Bellator MMA comes to Pala Alpitour in Torino, Italy, this Saturday night (April 16, 2016) with Bellator 152: "Pitbull vs. Souza," which will air via tape delay on Spike TV.
It's the first card for Bellator since "Warren vs. Caldwell" came to WinStar World Casino on March 4, 2016. It also marks the international debut for the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion, which will also feature the first-ever Bellator Kickboxing card.
Only the MMA portion of the card is being aired (via tape delay) on Spike TV this weekend, however, so let's go ahead and break down that five-fight main card, which is headlined by a key match at Lightweight.
155 lbs.: Patricky Freire (15-7) vs. Kevin Souza (16-4)
On paper, the two are about as evenly matched as imaginable. Freire is 3-2 in his last five fights, while Souza is 4-1 over the same span. That might seem to favor Souza at first, but keep in mind he's a late replacement for Derek Campos, and he's coming up a weight class. Souza got submitted in his last fight before leaving UFC, so he'll be looking for redemption, but in his last outing, Freire finished a man on a four fight win streak. Advantage -- Freire.
Final prediction: Patricky Freire wins via first round knockout
205 lbs.: Alessio Sakara (17-11, 2 NC) vs. Brian Rogers (12-8)
Bellator added Alessio Sakara to its roster specifically for the purpose of starring on a card in Italy. He will be best remembered by fight fans for his stint in UFC, including a four-fight losing streak that ended his Zuffa career via submission to Nico Musoke. Does he have what it takes to make a career resurgence in Bellator? He's had two fights since then -- one was a loss overturned to a "No Contest," and his last was a first round technical knockout win in Austria. Both were arguably "lesser competition" than he used to face in UFC.
Rogers is a completely unpredictable opponent who is highly capable of playing the spoiler. His career record and the fact he hasn't had back to back wins since 2011 make him seem vulnerable, but he credits a change to Light Heavyweight and a new focus in training to his big win at Bellator 147. Rogers is known for highlight reel finishes, and nine out of 12 wins (75 percent) come by knockout, but the same can be said of Sakara (11 out of 17). I'm inclined to believe that if they try to test each others' chins, Sakara will fold before Rogers, but that's why they fight the fights.
Final prediction: Brian Rogers wins via technical knockout
145 lbs.: A.J. McKee (3-0) vs. Danilo Belluardo (5-0)
Two undefeated prospects collide in a Featherweight fight that would probably be a "Prelims" undercard bout anywhere else on any other night. The reason this one is being showcased is because "Caterpillar" Belluardo hails from Milan and will definitely have the home country support from the fans in Torino. His nickname seems apt given his last two fights went to a decision. McKee, on the other hand, is a finisher who has a submission and two knockouts, all in the first round. If Belluardo drags it to the deep waters he has a chance. If McKee is not jet lagged he won't give him one.
Final prediction: A.J. McKee via first round submission
130 lbs.: Anastasia Yankova (2-0) vs. Anjela Pink (0-0)
This is another "Prelims" undercard bout on any other card fight that ends up as a starring attraction of a Bellator show strictly because half of the evening is devoted to kickboxing. At least Yankova is a media darling from Moscow who is so attractive she had to tell fans to stop sending her inappropriate photos. Pink's official record going into this fight is unblemished, but some less official sources suggest she's 1-3 or 1-4. It's very difficult to accuse a promoter of handpicking opponents since literally anything can happen in a fight, but I'll be flabbergasted and flummoxed if Yankova doesn't win decisively.
Final prediction: Anastasia Yankova - a "knockout" who gets her third submission win
168 lbs.: Daniele Miceli (2-0) vs. Daniele Scatizzi (6-2)
Some sources list Scatizzi as a Welterweight and literally the exact same thing can be said of Miceli. Why not just let them both fight at 170 pounds a la Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz? Either way, it makes more sense to go with "Scat" here given he's got more experience and knockout power, showcased in 67 percent of his wins.
Final prediction: Daniele Scatizzi via technical knockout
That's a wrap!
MMAmania.com will deliver tape delay coverage of Bellator 152: "Pitbull vs. Souza" on Saturday night, with results throughout the evening from the Spike TV fights at 10 p.m. ET.
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