Bellator has declared a couple of big fights for upcoming battle cards, and I will give my thoughts on those 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 on a 16-fight win series and is 3-0 thus far in Bellator together with his most recent victory 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 last summer. He has only lost once in his career, to UFC vet Nick Pace, and he holds a remarkable win over current UFC bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili. This is such a fantastic fight between two fighters on the rise, and it is not a simple one to select considering both men are incredibly gifted and both are riding a great deal of momentum into this fight. I believe Archuleta is a bit more strong and recognized, but Bandejas is a exceptional prospect . 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 at 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 in an upset. Nelson formerly defeated Cro Cop through TKO back in UFC 137 at 2011. Cro Cop (37-11-2, 1 NC) will be producing his inaugural Bellator introduction on the heels of a nine-fight win streak, wiht lots of those wins coming in 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’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 is coming off of successive wins over Fernando Gonzalez and Ion Pascu. The Pascu battle was likely to be a welterweight tournament alternate bout, bout Bellator must figure they don’t require a repacement fighter so they gave Larkin this fight against Koreshkov. Despite Larkin becoming a bit of a disappointment so much since registering a large free-agent contract with Bellator, he possesses knockout power that will always make him a danger to beat anybody 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 occasionally at Bellator, but like Larkin he is always a threat to win by knockout. This should be a very competitive fight but Koreshkov always gets enormous respect from bettors and I guess that he be a small favorite here.
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