The Bellator cage is ready to host two nights of motion this weekend as Bellator 294 and 295 go down from Neal S. Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu. There’s lots to get enthusiastic about over the 2 nights, from a flyweight title battle to the finals of the Bellator Bantamweight World Grand Prix.
In the principle occasion of Bellator 294 on Friday, Liz Carmouche will put her flyweight title on the road for the second time since successful the belt when she rematches DeAnna Bennett. It’s the following step within the story of a longtime veteran who battled for years to develop into a champion for a significant group.
The two nights conclude with the finals of the Grand Prix, a battle the place Raufeon Stots will put his interim bantamweight championship on the road towards former world title challenger Patchy Mix. It’s a battle with large stakes each financially and for the legacy of each males.
With that in thoughts, let’s check out three of the largest storylines coming into this doubleheader weekend.
Stots and Mix battle for fame, fortune and alternative
Bantamweight would be the deepest division in blended martial arts and Bellator’s 135-pound division is consultant of that depth. Mix and Stots have needed to battle by way of two rounds of a event to reach on the Grand Prix finals. They now meet with legacy, a event title, the $1 million prize and interim title on the road.
For Mix, the battle can also be an opportunity to erase the sting of a loss in his first title alternative, a September 2020 choice loss to Juan Archuleta for the then-vacant bantamweight title. Mix got here out in that battle like a whirlwind of takedowns and submission makes an attempt however pale badly after the opening two rounds, fatiguing and permitting Archuleta to take over the battle on the toes. That battle was a studying expertise. Mix confirmed progress within the event’s first spherical, successful a pivotal fifth spherical towards former champion Kyoji Horiguchi to safe the choice.
Stots has an enormous and daring persona that would make him the face of the promotion. The Grand Prix has given Stots an opportunity to shine, scoring a highlight-reel knockout of Archuleta within the first spherical to win the interim belt after which having to grind out a win over trash-talking rival Danny Sabatello. Sabatello is the type of fighter who makes it unattainable to “look good” towards him, however Stots did the important thing factor and acquired the win.
Not solely does the winner safe all of the prizes talked about above, however they are going to be positioned to face the winner of the June 16 bantamweight title battle between champion Sergio Pettis and featherweight champion Patricio Pitbull. Stots vs. Mix is an enormous battle that solely serves to arrange an excellent greater battle.
Carmouche appears to increase her title reign
The story of Carmouche lastly successful a significant MMA championship was a feel-good one for longtime followers of the game. Carmouche had didn’t seize gold as soon as in Strikeforce and twice within the UFC. Carmouche has been good within the Bellator cage, successful 5 fights, two of which had been towards Juliana Velasquez for the flyweight title. Now, she strikes on to the primary recent challenger to her title and it is a acquainted face.
Carmouche already defeated DeAnna Bennett in September 2020. That battle was the Bellator debut for each ladies and the loss was Bennett’s third in a row. She has since rebounded with three straight wins, together with Justine Kish (twice) and Alejandra Lara. Carmouche is a wholly completely different problem than these ladies. Kish is 2-6 since 2017 and Lara is 2-6 since 2018.
Has Bennett turned her profession round towards some lower-tier opposition to the place she’s prepared for Carmouche? Or will Carmouche additional set up her dominance on the prime of the division?
When a fighter talks as a lot trash as Sabatello, struggling a loss to a rival may be devastating. Stots deserved the slender choice over Sabatello, however Sabatello does have the weird 50-45 card turned in by choose Douglas Crosby in his favor. It’s one thing to fall again on and declare he by no means “actually” misplaced the battle. In his coronary heart, he is aware of that successful is a very powerful factor going ahead. The bantamweight title image may be very clear proper now with Stots vs. Mix and Pettis vs. Pitbull. Sabatello must get again within the win column and preserve successful if he desires to be there ready when the mud settles. That begins Friday towards Marcos Breno.
Aaron Pico additionally is aware of lots about seeing hype come crashing down. Once believed to be arguably the most effective prospect within the historical past of the game, Pico made his skilled debut in Bellator solely to endure a loss in his first battle. He then misplaced his sixth and seventh fights. Starting in 2020, Pico appeared to have figured the sport out and rattled off six consecutive wins, seemingly positioning himself inside attain of a shot on the featherweight title. This previous October, Pico confronted off with Jeremy Kennedy solely to endure a dislocated shoulder within the first spherical, leading to a TKO loss by physician stoppage. Bad luck retains discovering Pico and now he has to get again on monitor Saturday when he faces James Gonzalez.
Both Sabatello and Pico will enter the cage as huge favorites and each want to supply a outcome that justifies these odds. Failure to take action for both man is a catastrophe they could not be capable of come again from.
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