Bellator declared to ESPN its forthcoming tentpole event, which is set to occur May 11 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. The card includes a number of fascinating matchups, and I’ll list them below along with my first thoughts in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Michael Chandler vs. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire, Bellator 221
The main event of Bellator 221 will be a five-round superfight between Bellator lightweight winner Michael Chandler and Bellator featherweight champion Patricio”Pitbull” Freire. Chandler’s belt will be up for grabs in this one as Pitbull is moving up in weight for a struggle that will ascertain arguably the greatest fighter in Bellator history. Chandler (19-4) is 16-4 in Bellator and just won back the lightweight title from Brent Primus in his final fight. He has won seven of the last eight fights overall and having a win here over Pitbull would solidify himself as the promotion’s greatest home-grown gift ever. Pitbull (28-4) can also be 16-4 in Bellator and is coming off of back-to-back featherweight title defenses over Emmanuel Sanchez and Daniel Wiechel. What a battle between two fights. Chandler will probably be preferred here as he is the bigger fighter, but Pitbull is a stud and should not be counted out. Based on the internet, Pitbull could be well worth a look as a dog.
Pat Curran vs. AJ McKee, Bellator 221
Former Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran will return to the cage when he chooses on rising star AJ McKee. Curran (23-7) is 13-4 overall in Bellator and is among the very best fighters to fight for the advertising. He’s really riding a three-fight win streak right now, though he has not fought as an October 2017 conclusion win over John Teixeira. McKee (13-0) made his Bellator and pro MMA introduction in October 2015 and hasn’t looked back since as he’s undefeated and contains buzzsawed through every opponent that Bellator has set his way. Curran is a good gatekeeper at this point of his career, but McKee is a true stud and I fully expect him to win this fight. There is no doubt that the undefeated rising star is going to be a huge favorite here.
Douglas Lima vs. winner of Paul Daley/Michael Page, Bellator 221
The semifinals of this Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix will take place with this card featuring Douglas Lima against the winner of the weekend’s Paul Daley vs. Michael Page fight. There is not much to say about this yet as he don’t know the matchup, however, Lima vs. both of those men makes for an awesome fight.
Jake Hager vs. TBA, Bellator 221
And Jake Hager will come back to the cage for his next MMA battle against a yet-to-be-named competition. Hager (1-0) submitted JW Kiser in his Bellator and MMA debut. He looks like a very intriguing heavyweight prospect considering his size and strength, though I’d expect Bellator to give him a second”can” because of his next battle as they continue to slow-build him. I have no doubt Bellator will be able to discover another Kiser clone and pay them a couple thousand bucks to get completed by Hager.
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