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

Bellator has declared two or three big fights for upcoming fight 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 competition Juan Archuleta has opted to drop down to bantamweight and he’ll take on top prospect Ricky Bandejas in Bellator 214, which takes place January 26 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. Archuleta (21-1) is on a 16-fight win streak 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 career, to UFC vet Nick Pace, and he holds a remarkable triumph over present UFC bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili. That is such a good battle between two fighters on the upswing, and it is not an easy one to select considering both men are incredibly talented and both are riding a great deal of momentum into this battle. I believe Archuleta is somewhat more strong and recognized, but Bandejas is a special potential . Look 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 set to rematch in Bellator 217, occurring February 16 at 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 in an upset. Nelson previously defeated Cro Cop through TKO back in UFC 137 at 2011. Cro Cop (37-11-2, 1 NC) will soon be making his long-awaited Bellator introduction on the heels of a nine-fight win series, wiht lots of the wins coming from RIZIN. Nelson might have defeated Cro Cop the first time, but according to Cro Cop’s long win streak and Nelson’s declining chin I’d have to prefer 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, taking place March 29 at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California. Larkin (20-7, 1 NC) is only 2-2 so far in Bellator, but he’s coming off of successive wins over Fernando Gonzalez and Ion Pascu. The Pascu fight was supposed to be a welterweight tournament alternative bout, bout Bellator must figure they do not need a repacement fighter therefore that they gave Larkin this fight against Koreshkov. Despite Larkin becoming a bit of a disappointment so far since registering a big free-agent contract with Bellator, he still possesses knockout power that will always make him a danger to beat anyone in the division. Koreshkov (21-3) is 12-3 overall in Bellator and many recently lost by entry to Douglas Lima from the opening round of this welterweight tournament. His ground game and chin have looked shaky occasionally in Bellator, but like Larkin he is always a threat to win by knockout. This should be a very competitive fight but Koreshkov constantly gets enormous admiration from bettors and I figure he wil be a tiny favorite here.
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