Bellator has declared two or three big fights for upcoming battle cards, and I’ll 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’ll 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 with his latest victory being a decision win over Jeremy Spoon back in November. Bandejas (11-1) started his Bellator career with a bang when he pumped out Bellator’s golden boy James Gallagher last summer. He’s only lost once in his profession, to UFC vet Nick Pace, and he retains a notable triumph over current UFC bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili. This 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 driving a great deal of momentum into this battle. I think Archuleta is somewhat more solid and recognized, but Bandejas is a exceptional potential . Start looking for a near line with a slight lean towards Archuleta.
Roy Nelson vs. Mirko Cro Cop 2, Bellator 217
Heavyweights Roy Nelson and Mirko Cro Cop are set 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 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 heels of a nine-fight win series, wiht many of those wins coming from RIZIN. Nelson might have beaten Cro Cop the first time, but based on 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 exciting welterweight bout between strikers Lorenz Larkin and Andrey Koreshkov is set to headline Bellator 200, taking place 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 consecutive wins over Fernando Gonzalez and Ion Pascu. The Pascu fight was likely to be a welterweight tournament alternate bout, bout Bellator should figure they do not need a repacement fighter therefore they gave Larkin this fight against Koreshkov. Despite Larkin becoming a small disappointment so much since registering a big free-agent contract with Bellator, he still possesses knockout power that will consistently make him a threat to beat anyone in the division. Koreshkov (21-3) is 12-3 overall in Bellator and most recently lost by submission to Douglas Lima from the opening round of the welterweight tournament. His ground game and chin have appeared shaky occasionally in Bellator, but like Larkin he is always a threat to win by knockout. This ought to be quite a competitive fight but Koreshkov constantly gets enormous respect from bettors and I guess he be a tiny favorite here.
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