Bellator 242: “Bandejas vs. Pettis” involves Mohegan Solar Area in Uncasville, Conn., tomorrow evening (Fri., July 24, 2020), streaming on DAZN (watch it) and airing on Paramount Community. After a three-month hiatus due to the world pandemic, Bellator MMA returns to the location of the present they had been compelled to postpone seeking to make a recent begin.

Let’s break it down:

135 lbs.: Ricky Bandejas (13-3) vs. Sergio Pettis (19-5)

The Bantamweight division has been in a state of flux since Kyoji Horiguchi vacated the title final November. Quite a few fighters are vying for the chance to fill his sneakers, however the absence of stay Bellator MMA occasions has made it arduous for any of them to have sufficient momentum to be thought of subsequent in line.

Bellator’s personal publicity for this card has modified the maths by referring to each males as “high contenders” within the division, and with a 3rd straight win the victor can declare he has earned a title shot because of this. Bandejas takes his sixth combat for the promotion on Friday evening, and completed each Ahmet Kayretli and Frans Mlambo by knockout at Bellator 225 and Bellator 240, respectively. Any type of victory over Sergio Pettis could be spectacular, however a end would make the identical type of assertion he did by knocking off James Gallagher.

Nonetheless, Pettis didn’t go away UFC behind simply to be another person’s stepping stone. A victory over Tyson Nam at Flyweight appeared to open new doorways for the skilled fighter, however he selected to leap ship and return to Bantamweight. He validated that alternative with a primary spherical submission at Bellator 238 in January and now appears poised to leapfrog divisional mainstays with a win in Uncasville. With former champ Darrion Caldwell within the Featherweight Grand Prix, there’s nobody to cease him from doing that — besides Bandejas.

Relying on who you consider Bandejas is both 5’7” or 5’10” (that’s a reasonably sizable discrepancy), however most sources peg him as having a 70-inch attain. Due to his lengthy UFC tenure, Pettis’ particulars are extra established — he’s 5’6” at his tallest and has a 69-inch attain. Given his veteran expertise and the highest caliber of individuals he works with at Roufusport, not the least of which is his brother, one inch in both division is meaningless. The most important downside for the youthful Pettis is his lack of ability to get the end, going to a call 63 p.c of the time (12 of 19 wins).

For Bandejas it’s completely the alternative story. Slightly below 50 p.c of his wins (six of 13) come by type of knockout, whereas practically 1 / 4 (23 p.c) come by submission. He additionally appears extremely snug in his rise up, which is a credit score to the coaching he did below Nick Catone. His motion out and in of vary is fluid, his footwork is exact, and he’s by no means been knocked out in a loss. Two submissions, one choice, that’s it. He’s typically the youthful man in fights however at 26 years outdated Pettis has him by two in that division. Given each males are of their 20’s and it’s a three-round combat stamina gained’t be a major issue, so regardless of an expertise edge for Pettis it nonetheless seems like that is Ricky’s time to shine.

Closing prediction: Ricky Bandejas through third spherical technical knockout

170 lbs.: Jason Jackson (11-4) vs. Jordan Mein (31-12)

The place hasn’t Jordan Mein been at this level in his profession? KOTC, Rumble within the Cage, Strikeforce, UFC, he’s finished all of it … besides Bellator MMA. After 43 skilled fights and a two-year absence from the game, it may need appeared unrealistic for Mein to start out over once more in a brand new league, however he does enter the fray on a two combat win streak having bested each Erick Silva and Alex Morono. I wouldn’t have picked “The Ass-Kicking Machine” Jason Jackson because the man to shake off the ring rust with, however fighters are a special breed from us mere mortals. With half of his wins (16 of 31) coming by knockout, he definitely gained’t be afraid to face and bang, which surprisingly is worse for Jackson normally. He will get in firefights and hurts his opponents, however they land counter photographs or takedowns and he loses the benefit. As a lot as he likes to entertain he does that with Mein at his personal peril.

Closing prediction: Jordan Mein through first spherical knockout

145 lbs.: Tywan Claxton (6-1) vs. Jay-Jay Wilson (5-0)

In contrast to our earlier two fights, “veteran expertise” doesn’t enter into the equation right here. That’s not a foul factor since what they lack in variety of fights they make up for in pleasure. Jay-Jay Wilson has completed all 5 of his Bellator MMA fights and is understood for getting the job finished in spherical one. Tywan Claxton famously made his professional debut with a flying knee knockout in 89 seconds. The distinction right here could also be that Wilson doesn’t know the sting of defeat, whereas Claxton reinvented himself after a loss to take a unanimous choice at Bellator 235. It’s arduous to wager in opposition to a fighter who sees the deficiencies in his personal recreation plan and decides he doesn’t at all times need to go for a flashy knockout or submission.

Closing prediction: Tywan Claxton through unanimous choice

145 lbs.: Aaron Pico (5-3) vs. Chris Hatley Jr. (8-2)

Talking of deficiencies, right here’s Aaron Pico! I’m kidding. Pico is a really succesful fighter who labored arduous to beat the sting of back-to-back losses to Henry Corrales and Adam Borics. And his second spherical knockout of “Scary” Daniel Carey suggests he’s again on observe. The athletic credentials he has as a Golden Gloves boxer and Olympic-level wrestler are virtually impeccable, so the one factor that hurts Pico is making psychological errors on the incorrect time. One would suppose that Greg Jackson has now efficiently drilled that out of him week by week and month by month in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A cut up choice win at Bellator 239 over the extremely touted Gaston Bolanos earned Hatley this combat, however none of his prior wins on the minor circuit counsel he’s confronted anybody else at Pico’s stage, so it’s Pico’s combat to lose.

Closing prediction: Aaron Pico through second spherical technical knockout

That’s a wrap! will ship protection of Bellator 242 tomorrow stay on Paramount Community and DAZN. To take a look at the most recent Bellator MMA-related information and notes you’ll want to hit up our complete information archive proper right here.