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4 burning questions heading into Bellator 255

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4 burning questions heading into Bellator 255

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Observe @simonhead


Early Newspaper

Mohegan Solar Arena in Uncasville performs host to the Fightsphere as soon as extra as Bellator 255 kicks off the promotion’s 2021 agenda with its most dominant champion feature for motion within the major occasion.

The headline bout will hit upon two-division king Patricio Freire place aside his 145-pound title on the road against Emmanuel Sanchez in a title rematch within the semifinals of Bellator’s featherweight colossal prix.

Welterweight contenders Neiman Gracie and Jason Jackson will make combat in a pivotal co-major occasion bout at 170 pounds, while Colombian flyweight contender Alejandra Lara takes on unbeaten Japanese contender Kana Watanabe in a abundant fight within the girls folks’s flyweight division.

Throw within the promotional debut of rising Russian star Usman Nurmagomedov and the 2nd Bellator look of bantamweight contender Magomed Magomedov and all of it provides as much as a proper card of motion on Friday night.

Bellator 255 takes region Friday at Mohegan Solar Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The major card airs on Showtime following prelims on MMA Junkie.

Earlier than the occasion, we steal a gaze at four burning questions we’ll be looking out for solutions to when the opponents steal to the cage.

Patricio Freire (31-4 MMA, 19-4 BMMA) is using a 5-fight a hit roam, and has already defeated Juan Archuleta and Pedro Carvalho within the match to advance to the semifinals. Now he stands exact one opt faraway from the final, where A.J. McKee, and a shot at a take a look at for $1 million, look forward to.

Standing in his intention is Emmanuel Sanchez (20-4 MMA, 12-3 BMMA), who took “Pitbull” to the scorecards in a unanimous decision defeat at Bellator 209 in November 2018. Since that loss he’s received three in a row, with victories over Georgi Karakhanyan, Tywan Claxton and, most no longer too long ago, Daniel Weichel, as he has battled his intention into the match semis and a 2nd shot on the featherweight strap.

Freire may perchance be the abundant making a wager accepted going into the bout, however Sanchez’s gritty skill will give the Brazilian loads of complications to resolve on fight night. “Pitbull” has the finishing energy, however Sanchez has never been accomplished, and has the sturdiness and the gas tank to steal the fight into deep waters.

Can Sanchez spring a shock and outwork Freire to even the procure? Or will “Pitbull” blast his intention into the final, and a marquee matchup with the unbeaten McKee?

Bellator’s 170-pound division is shaping up wisely, with Douglas Lima currently on the head of the tree, with Michael Page chasing down a rematch and unbeaten Ukrainian Yaroslav Amosov loitering with intent, too.

But that’s no longer where Bellator’s welterweight title describe ends, and yet any other respectable title contender will emerge on Friday night when Neiman Gracie takes on Jason Jackson in a consuming conflict of contrasting combating kinds within the co-major occasion.

Given his surname, Gracie’s grappling chops should smooth advance as no shock. The Brazilian has mild his skills to reliable attain within the Bellator cage – seven of his eight promotional victories devour advance by technique of submission – as he has elevated his stock from scorching prospect to respectable contender.

But in Jackson (13-4 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) he’s facing a man within the most attention-grabbing save of his career. The Sanford MMA-trained contender is using a 3-fight a hit roam, along with his most up-to-date victory a unanimous decision over passe UFC mild-weight champion Benson Henderson at Bellator 253 final November. Now he has a shot at Gracie (10-1 MMA, 8-1 BMMA), colorful that a fourth straight victory may perchance well place aside him in a title eliminator subsequent time around.

Will Jackson’s wise putting display a hit, or will Gracie’s grappling mastery steal him one step closer to a title shot?

After struggling aid-to-aid losses to then-champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (by technique of third-round armbar) and present champ Juliana Velasquez (by technique of split decision), Colombia’s Alejandra Lara has bounced aid beautifully.

The 26-year-old accomplished Taylor Turner by technique of first-round TKO, then outpointed Veta Arteaga to bag the momentum she misplaced in 2018. Now she faces yet any other stern test of her credentials as she appears to be like to be to combat aid toward title competition, and a attainable rematch with Velasquez.

But to obtain there, she’ll devour at hand critical Japanese grappler Kana Watanabe, who is feature to obtain her first look on U.S. soil after her promotional debut in Saitama at Bellator 237 in December 2019.

Watanabe (9-0-1 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) has accomplished six of her 9 career victories to this level, and defeated Ilara Joanne by technique of third-round ground and pound on her promotional debut, and will sight so to add Lara (9-3 MMA, 3-2 BMMA) to her checklist of victims as she bids to gatecrash the flyweight title describe after exact two Bellator appearances.

With the girls folks’s 125-pound division looking out broad start in 2021, it’s a large opportunity for both girls folks, however most attention-grabbing one can advance from the Fightsphere on Friday.

Put out! There’s yet any other Nurmagomedov heading to the cage, and this time he’s a mild-weight with a penchant for knocking folks out.

Ethical just a few weeks after the UFC waved goodbye to unbeaten mild-weight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, his cousin Usman Nurmagomedov is feature to halt on the abundant stage with Bellator.

Usman (11-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) is undefeated, however slightly than favoring a grapple-first skill, his need is to strike, and 7 of his 11 career wins devour advance by technique of knockout or TKO. That’s no longer to express he’s no longer adept at snatching a submission or two, suggestions you. He has three submission victories to his title, too.

His Bellator debut will hit upon him face off against MMA Lab prospect Mike Hamel, who most no longer too long ago misplaced a split decision to Hungarian rising star Adam Borics in a 150-pound catchweight bout on his promotional debut at Bellator 243 final August. Hamel (7-4 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) hasn’t competed at 155 pounds since his educated debut, and Nurmagomedov shall be expected to kick off his Bellator career with a abundant opt. But we’ve considered scorching possibilities drop to shock defeats within the Bellator cage on loads of cases within the previous.

Will Nurmagomedov upward push to the occasion and bring an announcement performance on his Bellator debut, or will Hamel spring a shock and welcome the critical-hyped Russian to the abundant stage by handing him his first career loss?

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4 burning questions heading into Bellator 255

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