Bellator 230 comes to Ex Palalido in Milan, Italy, this Saturday night (Oct. 12, 2019). It’s a big show with three separate cards, but we will only discuss the mixed martial arts (MMA) portions here.
Let’s break it down:
205 lbs.: Rafael Carvalho (16-3) vs. Vadim Nemkov (10-2)
Rafael Carvalho is feeling a renewed sense of confidence following a tough fight with Chidi Njokuani that snapped a two bout losing streak. The former Middleweight champion will need all of that confidence and then some as he steps up to Vadim Nemkov, winner of five straight bouts including all of his Bellator MMA fights. The star from Stary Oskol is a proven finisher with 80 percent of his wins (eight of 10) coming via form of knockout.
The good news for Carvalho is that he was already an incredibly big Middleweight, so at 6’3” with a 78” reach he’s got a much easier cut. Nemkov just barely tips the Light Heavyweight scale at 6’0” but has a decent 75.5” wingspan, and considering he’s also fought at Heavyweight we know he won’t be intimidated by Carvalho’s size. What he should worry about though is the liver kick. It’s been a while since Carvalho has finished with it, but it’s a scary site to see a man crumble from one well placed foot to the body. Giving up height and reach to a man who can also use his legs seems like a recipe for disaster.
Final prediction: Rafael Carvalho wins via first round technical knockout
265 lbs.: Domingos Barros (6-0) vs. Kirill Sidelnikov (11-6)
The last time I saw Kirill Sidelnikov in action he absolutely blew the fight. The last time I saw Domingos Barros in action he completely humbled his opponent with mat transitions leading to a ground and pound stoppage. I’d be lying if I said anyone had to think about the results of this one for more than a minute.
Final prediction: Domingos Barros wins via first round technical knockout
265 lbs.: Hesdy Gerges (0-1) vs. Dragos Zubco (2-1)
As a long time well known kickboxer from The Netherlands, Hesdy Gerges has a lot of hype behind him and always has. If hype alone could win you a fight in mixed martial arts that would be fantastic, but Gerges was soundly thumped by the aforementioned Barros in his Bellator MMA debut. His inability to stop a takedown left him vulnerable to be massacred on the ground and showed the weakness of being a lifelong kickboxer who had never trained all aspects of mixed martial arts. Giving him a more experienced opponent in Zubco may be a recipe for another disaster, but for unknown reasons the Republic of Moldova fighter has not taken a bout in four years. I expect that a humiliated Gerges redoubled his efforts in training and asked for this fight to prove himself, and that Bellator lured an inactive fighter into a return to give Gerges a beatable opponent. It’s up to Zubco to prove me wrong.
Final prediction: Hesdy Gerges via second round knockout
170 lbs.: Andrea Fusi (8-4) vs. Walter Pugliesi (4-2)
This is your “local flavor” fight for Milan. Fusi is from Como, Italy and is on a three fight win streak including his last Bellator appearance. Pugliesi hails from Arcore, Monza and Brianza, Italy (somehow that’s one city and not three separate ones) and lost his last two fights... including an unaired bout with Fusi at Bellator 211. In other words this is a rematch. Given the respective trajectories of their careers the result seems likely to be similar this time.
Final prediction: Andrea Fusi wins via unanimous decision
205 lbs.: Melvin Manhoef (31-14-1, 2 NC) vs. Yannick Bahati (9-4, 1 NC)
Dutch kickboxing and MMA legend “No Mercy” Melvin Manhoef is nearing the point where he should ride off into the sunset and celebrate the laurels of his legendary career. Despite that the 43-year-old is determined to give it at least one more go with Yannick Bahati, an English fighter nicknamed “Black Mamba” who picked up his last win via kimura. Prior to that Bahati had been on a three fight skid, so the 29-year-old may feel like he’s getting Manhoef at the right place and time to completely reinvent himself. One muscular punch or life changing head kick could prove him wrong. Don’t let the age fool you — power is the last thing to go and Manhoef is as dangerous as they come in any form of martial arts.
Final prediction: Melvin Manhoef via second round knockout
170 lbs.: Stefano Paterno (12-3-1) vs. Ashley Reece (8-1)
Stefano Paterno was recently on an eight fight unbeaten streak before going five rounds in a split decision loss to Ross Houston. The English fighter Reece is only on a two fight win streak, but both of those wins are Bellator fights. Both men are evenly matched in size at 5’11” to 5’10” respectively and while experience favors Paterno on paper, I like “The Beast” Reece for his knockout power with 50 percent of his wins (four out of eight) coming via strikes.
Final prediction: Ashley Reece via first round technical knockout
155 lbs.: Kane Mousah (12-2) vs. Rafael Macedo (9-4, 1 NC)
Kane “The Danger” Mousah has won five of his last six, including one fight that ended three minutes into round one with a body shot. Rafael Macedo is a late replacement for Daniele “Scat” Scatizzi, who had lost three of his last four including a third round technical knockout from Charlie Leary. Need I say more?
Final prediction: Kane Mousah wins via first round knockout
205 lbs.: Alessio Sakara (20-13, 2 NC) vs. Canaan Grigsby (8-7)
There’s hometown booking and then there’s Alessio Sakara. Aside from an ill-conceived title shot against the aforementioned Carvalho where he got DESTROYED in 45 seconds, Bellator tries hard as hell to protect Sakara in the country of his birth and the place where he is singularly a star above and beyond all other places in the world. Canaan Grigsby is the latest victim of this philosophy. You’ve never heard of “Super Beast” before this bout and there’s a reason — he’s lost three of his last four including two straight. The funny thing is that even when they try to give Sakara favorable stylistic matches things still go wrong. I don’t have faith in Grigsby to have that kind of performance but buyer beware all the same.
Final prediction: Alessio Sakara gets a technical knockout in round three
That’s a wrap!
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