Bellator 228 – Preview
Bellator has been on a roll with solid fight cards as of late — and as the caged circle anchors at the iconic Forum in Inglewood, Calif. this weekend, the Bellator 228 menu is set to continue the trend.
The highly anticipated, and stacked Featherweight World Grand Prix will see its opening round come to a conclusion on Saturday night, with the championship belt being on the line in the first portion of the main event double header, as Patricio “Pitbull” Freire is set to defend his title for the third time against Juan Archuleta. A thrilling matchup which will see one of the current double champs in “Pitbull” go up against a very formidable challenger.
“The Spaniard,” Archuleta, has only one defeat on his record (23-1), and his continued rise (undefeated since 2015) saw him quickly become one of the danger men in Bellator’s featherweight division. Both of these men are very durable and well rounded, meaning five rounds of war may very well be on the cards, and you have to think that whoever comes out of this one with their hand raised will emerge as the outright favorite to win the whole Grand Prix.
The other half of the main event is the light heavyweight blockbuster which will see veteran Lyoto Machida lock fists with former middleweight champ, Gegard Mousasi. An intriguing matchup of two decorated strikers with over 70 professional MMA bouts between them.
This contest also has an extra incentive for both of the fighters, as Machida holds a decision victory over Mousasi from their UFC days. The bout five years ago took place at middleweight. Now, both men are wiser, but also arguably more heavy handed, with Machida welcoming Mousasi to the light heavyweight division in what is set to be his second bout at 205 lbs (defeated Chael Sonnen in his debut).
Other than the star-studded main course, the main card also has some other gems worth looking out for.
For the first time in U.S. history, a father and son will feature on the same fight night together, with the undefeated A.J. McKee (14-0) — son of Antonio, who will be competing on the undercard — taking part in the Featherweight Grand Prix. The promising McKee will look to protect his flawless record and progress into the quarter finals against Georgi Karakhanyan.
Potential fireworks, also in the FWGP, are placed right in the middle of the main card, with Darrion Caldwell set to take on Henry Corrales. Fight fans will have circled this matchup as soon as it was scheduled, as there is a lot riding on this bout for both competitors. Former bantamweight champion, Caldwell, will look to bounce back in a new weight class after suffering consecutive losses at the hands of Kyoji Horiguchi, which saw him lose his own belt, as well as the chance to become the inaugural Rizin bantamweight king.
Corrales comes into Saturday riding a five fight win streak, including a resounding KO of Aaron Pico, and he will certainly fancy himself as one of the top contenders to take home the featherweight crown and the $1 million prize around this time next year.
Check out the full fight card below:
Patricio Freire vs. Juan Archuleta
Lyoto Machida vs. Gegard Mousasi
A.J. McKee vs. Georgi Karakhanyan
Darrion Caldwell vs. Henry Corrales
Daniel Weichel vs. Saul Rogers
Michael Jasper vs. Johnny Cisneros
Jay Viola vs. Jonathan Santa Maria
Joshua Jones vs. Dominic Clark
Weber Almeida vs. Castle Williams
Jason Edwards vs. Adrian Najera
Antonio McKee vs. William Sriyapai
Emilio Williams vs. Ian Butler
AJ Agazarm vs. Jonathan Quiroz
Andre Walker vs. Osman Diaz
Ava Knight vs. Shannon Goughary
James Barnes vs. David Duran
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Sports journalist based in CA, USA.