Bellator has declared a couple of big fights for upcoming battle cards, and I’ll 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’ll take on top potential Ricky Bandejas in 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 off his Bellator career with a bang when he pumped out Bellator’s golden boy James Gallagher this past summer. He’s only lost once in his career, to UFC vet Nick Pace, and he retains a notable win over present UFC bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili. This is such a fantastic battle between two fighters on the rise, and it is not a simple one to select considering both guys are incredibly gifted and both are riding tons of momentum into this battle. I think Archuleta is somewhat more strong and proven, but Bandejas is a special prospect himself. Look for a close line with a slight lean towards Archuleta.
Roy Nelson vs. Mirko Cro Cop 2, Bellator 217
Heavyweights Roy Nelson and Mirko Cro Cop are place to rematch at Bellator 217, occurring February 16 at Mohegan Sun Resort in Uncasville, Connecticut. Neslon (23-16) is 1-2 so much in Bellator and most recently was pumped 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 be producing his inaugural Bellator debut on the insides of a nine-fight win streak, wiht many of the wins coming from RIZIN. Nelson may have beaten Cro Cop the first time, but according to Cro Cop’s long win streak and Nelson’s diminishing chin I’d have to favor 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’s coming off of consecutive wins over Fernando Gonzalez and Ion Pascu. The Pascu fight was supposed to be a welterweight tournament alternative bout, bout Bellator should figure they do not need a repacement fighter so they gave Larkin this fight against Koreshkov. Despite Larkin being a small disappointment so far since registering a big free-agent contract with Bellator, he possesses knockout power which will always make him a danger to beat anybody in the branch. Koreshkov (21-3) is 12-3 overall in Bellator and many recently lost by submission to Douglas Lima in the opening round of the welterweight tournament. His ground game and chin have appeared shaky at times in Bellator, but such as Larkin he is always a threat to win by knockout. This should be a very competitive fight but Koreshkov constantly gets massive respect from bettors and I figure that he wil be a small favorite here.
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