Bellator 258: “Archuleta vs. Pettis” comes to Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., tomorrow evening (Fri., May 7, 2021) — airing on Showtime — featuring a Bantamweight title fight between division kingpin, Juan Archuleta, taking on Sergio Pettis. Also on the card, Anthony Johnson will attempt to move one step closer to a 205-pound title fight when he takes on Jose Augusto in a Light Heavyweight Grand Prix bout.
135 lbs.: Juan Archuleta (25-2) vs. Sergio Pettis (20-5)
Other than losing to current Bellator MMA champ-champ Patricio Freire at Bellator 228, Archuleta hasn’t known defeat in the last six years. And since “Pitbull” has been running wild over everyone, a loss to him isn’t anything to hang one’s head low over. Winner of 20 of his last 21 fights, “The Spaniard” is deserving of a bit more respect as one of the best fighters in the world at 135 pounds. He’s head great wins throughout his run, but a victory over Pettis would be a great notch on his belt and give him his first-ever title defense. “The Phenom,” meanwhile, has won three in a row and is perfect (2-0) so far under the Bellator umbrella. Pettis has shown that he has improved over the last few years. He has great striking and has upped his game in all areas of the combat game. I just don’t think it will be enough to slow down “The Spaniard.” The striking is fairly even with these two combatants, but I’ll give a slight edge to Archuleta overall. But it won’t be a cakewalk by any means. Pettis does have the tools to give him a good fight, but in the end Archuleta will do enough to get the job done and hold on to his title.
Final Prediction: Archuleta via unanimous decision
205 lbs.: Anthony Johnson (22-6) vs. Jose Augusto (7-2, 1 NC)
It’s not the Grand Prix match up we wanted, but at least Johnson gets to make his Bellator MMA debut. While everyone was foaming at the mouth at the prospect of seeing “Rumble” take on Yoel Romero, fans need to be thankful the promotion was able to convince Augusto to step in on short notice to take on one of the hardest hitters in the game. Johnson hasn’t competed in close to four years, so ring rust could be a factor here. That said, I don’t expect the big man to be gun shy once he steps into the cage. And he can’t afford to be because if he lets Augusto settle in, break a sweat and get a takedown, it could spell bad news for “Rumble.” Four of Augusto’s seven victories have come by way of submission. Sure, the jiu-jitsu black belt isn’t afraid to throw hands, but doing that against Johnson isn’t the smartest idea. If he can manage to close the distance to grab a hold of the big man, it will be his best bet to secure an upset. That’s because five of Johnson’s six defeats have come by way of rear-naked choke. All that being said, I don’t see this fight going past the first round. While we haven’t seen “Rumble” in a while, we know what he can do and his main objective hasn’t changed.
Final Prediction: Johnson via first round knockout
155 lbs.: Patricky Pitbull (21-8) vs Peter Queally (12-5-1)
While Patricky hasn’t had the same success as his brother Patricio, he has still done well for himself inside the Bellator cage, collecting big wins over Roger Huerta, Benson Henderson and Josh Thompson, just to name a few. Pitbull had his seven-fight win streak snapped by Tofiq Musayev in his last outing, which took place under the RIZIN banner in Dec. 2019. Speaking of which, Patricky will be coming in off a 17-month layoff. That said, his opponent has not fought in 20 months. Indeed, the last time Queally competed was in Sept. 2019, picking up a second round knockout win over Ryan Scope at Bellator 227. Queally hasn’t been very active over the last few years, and his finish ratio isn’t anything to get overly-excited about, managing to secure just two stoppage victories over his near nine-year career. Still, “The Showstopper” is a grinder and it would behoove Freire to not take him lightly. At the end of the day, Pitbull is a bit more well-rounded than his foe which should secure him a win. Just don’t expect Queally to roll over for anyone because the beef runs deep between the two camps.
Final Prediction: Pitbull via unanimous decision
175 lbs.: Michael Page (18-1) vs. Derek Anderson (17-3, 1 NC)
The knock on Page is that he hasn’t faced the elite-level competition consistently throughout his run in Bellator, though he does have wins over Paul Daley and Evangelista Santos. After suffering the first loss of his career at the hands of current 170-pound champion Douglas Lima, “Venom” stormed back with a vengeance and picked up four straight wins. However, none of those victories came against anyone ranked in the Top 10. In fact, only one of his victories under the Bellator banner has come against a Top 10 foe (Paul Daley), so you can see why he gets a lot of criticism for his level of competition, especially since he is ranked No. 2. All that said, Page can silence a lot of his critics if he can score a big win over Anderson, who is currently ranked at No. 6. The former Lightweight contender moved up to 170 pounds in Oct. 2019, rattling off two straight wins in his new weight class before getting the call to face “MVP.” Big fights aren’t anything new for “The Barbaric” having already shared the cage against the likes of Patricky Pitbull twice (both wins), Saad Awad and former 155-pound champion Brent Primus. It’s no secret Page will want to keep the fight standing since that is his specialty and preference, racking up 11 KO/TKO wins throughout his career. But Anderson isn’t afraid of a fist fight and will be more than willing to engage, just don’t be surprised if he goes for a couple of takedowns to neutralize “Venom.” It won’t be an easy victory, but I expect Page to settle in and perhaps cut down on a bit of the theatrics to secure a second round win.
Final Prediction: Page via second round technical knockout
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