BELLATOR 167 PREVIEW: Grocke’s Preview & Predictions for the “Caldwell vs. Taimanglo” Spike TV live Saturday night line-up

By Michael Grocke, MMATorch contributor

Bellator 167 is again live from the WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma. The second night of Bellator’s back to back events features another rematch in the bantamweight division as Darrion Caldwell will look to avenge a submission loss in his previous fight to Joe Taimanglo in the night’s main event. The main card airs at 8:00pm (CST) on Spike.

The co-main event pits featherweights John Teixeira vs. Justin Lawrence in what should be an excellent fight. The next fight takes us to the women’s flyweight division as fast rising Ilima-Lei Macfarlane goes up against Emily Ducote. Back on the men’s side Chidi Njokuani takes on the dangerous Andre Fialho in a battle of welterweights.

Main Card

Darrion Caldwell (8-1) vs. Joe Taimanglo (23-6-1) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.

Joe Taimanglo enters Saturday night’s main event on a tear, winning his last four fights. He beat Darrion Caldwell via third round submission at Bellator 159, so he clearly comes into their second fight with confidence. This is a big fight for Taimanglo. A win here probably puts him one more win away from a title fight. He is one of the better fighters in the division and another win against Caldwell wouldn’t surprise me.

Darrion Caldwell was undefeated until Taimanglo handed him his first loss. Caldwell beat Joe Warren at Bellator 151 prior to losing to Taimanglo. I fully expect to see a better version of Darrion Caldwell on Saturday. Caldwell would be wise to take advantage of his superior wrestling skills and keep the fight on the ground where he can apply pressure and keep Taimanglo pinned to the canvass. He has to avoid getting caught in another choke while shooting in, which I think he will. Caldwell was winning their first fight using takedowns and ground and pound, and I expect the same this time around.

After this weekend’s main events, the next fight to make in the bantamweight division is Eduardo Dantas vs. Darrion Caldwell.

Pick: Caldwell by TKO

Justin Lawrence (9-3) vs. John Teixeira (20-1-2) – Featherweight 145 lbs.

Ultimate Fighter contestant Justin Lawrence steps in for the injured Pat Curran to face veteran,

John Teixeira. Lawrence is 2-1 since joining Bellator with both wins coming by TKO. His one loss was by decision to Emmanel Sanchez at Bellator 145.

John Teixeira hasn’t lost since June of 2012 back when he made an appearance for the UFC at UFC 147. He is 3-0 under the Bellator banner winning all three fights by decision. Fighting primarily in Brazil, Teixeira started his career 12-0-1. Saturday night’s fight against Justin Lawrence will be only the fourth time Teixeira has fought outside of Brazil.

I expect Teixeira to pressure Lawrence at the opening horn in an effort to end the fight quickly. As long as Justin Lawrence can make it through the early onslaught, I see the fight going his way.

Pick: Lawrence by decision

Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (4-0) vs. Emily Ducote (4-1) – Flyweight 125 lbs.

I’m really looking forward to this fight. Since a disappointing loss in her debut, Emily Ducote has run off four straight wins. She’s 2-0 since coming to Bellator with both wins by submission. Her most recent victory came at Bellator 161 where she submitted Kenya Miranda da Silva. The Oklahoma City native comes home where she hopes the hometown fans will be the advantage she needs against the toughest opponent of her young career.

Fast rising Hawaiian native, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane is undefeated in her young career. She made a name for herself in her very first fight when she knocked out Katie Castro ten seconds into the fight. Three of her four career wins are finishes. Her latest finish was against Rebecca Ruth at Bellator 157. This won’t be an easy fight for Macfarlane, but it’s a fight she will learn from while getting her fifth career win.

Pick: MacFarlane by decision

Chidi Njokuani (15-4) vs. Andre Fialho (7-0) – Welterweight 170 lbs.

Andre Fialho comes into Saturday’s fight looking to stay undefeated. Fialho is 3-0 in Bellator and has looked fantastic in each of his fights. All seven of his career wins have been finishes, and he has yet to see the second round since coming to Bellator. 

Chidi Njokuani is 2-0 under the Bellator banner, his last win was over Thiago Jambo Goncalves at Bellator 156. His strength lies in his striking, which makes him dangerous against anyone. The problem is Fialho also likes to stand, and is the better technical striker. Njokuani can get sloppy and leave himself open, and against a fighter with the striking ability of Fialho’s it can only lead to one thing.

Pick: Fialho by TKO

Prelims Quick Look

St. Romaine over Soto

Gary over Roberson

Phillips over Banaszak

Britton over Trice

Patterson over Ford

Enjoy the fights!

NOW CHECK OUT THE FULL CARD PREVIEW FOR FRIDAY NIGHT’S EVENT: BELLATOR 166 PREVIEW: Grocke’s Preview & Predictions for the “Dantas vs. Warren” Spike TV live Friday night line-up

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