When Jeremiah ‘The Kid’ Labiano (11-5) was informed by Bellator MMA’s brass that his bout with James Gallagher (7-0) at Bellator 187 had been cancelled, he didn’t throw a tantrum; instead, he demonstrated the maturity of a seasoned veteran, accepting a slot against Noad Lahat. on Bellator 188’s main card.
Pulling Ireland’s own Gallagher—in Dublin for Bellator 187—was like plucking a bouquet of four-leaf clovers for Labiano. As luck would have it, Gallagher suffered a knee injury, and the contest was yanked from its roots. Although Labiano didn’t stomp and flail about at the unsettling news, ‘The Kid’ questioned the validity of Gallagher’s decision, commenting on his Instagram, “I want your MRI scans, so I know it’s real #thejimmynoshow.”
Instead of marring the scar-free, pale skin of the unbeaten Irishman, Labiano approved a tango with a high-caliber dance partner: Noad “Neo” Lahat (11-3). Bellator 188 still pits the product of Crispim BJJ into enemy territory, as the Viacom-backed promotion constructs their cage in Lahat’s backyard: Tel Aviv, Israel. Since leaving the UFC, Lahat has accumulated two victories out of three visits to Bellator’s battlefield, proving to be Labiano’s sternest test to-date.
Of course, staking claim to regional titles, such as Labiano did in his last outing at Conquer Fighting Championships, serves a purpose, but that alone doesn’t quench this featherweight’s thirst to travel abroad, challenge himself against the best athletes in the world, and proudly represent Northern California.