Going down September 16, Bellator 161 is the usual card filled filled with borderline freak show fights that are sure to be finished in the most ridiculous of ways. Their marketing team calls it a “Bellator moment”, we call hilarious. Let’s get to to the fights.


Heavyweight

Cheick Kongo vs. Tony Johnson

A long time veteran of the UFC heavyweight division, Kongo defected and has gone on to win six for his eight fights in Bellator. Kongo has been brilliant in fights with a good striking fundamentals, great takedown defense and a hell of a chin. While he has been KO/TKO by some of the heavyweight elite, he usually loses by decision.

Key to win:

  • Establish distance early
  • Mix it up with kicks at the end of combinations
  • Stay off the cage and the mat

Tony johnson is 10-2 in his career with his two wins coming from solid fighters (Daniel Cormier & Chris Lokteff). He now train with former competitor Cormier at AKA and like most fighter from AKA, Tony has a very heavy wrestling game.  

Keys to win:

  • Don’t give Kongo any space
  • Spam takedowns
  • Focus on defense if forced to striked

Prediction: Kongo by Decision


Bantamweight

Joe Warren vs. Sirwan Kakai

Former two weight division champ and self proclaimed baddest man on earth will try to get back in the win column friday night. Warren was a highly decoracted amatuer wrestler before starting MMA. Joe has fallen to the fallacy most wrestlers fall into once they KO someone for the first time. This fights seems like an underhand pitch from Scott Coker to get Joe in the title hunt again.

Keys to victory:

  • Make this a wrestling match
  • Pressure Kakai to the cage
  • Don’t stay on the outside

Sirwan is a UFC wash out going 1-1 against low-level bantam weights. His Bellator debut didn’t go much better losing a decision to Joe Taimanglo. This is a huge step up for Sirwan, one that probably isn’t deserved looking at his recent fights. He wins more often than not by submission but won’t have the wrestling advantage to get it there.

Keys to victory:

  • Guillotines
  • Sweeps
  • Front Kicks

Prediction: Joe Warren by TKO in the 2nd


Women's Flyweight

Anastasia Yankova vs. Veta Arteaga

Two green undefeated females will go toe-to-toe. With only 5 professional fights between them, I am expecting a fast pace fun fight that is loose on technique. Anastaia has won her three fight via armbar or some variation. Why fix it if it ain’t broke yet?

Keys to win:

  • Takedowns & armbars

Veta is dropping down from 135 lbs to a division her body type is better suited for. Tape on her is very limited but she has decent head movement with her boxing heavy striking style, good cardio, mediocre wrestling.

Keys to win:

  • Sprawl & brawl

Prediction: Veta by Decision


Lightweight

Derek Campos vs. Djamil Chan

Campos keeps flirting with being an elite lightweight in Bellator but hasn’t been able to get that signature win yet (unless you consider beating Melvin Guillard as still an impressive win).

Keys to victory:

  • Push the pace
  • Get in Djamil’s face early and test him
  • Threaten with wrestling to set up strikes

Djamil is a prospect on a 7 fight win streak trying to make a name for himself in the crowded Bellator lightweight division. Chan should have the power and striking advantage in this fight and work to take advantage of that.

Keys to victory:

  • Avoid extended scrambles
  • Set the pace
  • Make Derek pay for takedown attempts

Prediction: Derek by Split Decision

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