Bellator 221: Chandler vs Pitbull Preview

By Christian Moore, MMATorch Contributor

Fight #1: Jake Hager vs T.J. Jones

Can you see freakshow? Well, to be fair, Jake Hager fka WWE’s Jack Swagger does have a lot of talent, and potential winning his first fight, but he isn’t the freakshow part of this fight. His opponent, T.J. Jones is a meat factory worker with a 1-1 MMA record. It’s obvious what Bellator is doing here, as Bellator occasionally gives potential stars feed um’ fights before there rise, as they don’t want future stars falling quickly. Sure it happens on occasion that the feed um’ guy gets the win ala Zach Freeman beating Aaron Pico, or Ricky Bandejas defeating James Gallagher, but it just doesn’t happen that often. So while this isn’t a prediction article, the outcome seems as predetermined as Hager’s WWE days.

Fight #2: A.J. McKee vs Pat Curran

Oh man, on to the good stuff. In this bout, we see undefeated star in A.J. McKee challenging the former Bellator champ in Pat Curran. McKee enters the fight as the man with the most consecutive wins in Bellator history, having all 13 of his fights occur in the Bellator cage. While McKee is mainly a grappler, his striking is also very incredible and is often underestimated. McKee, despite his great record though, draws by far his toughest opponent yet. The former 2x Bellator Featherweight champ in Curran was the dominant champ not all that long ago. After losing his belt to Daniel Straus, he soon regained it, only to lose it again, this time to Pitbull.

He would lose his next fight after, but since has rebounded with 3 consecutive wins. In a fight that most likely sees the winner draw Pitbull next, this fight is huge. It may be overlooked completely after the card wraps up, but is a huge fight for both. McKee looks to become #4 to defeat Curran, joining the list of only multi-time champions, and challengers in Pitbull, Straus, and Weichel, and grab that title shot as a nice perk. Curran, on the other hand, looks to get back to the top and win gold for the 3rd time in his career.

Fight #3: Douglas Lima vs Michael Page in the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix Semi-Finals

Man is this a good one. In our co-main event, we see the first Semi-Final of the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix, in which the winner gets a title shot in there next fight. In the red corner, is former 2x Welterweight champ Douglas Lima, who looks to get back to his belt. Lima holds an astonishing 13-3 record in the Bellator cage, with his only losses being in title fights. Lima sees himself across from potentially one of the hottest prospects ever in MVP. MVP who really no longer is a prospect, but a star, holds an undefeated 14-0 record coming into the fight.

Despite fighting and defeating great fighters in his last few fights with Daley and Rickels, they don’t really compare to this test. MVP is terrific striker, and won’t be beaten on the feet, but his opponent Douglas Lima, isn’t really known for his standing game, but his ground and pound. Sure he can strike, and sure MVP can defend the takedown, but both are miles above the other in each. The question is, will MVP be able to keep the fight standing, and able to pick apart Lima on the feet, or is Lima able to land a takedown, or able to stand and trade. Contrasting styles meet, with a huge opportunity awaiting the winner.


Main Event: Michael Chandler vs Patricio Pitbull for the Bellator Lightweight Championship

So if this fight doesn’t excite the hell out of you, then you haven’t watched Bellator enough. As far as fights go with massive names (still in their primes), this is it. This is possibly the best Featherweight in the world vs possibly one the best Lightweights in the world. This is Bellator’s #1 and #2 guys possibly of all time. In a fight that has been teased and built in the past, something has always fallen through, whether it be an unfortunate Pitbull injury, or failed plans, but eventually, it had to happen.

And here it is. The champion, Michael Chandler, despite having setbacks in his Bellator career, has remained dominant holding a 7-1 record, with his only loss coming to the hand’s, or should I say legs of Brent Primus, after he broke his leg on a blocked leg kick. Despite being promised an immediate rematch with Primus, repeated injuries hit Primus, but Chandler didn’t sit out, instead nabbing two wins before finally regaining his title just last December.

Pitbull stands across the corner from Chandler and looks to become Bellator’s second Champ Champ. In a feud that became personal after Chandler KO’s Patricio’s brother Patricky in vicious fashion, has seen it become more throughout the years. Pitbull is known as one of the best and in my mind the best featherweight out there having the most wins in Bellator at 16, and most finishes at 10. Despite coming up short in his first title shot, Pitbull didn’t stay out of it long eventually getting a rematch, and winning the belt.

Pitbull would defend it a couple of times, before eventually losing to Daniel Straus. After the Straus loss, Pitbull turned his eye to Chandler, and one fight later saw himself in a #1 contenders fight against Benson Henderson, in which he would lose after breaking his foot after throwing a kick, suffering his only loss by “finish” in his career. Moving back down, Pitbull would steamroll Straus to get his belt back, and since defended it twice. Now he finally gets the fight he wants. 2 of the best fighters in the world fight each other in a personal battle, and in a fight that is sure to deliver.

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