Bellator 262: “Velasquez vs Kielholtz” is set to go down tomorrow night (Fri., July 16, 2021) from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., broadcasting via Showtime. Headlining the event will be women’s Flyweight title fight between reigning champion Juliana Velasquez and kickboxing champion Denise Kielholtz.
125 lbs.: Juliana Velasquez vs Denise Kielholtz
Some doubted that Velasquez would have the goods to dethrone former Bellator women’s Flyweight champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane when they threw down at Bellator 254 in Dec. 2020, but the Brazilian bomber did just that by taking out the former champion via unanimous decision. Now it’s Velasquez who remains undefeated at 11-0 and sits as the queen of the division. Velasquez has proven that she has a well-rounded skill set that has allowed her to finish her foes or take them to deep waters to earn the nod on the judges scorecards. Her first title defense will come against a legit striker when she battles current Bellator kickboxing champion, Denise Kielholtz.
Kielholtz is 6-1 so far under the Bellator banner and was last seen starching Kate Jackson in the very first round of the Bellator 247 event. She is the current Bellator kickboxing champion but hasn’t defended the title or taken part in a kickboxing match in four years. Still, it’s no secret what she plans to do to get the job done: Keep the fight standing as long as possible. While Velasquez is no slouch on the feet, going toe-to-toe against a kickboxing champion probably isn’t the best idea. That said, Velasquez simply has a better overall arsenal to pull off a win that will take the entire 25 minutes to secure.
Final prediction: Velasquez via unanimous decision
265 lbs.: Matt Mitrione vs Tyrell Fortune
Matt Mitrione has been care free all week leading up to his Heavyweight bout against Tyrell Fortune. After getting snippy with a reporter during media day, “Meathead” weighed in with jeans and a t-shirt. He truly is as relaxed as can be, kind of like he is once inside the cage. Against Fortune, he needs to keep his head on a swivel because he has the power to put anyone to sleep.
It’s a drastic difference how the two big men have done over the last few years. Fortune is 7-1-1 since 2018 with four knockouts to his name. His run has been good enough to keep him at No. 5 on the official rankings. As for Mitrione, he is 1-3-1 during that span with his lone win coming against a long past his prime Roy Nelson. Sure, “Meathead’ started his Bellator career with four straight wins, but he’s been throwing up nothing but duds since then. That said, he is still ranked No. 7. Fortune is firing on all cylinders at the moment and if it becomes a standup battle, I’d give him the edge. But let’s not be too quick to count out Mitrione. he is still as experienced as they come and has decent hands to get the job done. I just don’t see it happening here.
Final prediction: Fortune via split decision
145 lbs.: Arlene Blencowe vs Dayana Silva
Since 2015, Blencow’s losses came at the hand of Marloes Coenen, Julia Budd and Cris Cyborg, three of the most experienced female MMA fighters in the game. In her last outing, she put up a valiant effort against Cyborg, eventually losing via second round knockout in the 145-pound title fight. Prior to losing to Cyborg she was on a three fight win streak and had won six of her last seven, so she knows a thing or three about racking up wins. Against Silva she will be facing a fighter who just can’t seem to get some kind of momentum going. Since 2015, she is just 4-4 and has alternated wins and losses during that time. She might be due for a win given that pattern, but I don’t see her having much to offer Blencowe that she hasn’t seen before. Blencowe, the former professional boxer has the obvious advantage in the standup department, so that is the best course of victory for her. Short of a shot that catches Blencow off guard, I don’t see much in Silva’s game that will pose problems for Blencowe.
Final prediction: Blencowe via third round technical knockout
185 lbs.: Johnny Eblen vs Travis Davis
Undefeated at 8-0, Eblen has quickly risen the ranks at Middleweight after four straight wins under the Bellator banner. He is coming off an impressive first round knockout win over Daniel Madrid at Bellator 258 just a few months ago, so he is more than ready for a quick turnaround. He’ll be facing off against the unranked Davis who is 4-1 in his last five outings. This will be his first fight on the big stage since he will be making his Bellator debut. It’s a confusing matchup, really; a Top 5 foe taking on a fighter making his debut for the promotion? Doesn’t sound fair, right? Then again Davis isn’t going to let this chance pass him by because taking out a high-ranked foe will put him on the map instantly. Unfortunately it won’t happen this time around. While on a hot run, the fight against Eblen might be a bit too much for Davis in his first fight for the Viacom-owned promotion. While some don’t believe in first time jitters, it is very real and they might be too much for Davis.
Final prediction: Eblen via second round submission
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