Bellator MMA returns to action with Bellator 260 tomorrow tonight (Fri., June 11, 2021) inside Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., airing exclusively on SHOWTIME. Headlining the event is a Welterweight title fight with division kingpin, Douglas Lima, defending his belt against undefeated (25-0) wrecking machine, Yaroslav Amosov. Before then, let’s preview all of the main card action as well as give out some predictions.
170 lbs.: Douglas Lima (32-8) vs. Yaroslav Amosov (25-0)
Lima is coming off a loss, but it was at the hands of Gegard Mousasi, one of the best Middleweight fighters ever. Plus, it was uncharted waters for Lima, who moved up to 185 pounds for the first time in an attempt to become “champ-champ.” All that aside, Lima has been terrorizing the 170-pound division forever, collecting big wins over Rory MacDonald and Michael Page in his last two outings. His next fight will also be one of the biggest tests of his reign as champion because he will be taking on an undefeated fighter who knows nothing but getting his hand raised.
Going 6-0 so far inside the Bellator cage, Amosov climbed all the way to the No. 1 spot on the rankings to earn his first-ever shot at the title. He’s well-versed in all areas in the fight game and has championship experience. He is also a sambo specialist so he can pretty much take the fight anywhere and be comfortable doing work anywhere. Lima is undoubtedly the biggest test of his career, and it’s one I think he won’t be able to pass. While Amosov may have a wrestling advantage over Lima, “The Phenom” is simply firing on all cylinders at the moment and has better striking. I’m not saying Amosov doesn’t have a shot to pull off the upset because at the end of the day, anything can happen. That said, I just don’t think he will have much to offer Lima on the feet and if Diego keeps it there, it won’t turn out well for the Ukranian.
Final prediction: Lima via unanimous decision
175 lbs.: Paul Daley (43-17-2) vs. Jason Jackson (14-4)
Paul Daley continues to convince Bellator MMA to keep giving him fights at 175 pounds because this will be his third straight fight at Catchweight. Still, Daley is currently ranked No. 6 at 170 pounds so he is making traction in the division toward a title shot. “Semtex” is coming off a huge knockout win over Sabah Homasi, his third straight victory and a win over Jackson gives him his longest win streak in five years. Against Jackson, he’ll be facing a man on fire since he’s won four straight fights, including huge wins over Benson Henderson and Neiman Gracie. Of course, neither of those two men have the striking skills that “Semtex” does, so he will have to be sharp on his feet to get the job done.
It’s no secret Daley prefers to bang it out on the feet, something Jackson is more than willing to do. But, it’s not the best gameplan for “The Ass-Kicking Machine” if he wants to come out on top. While he does have a few knockout wins on his resume, he hasn’t exactly shown it on a consistent basis to consider him a huge three standing for Daley. If “Semtex” settles in, he will get the job done. On that note, it if turns out to be an all-out barnburner, then Daley is more than eager to adapt, exchange and prevail.
Final Prediction: Daley via third round knockout
145 lbs.: Aaron Pico (7-3) vs. Aiden Lee (9-4)
The fight was originally set to go down last April before Pico was forced out due to health concerns. Pico — a former Golden Gloves champion — is currently enjoying a three-fight win streak and has amassed a 7-3 record, all inside the Bellator cage with all of his victories coming by way of stoppage. As for Lee, he has won two in a row and was last seen defeating Jeremy Petley in Sept. 2020. While Lee is a good striker in his own right, Pico is just a tad bit better thanks to his Golden Gloves experience. And did we mention he’s an even better wrestler? It’s a tough uphill climb for Lee from the jump, so I just don’t see where he can upset Pico. The Jackson-Wink trained fighter has his eyes set on Bellator gold and I just don’t see Lee being the one to take him off that road. While Pico hasn’t exactly set the MMA world in fire like many expected, his current run is giving him the momentum he needs to become on of Bellator’s poster boys down the road.
Final prediction: Pico via second round knockout
128 lbs.: Vanessa Porto (22-9) vs. Ilara Joanne (9-5)
Vanessa Porto, 37, is still fighting at a high level. That said, her three-fight win streak was snapped by Liz Carmouche in her last outing at Bellator 256 (her first loss in nearly four years). Carmouche will now face Kana Watanabe in what is likely a title eliminator fight, while Porto has to pick up the pieces and start the road back to contention. Her first step back to the win column will be Joanne, who came up short against the aforementioned Watanabe, snapping her own three-fight win streak. Joanne is a hard-nosed grinder, but aside from nicknames (Arya Stark), I just don’t see where she’s better than Porto. Vanessa has the experience and size advantage in this fight and I believe both of those will be huge factors come fight night. It won’t be a finish since Joanna has proven to be tough as nails, but she will be in for a long 15 minutes.
Final prediction: Porto via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Demarques Jackson (11-5) vs. Mark Lemminger (11-3)
I will be honest, I was a bit surprised this fight nabbed a main card spot over other great fights on the undercard. Jackson is coming off a loss at Bellator 257 (his debut) and has lost three of his last four. Lemminger, meanwhile, hasn’t done much better, losing two straight inside the Bellator cage. All that being said, this is a must-win for both men because neither one of them can afford another loss on his record. While Scott Coker and Co. don’t release a ton of talent on a consistent basis, they have been known to hand out pink slips from time to time. I can’t say one has the advantage over the other in any particular department because it’s simply not there. They are both well-rounded and pretty even in all areas when we put them head-up. If I absolutely had to give an edge to one of them it would be Jackson, who just might have a bit heavier hands. That’s not to say Lemminger can’t bang it out on the feet, he can. But Jackson is a bit more crisp and will prove to be the deciding factor.
Final prediction: Jackson via second round technical knockout
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