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MMA ODDS AND ENDS FOR THURSDAY: INITIAL REACTIONS TO NEW BELLATOR BOUTS

Bellator has announced two or three big fights for upcoming battle cards, and I will give my thoughts on these new matchups in the current MMA odds and ends.
Juan Archuleta vs. Ricky Bandejas, Bellator 214
Featherweight contender Juan Archuleta has opted to drop down to bantamweight and he’ll take on top potential Ricky Bandejas in Bellator 214, which takes place January 26 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. Archuleta (21-1) is really on a 16-fight win series and is 3-0 thus far in Bellator with his most recent victory being a decision win over Jeremy Spoon back in November. Bandejas (11-1) started off his Bellator career with a bang when he pumped out Bellator’s golden boy James Gallagher last summer. He has only lost once in his career, to UFC vet Nick Pace, and he retains a notable triumph over current UFC bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili. That is such a fantastic fight between two fighters on the rise, and it’s not an easy one to pick considering both guys are incredibly talented and both are riding a great deal of momentum into this fight. I believe Archuleta is a bit more strong and recognized, but Bandejas is a exceptional prospect himself. Start looking for a close line with a little lean towards Archuleta.
Roy Nelson vs. Mirko Cro Cop 2, Bellator 217
Heavyweights Roy Nelson and Mirko Cro Cop are place to rematch in Bellator 217, taking place February 16 at Mohegan Sun Resort in Uncasville, Connecticut. Neslon (23-16) is 1-2 so far in Bellator and most recently was knocked out by Sergei Kharitonov in an upset. Nelson formerly defeated Cro Cop through TKO back in UFC 137 at 2011. Cro Cop (37-11-2, 1 NC) will soon be producing his inaugural Bellator debut on the heels of a nine-fight win series, wiht many of the wins coming in RIZIN. Nelson might have beaten Cro Cop the very first time, but according to Cro Cop’s long win streak and Nelson’s declining chin I’d have to favor Cro Cop to win the rematch.
Lorenz Larkin vs. Andrey Koreshkov, Bellator 220
An intriguing welterweight bout between strikers Lorenz Larkin and Andrey Koreshkov is set to headline Bellator 200, occurring March 29 at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California. Larkin (20-7, 1 NC) is just 2-2 so far in Bellator, but he’s coming off of successive wins over Fernando Gonzalez and Ion Pascu. The Pascu fight was supposed to be a welterweight tournament alternate bout, bout Bellator should figure they don’t require a repacement fighter so that they gave Larkin this fight against Koreshkov. Despite Larkin being a small disappointment so much since registering a large free-agent contract with Bellator, he possesses knockout power that will always make him a danger to beat anyone in the division. Koreshkov (21-3) is 12-3 overall in Bellator and many recently lost by entry to Douglas Lima in the opening round of the welterweight tournament. His ground game and chin have looked shaky occasionally at Bellator, but such as Larkin he’s always a threat to win by knockout. This ought to be quite a competitive fight but Koreshkov always gets enormous respect from bettors and I figure that he be a tiny favorite here.
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