BELLATOR 167 PRIMER: Ecochard’s Preview & Predictions including Taimanglo vs. Caldwell, Lawrence vs. Teixeira, Fialho vs. Njokuani

By Matthew Ecochard, MMATorch contributor

Saturday night hosts the second Bellator card in two nights. This card lost its original main event of Patricky Freire vs. Derek Campos and it will now be headlined by Joe Taimanglo and Darrion Caldwell in a bantamweight bout. Continue reading for previews and predictions for the main card:

Bellator Main Card

Andre Fialho (8-0) vs. Chidi Njokuani (15-4) – Welterweight Bout:

A striking battle between Andre Fialho and Chidi Njokuani will likely end in a knockout to start the night off. Fialho has finished seven of his eight wins by T/KO and one by submission, never getting past the second round. Chidi Njokuani is a Muay Thai and kickboxing fighter and is the brother of former UFC fighter of Anthony Njokuani. The gas tank and experience will most likely go to Njokuani, but the power will be on the side of Fialho. A fun stylistic striking bout will be highly entertaining until a finish, look for either a late first round finish by Fialho or a third round finish by Njokuani.

Prediction: Andre Fialho via KO Round 1

Emily Ducote (4-1) vs. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (4-0) – Women’s Flyweight Bout

Known for her brutal beating of a soccer mom looking fighter in her professional debut, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane has won three more fights against more competent competition. Her striking is crisp and her ground game is nothing to scoff at. Her opponent Emily Ducote is of a similar record but has tasted defeat once before. Since her first fight which was also her only loss, Ducote has become a stronger fighter with a decent ground game. This is the biggest test for both women so far and the winner will be poised for another step up in competition in the Bellator women’s flyweight division. Look for a fairly even battle, but Macfarlane should have the advantage on the feet.

Prediction: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane via Unanimous Decision

Justin Lawrence (9-3) vs. John Teixeira (18-1-2) – Featherweight Bout

Justin Lawrence is a very high level kickboxer and boxer who has had some mild success in mixed martial arts. The wrestling game of Lawrence has kept him from having a better run in the sport, but he could still improve as he hasn’t even hit his prime years yet. John Teixeira has only one blemish on his record, when he missed weight for his first and only UFC fight and lost to Hugo Viana. The grappling of Teixeira will most likely lead to a victory for him, but a possibility of Lawrence getting a knockout is always present. A more tedious affair is most likely and the win will not do too much for Teixeira’s stock.

Prediction: John Teixeira via Split Decision

Joe Taimanglo (23-6-1) vs. Darrion Caldwell (9-1) – Bantamweight Main Event:

Prospect Darrion Caldwell is looking to get his revenge for his first loss to Joe Taimanglo in July.  Caldwell was undefeated and was looking like he could very well be a dominant champion. Being a NCAA D1 wrestler and champion certainly helped him get a strong start to his fighting career. Submissions are certainly becoming a strong suit for him, but Caldwell has made some changes coming into this rematch. Caldwell has changed camps and has apparently sharpened his focus to really try to get revenge. Joe Taimanglo upset the Bellator world when he got the upset victory over Caldwell with a third round guillotine choke. With another win here Taimanglo will solidify himself as a top contender in Bellator. Caldwell was winning their first bout, until he shot for that far reaching, sloppy takedown in the third. If he can keep his composure Caldwell should be able to get the win this time, he came close to finishing the fight in the first round last time. Look for a better training camp and some changes to really improve Caldwell’s game and make him look like a real contender.

Prediction: Darrion Caldwell via Submission Round 1

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