MMA ODDS AND ENDS FOR THURSDAY: INITIAL REACTIONS TO NEW BELLATOR BOUTS

Bellator has announced two or three big fights for upcoming fight cards, and I will give my thoughts on these new matchups in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Juan Archuleta vs. Ricky Bandejas, Bellator 214
Featherweight competition Juan Archuleta has decided to drop down to bantamweight and he’ll take on top prospect 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 latest victory being a choice 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 profession, to UFC vet Nick Pace, and he holds a remarkable win over present UFC bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili. That is such a fantastic fight between two fighters on the upswing, and it’s not an easy one to pick considering both men are extremely talented and both are driving tons of momentum into this battle. I think Archuleta is a bit more strong and proven, but Bandejas is a exceptional potential . 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 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 formerly defeated Cro Cop via TKO back at UFC 137 in 2011. Cro Cop (37-11-2, 1 NC) will be making his long-awaited Bellator debut on the heels of a nine-fight win streak, wiht lots of the wins coming from RIZIN. Nelson may have defeated Cro Cop the very first time, but according to Cro Cop’s long win streak and Nelson’s diminishing chin I would 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 consecutive wins over Fernando Gonzalez and Ion Pascu. The Pascu battle was supposed to be a welterweight tournament alternative bout, bout Bellator should figure they don’t need a repacement fighter so that they gave Larkin this battle against Koreshkov. Despite Larkin being a bit of a disappointment so far since signing a big free-agent contract with Bellator, he possesses knockout power which will consistently make him a danger to beat anybody in the division. Koreshkov (21-3) is 12-3 overall in Bellator and many 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 massive respect from bettors and I figure he wil be a small favorite here.
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