The UFC is the big dog in the MMA but this is the fastest growing sport in the world and PFL, One Championship, and Bellator MMA are hot on the heels of the biggest show in town. Bellator has attempted to go head-to-head with the UFC before and it never ends well for them. This weekend Belltor has not one, but two full cards for us to look forward to. We have a Friday card and Saturday night card AFTER UFC Copenhagen. This is the weekend to be an MMA fan!
Bellator has continued to home-grow some talent of their own and have pick-pocketed a few big stars and fighters who are looking to take a step down in competition from the UFC to swell their ranks with recognizable names. Bellator is sometimes referred to as the retirement track for UFC fighters, but that’s disrespectful to some of the talent they have. Fighters like Rory McDonald, Ben Henderson, Ryan Bader, and Gegard Moussasi left the UFC in their fighting prime for the greener pastures Bellator offered and have dominated. Let’s take a look at a few fights we might be able to make some sweet sweet cash on.
Bellator 227: Ben Henderson vs Myles Jury
- 35 years old
- Former UFC and Strikeforce lightweight champion
- 52% finish rate
It’s always interesting when fighters cross paths who could have met in the UFC after they both find a home in Bellator. Ben Henderson is a former Strikeforce and UFC champion in the most stacked division in all of MMA. He took the opportunity to take his destiny into his own hands when he accepted and offer with Bellator but quickly discovered the greener pastures wouldn’t be easier pastures. Bendo lost his Bellator debut and bounced back with a win over Patricio Freire who has since avenged that loss. Ben also lost to Bellator staple Michael Chandler, but has put together a nice 3 fight win streak.
Myles Jury Stats:
- 30 years old
- 10 wins by KO/TKO
- 2-4 in last 6
Jury is Bellator’s newest addition and it looks like he is taking his chance to drop his competition level and that may backfire. Jury has only won 2 of his last 6 fights leading to his departure from the UFC. While Jury will be the younger fighter here he has struggled with a grappling heavy approach, which is exactly what Ben brings to the table. Even though Ben is the older of the two he is a world champion and appears to have his sights on the belt again.
Pick: Benson Henderson -265 with 5Dimes
Bellator 228: Lyoto Machida vs Gegard Mousasi
Lyoto Machida Stats:
- 41 years old
- 11 wins by KO (42%)
- Former UFC Light Heavyweight champion
The Dragon is fresh off a hugely successful Bellator debut with a win over Rafael Carvalho and a knockout of the best talking in MMA Chael Sonnen back in June. Machida left the UFC on a rare high note taking a decision over Eryk Anders and a front kick KO of Vitor Belfort. Machida still has his reflexes and power and while his style may not work at the top level against UFC title challengers it works just fine against young rising talent and fellow near-retirement fighters. He still very much has name value and is still very much a draw in the MMA community, so Bellator made a great pick up in Machida.
Gegard Mousasi Stats:
- 34 years old
- 26 wins by KO (58%)
- Former Bellator Middleweight champion
Gegard is one of the few who traveled to Bellator very much in their prime. Gegar has a sad story in that he very well could have been the UFC Middleweight champion, but got unlucky at the wrong times and wasn’t a big enough draw to get his crack. Gegard put foes away such as Thiago Santos, Vitor Blefort, Uriah Hall, and Chris Weidman but was still denied his chance at the title. He traveled to Bellator in 2017 and immediately took the strap and
defended it. Gegard lost his title to Rafael Lovato Jr earlier this year, but looks to be on the hunt to get it back. A win over Machida all but solidifies his rematch with Lovato and given that he is the younger fighter looking for revenge from 2014 in this rematch I think he will be able to get it done. Machida is competitive against mid tier talent at this point but Mousasi is very much still in championship condition. If you don’t want to lay the wood straight, a parlay with Mousasi and Henderson might not be such a bad idea – check the UFC Odds page.
Pick: Gegard Mousasi -280 with 5Dimes
Bellator 228: Juan Archuleta vs Patricio Freire
Juan Archuleta Stats:
- 32 years old
- 11 wins by KO (48%)
- Hasn’t lost since 2015
Juan “The Spaniard’ Archuleta is a contender that few champions would look forward to facing. Juan made his presence felt in Bellator when he debuted against William Joplin in early 2018. Since his debut he has fought 4 more times and 2 of his 5 Bellator wins are by KO. Juan carrier SERIOUS power in his hands and is very fluid and fast. Juan trains out of Joe Stevenson’s Cobra Kai gym and hast lost since way back in 2015!
Patricio Freire Stats:
- 32 years old
- 72% finish rate
- Current Bellator Featherweight champion
Patricio “Pitbull’ is one of the fighters who has put Bellator on the map! He has long been regarded as one of their staple fighters and champions with wins over the likes of Michael Chandler and Benson Henderson. While Pitbull is only 32 years old he has an insane level of experience with 33 fights in his pro career. Patricio trains out of the Black House and Team Nogueria in Brazil and is a black belt in BJJ. Patricio has competed both and lightweight and at featherweight and will be the smaller fighter here by quite a large margin. Even though these men are the same age it feels like Juan is rising and Patricio has more miles on his body. Combine that with the height and reach advantage that Juan Archuelta will enjoy in this fight and I think Patricio has his hands full. On our UFC Picks, I am going to take Juan Archuleta for the upset here by being the more dynamic striker, keeping Patricio on the end of his long rangy strikes, and he might even win with a flashy KO.
Pick: Juan Archuleta +125 with 5Dimes