMA), 22, is the youngest of the eight scheduled main-card fighters.

McKee’s seven-fight Bellator winning streak is tied for second longest among active fighters in the company behind Michael Page (eight).

McKee’s seven-fight Bellator winning streak in featherweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

McKee has earned his past two victories by decision after starting his career with five consecutive stoppage wins.

Dominic Mazzotta (11-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) has suffered his only career loss to UFC featherweight champion Cody Garbrandt.

Mazzotta enters the event on an eight-fight winning streak. He hasn’t suffered a defeat since March 2014.

Mazzotta has earned nine of his 11 career victories by stoppage. He’s finished eight of those wins by submission.

Saad Awad

Saad Awad (19-9 MMA, 7-6 BMMA), 33, is the oldest of the eight scheduled main-card fighters.

Awad enters the event with just one victory in his past four fights.

Awad has earned 16 of his 19 career victories by stoppage.

Ryan Quinn (13-6-1 MMA, 7-0 BMMA) returns to Bellator competition for the first time since July 2015. His seven appearances with the organization date back to April 2010.

Quinn’s seven-fight Bellator winning streak is tied for second longest among active fighters in the company behind Page (eight).

For complete coverage of Bellator 178, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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