Bellator has declared a couple of big fights for upcoming battle cards, and I’ll 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 in 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 latest victory being a choice win over Jeremy Spoon back in November. Bandejas (11-1) started his Bellator career with a bang when he brutally knocked out Bellator’s gold boy James Gallagher this past summer. He’s only lost once in his profession, to UFC vet Nick Pace, and he holds a notable triumph over current UFC bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili. This is such a good fight between two fighters on the upswing, and it is not a simple one to pick considering both guys are extremely talented and both are riding tons of momentum into this battle. I believe Archuleta is somewhat more strong and recognized, but Bandejas is a exceptional prospect himself. Start looking for a near 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 much in Bellator and most recently was pumped out by Sergei Kharitonov in an upset. Nelson previously defeated Cro Cop through TKO back at UFC 137 in 2011. Cro Cop (37-11-2, 1 NC) will soon be producing his inaugural Bellator debut on the heels of a nine-fight win series, wiht lots of those wins coming from RIZIN. Nelson might have beaten Cro Cop the very 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 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 far in Bellator, but he’s coming off of successive wins over Fernando Gonzalez and Ion Pascu. The Pascu battle was supposed to be a welterweight tournament alternate bout, bout Bellator must figure they don’t require a repacement fighter therefore 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 that will consistently make him a threat to beat anybody in the branch. Koreshkov (21-3) is 12-3 overall in Bellator and many recently lost by entry to Douglas Lima in the opening round of the welterweight tournament. His ground game and chin have looked shaky occasionally at Bellator, but such as Larkin he’s always a threat to win by knockout. This ought to be quite a competitive fight but Koreshkov constantly gets massive respect from bettors and I guess that he wil be a tiny favorite here.
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