MAIN EVENT: Benson Henderson v. Roger Huerta
Roger Huerta will make his return to Bellator, after almost eight years away from the promotion, against a struggling Benson Henderson. Henderson has lost three of his four fights in Bellator, with his lone win coming by way of opponent injury after Patricio Pitbull stopped himself due to a leg injury. Bendo will look to regain form against Huerta but will have to come out and stay aggressive throughout the entire fight. Even though Huerta was away from Bellator, it doesn’t mean he was away from fighting. He has won his last two fights but could find himself in conditioning trouble against a fighter that has made his living going the distance. Of Henderson’s 32 fights, 16 of them have gone to decision. If Bendo can apply pressure throughout this fight, and secure a few takedowns, he could secure a win and get back on track.
PREDICTION- Henderson, 3rd RD (Decision)
CO-MAIN EVENT: Adam Borics v. Teodor Nikolov
Borics is sporting an impressive 6-0 record, four by submission, ahead of his Bellator 196 matchup against first-timer, Teodor Nikolov. In Borics’ last fight against Anthony Taylor, he showed patience and poise causing Taylor to become overly aggressive and ultimately getting submitted (RNC). While Borics ground game seems impressive, don’t sleep on the submissions of Nikolov. Teodor enters the contest riding a six-fight win streak, four by submission and two TKO. The Russian competitor has finished all 11 of his wins, eight by submission. Ground position and striking will be key factors in this fight, and I like Borics standup in this matchup.
PREDICTION- Borics, 2nd RD (TKO)
FLYWEIGHT: Denise Kielholtz v. Petra Castkova
Denise Kielholtz is a 5-time kickboxing champion and is looking to throw bombs against Petra Castkova. In her Bellator debut, the Bellator kickboxing champ made some very quick work of Jessica Middleton, landing some crisp combinations that forced Middleton into the clinch. Not known for her power, Kielholtz typically wears down opponents, but with her Judo background, she was able to throw Middleton and submit her via armbar. Kielholtz does have some work to do in her ground game, her head and arm throw could have resulted in her opponent taking her back, but if those issues are focused on during this camp, it could be another quick night for Kielholtz. Petra Castkova does have three wins by way of decision, with one decision loss and one TKO loss.
PREDICTION- Kielholtz, 1st RD (SUB)
FEATHERWEIGHT: Brian Moore v. Giorgio Belsanti
Brian Moore is coming off a back and forth contest against undefeated AJ McKee, that saw the Irish fighter give McKee some serious trouble in the second round of that November contest. McKee was able to secure a rear-naked choke to seal his victory, but it was still a good fight against a talented opponent. Moore is 1-2 inside the Bellator cage, with his other loss coming against Daniel Weichel on short notice. Belsanti has won his only Bellator contest by way of a unanimous decision against Vando de Almeida at Bellator 176.
PREDICTION- Moore, 2nd RD (KO)
CATCHWEIGHT: Ed Ruth v. Ion Pascu
The (in my opinion) best contest of the main card features the surging Ed Ruth against Ion Pascu. Ruth is a highly decorated wrestler from Penn State University and is considered one of the best wrestlers to cross over into MMA. Aside from his excellent wrestling, Ruth’s striking is equally impressive as he sits at 4-0 inside the Octagon, with all four finishes by TKO! The power and speed of the Pennsylvania native are hard to match, especially with his ability to change levels and take an opponent down at will. Pascu will have his hands full with the legitimate up-and-coming star in this matchup.
PREDICTION- Ruth, 2nd RD (TKO)