Bellator has declared a couple of big fights for upcoming fight cards, and I will give my thoughts on those new matchups in the current MMA odds and ends.
Juan Archuleta vs. Ricky Bandejas, Bellator 214
Featherweight contender Juan Archuleta has opted to drop down to bantamweight and he’ll take on top prospect Ricky Bandejas in Bellator 214, which takes place January 26 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. Archuleta (21-1) is on a 16-fight win streak and is 3-0 thus far in Bellator with his most recent victory being a decision win over Jeremy Spoon back in November. Bandejas (11-1) started off his Bellator career with a bang when he pumped out Bellator’s gold boy James Gallagher last summer. He has only lost once in his career, to UFC vet Nick Pace, and he retains a notable win over current UFC bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili. That is such a fantastic fight between two fighters on the rise, and it’s not an easy one to pick considering both guys are incredibly gifted and both are driving a great deal of momentum into this fight. I believe Archuleta is a bit more strong and recognized, but Bandejas is a special prospect himself. Start looking for a close line with a little lean towards Archuleta.
Roy Nelson vs. Mirko Cro Cop 2, Bellator 217
Heavyweights Roy Nelson and Mirko Cro Cop are place to rematch in Bellator 217, taking place February 16 in Mohegan Sun Resort in Uncasville, Connecticut. Neslon (23-16) is 1-2 so much in Bellator and most recently was knocked out by Sergei Kharitonov within an upset. Nelson previously defeated Cro Cop through TKO back in UFC 137 in 2011. Cro Cop (37-11-2, 1 NC) will soon be making his long-awaited Bellator introduction on the insides of a nine-fight win streak, wiht many of the wins coming from RIZIN. Nelson might have beaten Cro Cop the first time, but according to Cro Cop’s long win streak and Nelson’s declining chin I would have to prefer Cro Cop to win the rematch.
Lorenz Larkin vs. Andrey Koreshkov, Bellator 220
An exciting welterweight bout between strikers Lorenz Larkin and Andrey Koreshkov is set to headline Bellator 200, taking place March 29 at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California. Larkin (20-7, 1 NC) is just 2-2 so much in Bellator, but he’s coming off of consecutive wins over Fernando Gonzalez and Ion Pascu. The Pascu battle was likely to become a welterweight tournament alternate bout, bout Bellator must figure they do not need a repacement fighter so that they gave Larkin this battle against Koreshkov. Despite Larkin becoming a bit of a disappointment so much since signing a big free-agent contract with Bellator, he still possesses knockout power which will always make him a danger to beat anyone in the division. Koreshkov (21-3) is 12-3 overall in Bellator and most recently lost by submission to Douglas Lima in the opening round of the welterweight tournament. His ground game and chin have looked shaky at times in Bellator, but like Larkin he is always a threat to win by knockout. This ought to be a very competitive fight but Koreshkov constantly gets massive admiration from bettors and I figure he be a small favorite here.
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