Weekend Breakdown & Preview: Bellator 182

Live from Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York on Spike TV and Bellator.Spike.com, Fri, Aug 25, 2017

--- Main Card (Spike TV: 9:00 PM EST/6:00 PM PST) ---

Welterweight - 170 lbs: Andrey Koreshkov (19-2) vs Chidi Njokuani (17-4)

Catchweight - 178 lbs: Brennan Ward (14-5) vs Fernando Gonzalez (26-14)

Featherweight - 145 lbs: AJ McKee (8-0) vs Blair Tugman (10-6)

Flyweight - 125 lbs: Veta Arteaga (3-1) vs Bruna Ellen (3-1)

 

--- Prelims (Bellator.Spike.com: 6:30 PM EST/3:30 PM PST) ---

Featherweight - 145 lbs: Georgi Karakhanyan (26-7-1) vs Daniel Pineda (22-12)

Featherweight - 145 lbs: Sinead Kavanagh (4-1) vs Arlene Blencowe (9-6)

Featherweight - 145 lbs: Henry Corrales (13-3) vs Noad Lahat (11-2)

Welterweight - 170 lbs: Ricky Rainey (12-4) vs Marc Stevens (22-10)

Middleweight - 185 lbs: Chris Honeycutt (9-1) vs Kevin Casey (9-5-2)

Flyweight - 125 lbs: Colleen Schneider (11-7) vs Kate Jackson (8-2-1)

Welterweight - 170 lbs: Matt Secor (8-4) vs TJ Sumler (5-6)

Light Heavyweight - 205 lbs: Philipe Lins (10-2) vs Vadim Nemkov (7-2)

Welterweight - 170 lbs: Tom Regal (1-0) vs Kastriot Xhema (1-0)

Bantamweight - 135 lbs: Brandon Polcare (1-1) vs Michael Taylor (0-0)

Catchweight - 175 lbs: Joey Davis (1-0) vs J.T. Roswell (1-1)

Featherweight - 145 lbs: Talita Nogueira (6-0) vs Amanda Bell (5-4)

Flyweight - 125 lbs: Josh Ricci (3-0) vs Billy Windrum (0-0)

Flyweight - 125 lbs: Kristi Lopez (2-0) vs Jessica Sotack (1-1)

---

     Just one day before the biggest event in combat sports history goes down, Bellator MMA will host their own event.  While it may not be all that big when it comes to the magnitude, it will definitely be a loaded night of great action as Bellator 182 plays host to a whopping eighteen total bouts.  If you are a true die hard MMA fan, you will not want to miss this one.

 

Schneider vs Jackson

Veterans of The Ultimate Fighter will collide at Flyweight when Colleen Schneider and Kate Jackson meet in the cage.  Schneider, who lost to a fellow veteran, Shayna Baszler in the elimination round of season 18 will be making her second appearance in the Bellator cage after a successful debut.  Schneider has gone 5-1 since the beginning of 2015 with her only loss being to the then Invicta FC Bantamweight champion, Tonya Evinger, making it the best run of her career to this point.

As for the TUF 23 contestant, Jackson, the eventual winner of her season, Tatiana Suarez would be the one to defeat her on the show.  That loss being her only loss in her last eight bouts.  Her last before that coming to current UFC Strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk.  So it's fair to say that neither lady has lost to easy competition lately.

Being the more natural of the two at Flyweight should give Jackson somewhat of an edge since she will be more comfortable at 125.  But she will also be facing a size disadvantage since Schneider has fought most of her career at 135 and even missed weight for her last bout at 125.  Jackson has also competed in the 115 lb Strawweight division before.

On the feet, Jackson should have the slight advantage when it comes to her technique as she's primarily a striker but that's not to say that Schneider can't mix it up either. Her size advantage should be a pretty big factor in this one as Schneider can hang with Jackson on the feet but her easiest path to victory will be on the ground as we saw when Suarez fought Jackson and just from watching Schneider in the past and knowing that she's bigger.  If they were more similarly sized, this could be a better match up but because of the difference, it's hard to imagine Jackson pulling it off.

Prediction: Schneider RD2 Sub

 

Arteaga vs Ellen

Rising stars in the Bellator Flyweight division will go at it to kick off the main card. Veta Arteaga has quickly become a fan favorite since her exciting battles with fellow rising stars in Anastasia Yankova and Brooke Mayo. Arteaga didn't come out with the victory on that night vs Yankova, but it was a close affair and many believed she should have. 

Arteaga is a very scrappy fighter who never backs down which stylistically can make this a very fun fight. Bruna Ellen is very aggressive off of counters as she usually follows up with multi strike combos that have caused trouble for her opponents in the past. As seen in Ellen's last fight against Carmella James, she is also great at timing her takedowns on the end of punch combos or when countering her opponent.

If Veta finds herself on her back she shouldn't be in too much trouble when it comes to submission threats but Ellen has shown to have some relentless ground and pound when she has the chance to unleash it. Veta's durability and toughness can help her out in this scenario but she would obviously like to avoid that. Something she very well can avoid with her great scramble ability as seen against Mayo when she found herself with Mayo on her back on multiple different occasions throughout the fight. No matter who comes out on top, it should be fun while it lasts.

Prediction: Ellen SD

 

Ward vs Gonzalez

Brennan Ward has proven to be one of the most exciting prospects in Bellator's Welterweight division. His opponent Fernando Gonzalez will be more than happy to help him put on a show. In Gonzalez' last seven fights he has gone 6-1 with his lone loss coming to young phenom, Michael "Venom" Page. In what was a rather uneventful bout, Gonzalez still earned a vote from one of the judges in the split decision loss.

Page is a counter heavy striker. Gonzalez enjoys countering himself...unlike Ward who generally starts most exchanges and does so fearlessly. There's no way this fight turns into a ground war and a KO should very well be expected. That is unless Ward gets hurt and looks to get it to the mat. Gonzalez should have the edge in this match up just for his ability to take big shots...something Ward finds himself having trouble with more and more lately. But it may not matter if he can land the right punch as he's shown to have legitimate power with 9 of his 14 wins coming from KO/TKO.

Prediction: Ward UD

 

Koreshkov vs Njokuani

Another Welterweight showcase takes place in the main event with former Bellator champion, Andrey Koreshkov taking on younger brother of WEC and UFC veteran, Anthony Njokuani, Chidi Njokuani. Coming off a title losing effort to current champion, Douglas Lima, Koreshkov will be looking to rebound with a big win and Njokuani will look to extend his win streak to eight and potentially fight for the title next.

Both men are very powerfully precise and diverse with their striking arsenals. Every kick Njokuani throws is with ill intent and he favors the right straight followed by a left body kick. A combo of his that very rarely doesn't find success. His leg and head kicks are also very strong. Koreshkov is equally as diverse with his attacks if not more so. He often throws awkwardly accurate flying knees as well as spinning wheel kicks generally several times a fight and has knocked out opponents with both strikes.

Koreshkov's aggression cost him in his last bout with Lima as he jabbed and uppercutted his way right into a big left hook against the cage that shut the lights out. This was on the defensive for Lima and since Njokuani favors the right hand Koreshkov shouldn't have to worry too much about a repeat in results. But that doesn't mean he couldn't get caught again. Closing the distance on Njokuani will be a big key to victory for Koreshkov. Both Njokuani and Koreshkov have great killer instinct and will pursue a finish when they smell blood. Each has put opponents away with heavy ground and pound after hurting and dropping opponents. 

When it comes to the striking battle, this should be a fantastic display of kickboxing. As for the ground games of each, Koreshkov has a clear advantage due to his Pankration background. Koreshkov actually won gold at the 2010 World Combat Games in Beijing as well as gold at the World Championships in Krakow. The question is just whether or not Koreshkov will want to take it to the ground. This is truly one of those times that I really wish Bellator's main events were five rounds.

Prediction: Koreshkov UD

 

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