MMA ODDS AND ENDS FOR THURSDAY: INITIAL REACTIONS TO NEW BELLATOR BOUTS
Bellator has announced a couple of big fights for upcoming fight cards, and I will present 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 opted to drop down to bantamweight and he will take on top prospect 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 series 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 brutally knocked out Bellator’s golden boy James Gallagher last summer. He’s only lost once in his career, to UFC vet Nick Pace, and he holds a notable triumph over current UFC bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili. That is such a fantastic fight between two fighters on the upswing, and it is not an easy one to select considering both men are incredibly talented and both are riding a great deal of momentum into this battle. I believe Archuleta is a bit more strong and recognized, but Bandejas is a exceptional prospect . Start looking 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 in Bellator 217, taking place February 16 at Mohegan Sun Resort in Uncasville, Connecticut. Neslon (23-16) is 1-2 so far in Bellator and most recently was pumped out by Sergei Kharitonov within an upset. Nelson previously defeated Cro Cop via TKO back at UFC 137 at 2011. Cro Cop (37-11-2, 1 NC) will be making his long-awaited Bellator introduction on the heels of a nine-fight win streak, wiht many of those wins coming from RIZIN. Nelson might have defeated Cro Cop the first time, but based on 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 exciting 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 only 2-2 so much in Bellator, but he is coming off of successive wins over Fernando Gonzalez and Ion Pascu. The Pascu battle was supposed to be a welterweight tournament alternative bout, bout Bellator should figure they do not need a repacement fighter therefore that they gave Larkin this battle against Koreshkov. Despite Larkin becoming a small disappointment so much since signing a big free-agent contract with Bellator, he still possesses knockout power that will always make him a threat to beat anyone in the branch. Koreshkov (21-3) is 12-3 overall in Bellator and most recently lost by submission to Douglas Lima in the opening round of this welterweight tournament. His ground game and chin have looked shaky occasionally at Bellator, but like Larkin he’s always a threat to win by knockout. This ought to be quite a competitive fight but Koreshkov constantly gets massive admiration from bettors and I guess he be a small favorite here.
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