The Bellator 203 doubleheader is underway this weekend with a Saturday card at Foro Italico in Rome, Italy (Bellator 202 article here). With six fights slated for this international fight card, we will be introduced to a few up and coming fighters from the surrounding area. In this preview, we will only cover the feature three matchups, but predictions will be cast for all six matchups.
Andrey “Spartan” Koreshkov (20-2) vs. Vaso “Psychopath” Bakocevic (33-17-1)
Andrey Koreshkov will enter his 14th battle under the Bellator moniker against a veteran opponent Vaso Bakocevic, who will be making his Bellator debut. This fight showcases a lot of experience, as both fighters have combined for 72 professional fights. The Spartan has not only fought for Bellator since 2012 but has tasted the pinnacle of the promotion, holding, defending, and eventually losing the welterweight title. Koreshkov will be looking to continue his case of being a top contender with another impressive win against the experienced “Psychopath”. With an impressive 33 wins, Vaso is a fighter that lives and dies by his standup. Yes, he has 33 wins and 17 have come by way of KO, but of his 17 losses, 11 have also come via KO. It can be risky for either fighter to decide to stand and trade strikes, and the slight advantage on the ground seems to go to Bakocevic, who has eight submission victories on his resume. Fight IQ may be the difference maker, and the Spartan is one of the craftiest fighters in Bellator. He has been known to approach a fight with a strategy that in no way “mimics his style”. He defeated Douglas Lima for the world title using a series of takedowns, a style of fighting that Koreshkoc is certainly not known for. However this shapes up, MMA fans will be treated to a war in Rome!
PREDICTION: Andrey Koreshkov- TKO (RND 1)
Alessio “Legionarius” Sakara (19-12) vs. Jamie Sloane (8-4)
This matchup features two fighters coming off of losses in their last fights. Sakara lost to Rafael Carvalho in a battle for the welterweight world title. Carvalho, the champion at the time, was able to finish Sakara very early in round one via TKO to defend his belt. Sloane also lost in the first round of his last fight, falling to Karlos Vemola by submission (RNC) as he headlined the XFN (X Fight Nights) main event. Looking at the records of both fighters can tell a small story in itself. Of Sloane’s four losses, three have come by way of KO. Similarly, Alessio has been finished eight times (5 KO, 3 Sub), showing a tendency of the two fighters to fight aggressively, despite the dangers of being caught themselves. A fight like that is where casual and hardcore fans are entertained to the fullest. It is fitting that this card is set in Rome, as we are liable to watch a gladiatorial style of fight take place! Legionarius has the slight advantage in my mind with the experience and caliber of opponent he has faced, but I expect a VERY fun fight!
PREDICTION: Alessio Sakara- KO (RND 1)
Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (26-4) vs. Daniel “Drake” Weichel (39-9)
Just as **SPOILER ALERT** Julia Budd defended her featherweight title on Friday night, Patricio Pitbull will look to remain atop the Bellator featherweight division with a win over Daniel Weichel. The last time these two warriors met, Drake (Weichel) was able to drop Pitbull in the last seconds of round one, only to have Pitbull end the fight 32 seconds into round two with a comeback KO. Weichel has had to wait just five days shy of three years for his rematch, and the setting could not be any more perfect. The fight takes place in the shadow of the Colosseum, a stage revered for its violence and mayhem. I don’t expect this fight to be any different. While Weichel looks to earn his revenge on the younger Pitbull brother, Patricio will look to add to his legacy in the Bellator promotion! This fight will mark 29 Bellator appearances between the two fighters (Pitbull 19th, Weichel 10th) marking a relatively rare occurrence where two promotion vets go head-to-head. Looking at the fight finishing statistics, Pitbull has a slight edge in KO victories (9) while Drake leads in submission victories (22). I would expect Weichel to respect the striking of Patricio a touch more this go around, but I believe he has the confidence to stand and trade. I would like to see him use the striking enough to produce an opening in which he can get Freire to the ground for submission work.
Even though I made the mistake of going against the champ last night and it bit me…
PREDICTION: Daniel Weichel- Decision (RND 5)
The remaining card predictions:
Alen Amedovski (5-0) vs. Will Fluery (4-0)
PREDICTION: Will Fluery- TKO (RND 3)
Michele Martignoni (4-0) vs. Simone D’Anna (4-1)
PREDICTION: Simone D’Anna- Decision (RND 5)
Simone La Preziosa (3-4) vs. Maxim Radu (8-1)
PREDICTION: Maxim Radu- TKO (RND 1)