Bellator has declared a couple of big fights for upcoming fight cards, and I will give my thoughts on these new matchups in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Juan Archuleta vs. Ricky Bandejas, Bellator 214
Featherweight contender Juan Archuleta has decided to drop down to bantamweight and he will take on top potential Ricky Bandejas at Bellator 214, which takes place January 26 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. Archuleta (21-1) is really on a 16-fight win streak and is 3-0 thus far in Bellator together with his most recent success being a choice win over Jeremy Spoon back in November. Bandejas (11-1) started his Bellator career with a bang when he pumped out Bellator’s gold boy James Gallagher this past 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. This is such a fantastic fight between two fighters on the rise, and it’s not a simple one to select considering both men are incredibly talented and both are driving tons of momentum into this fight. I believe Archuleta is a bit more solid and proven, but Bandejas is a exceptional potential himself. Look 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, occurring February 16 in Mohegan Sun Resort in Uncasville, Connecticut. Neslon (23-16) is 1-2 so far in Bellator and most recently was knocked out by Sergei Kharitonov within an upset. Nelson formerly defeated Cro Cop via TKO back in UFC 137 in 2011. Cro Cop (37-11-2, 1 NC) will soon be making his long-awaited Bellator debut on the heels of a nine-fight win series, wiht lots of the wins coming in RIZIN. Nelson might have beaten Cro Cop the very first time, but according to Cro Cop’s long win streak and Nelson’s diminishing chin I would have to prefer Cro Cop to win the rematch.
Lorenz Larkin vs. Andrey Koreshkov, Bellator 220
An intriguing welterweight bout between strikers Lorenz Larkin and Andrey Koreshkov is set to headline Bellator 200, occurring 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 is coming off of successive wins over Fernando Gonzalez and Ion Pascu. The Pascu fight was likely to become a welterweight tournament alternate bout, bout Bellator should figure they do not need a repacement fighter so that they gave Larkin this fight 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 consistently make him a danger to beat anybody in the division. Koreshkov (21-3) is 12-3 overall in Bellator and many recently lost by submission to Douglas Lima from the opening round of the welterweight tournament. His ground game and chin have appeared shaky at times at Bellator, but like Larkin he’s always a threat to win by knockout. This ought to be quite a competitive fight but Koreshkov always gets enormous admiration from bettors and I figure that he be a small favorite here.
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