Bellator 182 takes place this Friday LIVE from Verona, New York at the Turning Stone Casino. Headlining the card is former Welterweight Champion Andrey “Spartan” Koreshkov as he squares off against Chidi Njokuani.
The Co-Main Event will feature Brennan Ward taking on Fernando Gonzalez in what promises to be another exciting bout at 170 lbs as both fighters are always capable of finishing a fight in a moments notice. The massive undercard is fourteen (!) fights deep and can be viewed over at www.Bellator.com starting at 6:30 PM/ET. The Main Card will begin at 9:00 PM/ET and can be seen on SPIKETV.
Vera Arteaga (-185) vs Bruna Ellen (+155)
Vera Arteaga (3-1-0) will kick off the Main Card and challenge Bruna Ellen (3-1-0) in a Women’s Flyweight Contest. Arteage is coming off a Third Round Doctor’s Stoppage win against Brooke Mayo at Bellator 172 earlier this year. Mayo sustained a ugly hematoma over her left eye and the referee stopped the fight with under a minute left remaining in the contest. Her opponent, Brazilian Bruna Ellen won a unanimous decision over Carmela James in her Bellator debut in January and will be looking to pull off the upset in her second appearance as a slight underdog. Three of four of Ellen’s fights have gone the distance, and I believe the winner of this fight will have to do enough in two rounds to earn a victory when it comes down to the judges decision. I’ll go with Ellen to use her BJJ and control to get the W.
Crystal Ball Prediction 🔮: Ellen via unanimous decision
Blair Tugman (+805) vs AJ McKee (-1220)
In his ninth fight for the company in a little over two years, AJ McKee (8-0-0) will have the opportunity to surpass Michael Paige and become the sole fighter on the Bellator roster riding a nine fight consecutive win streak. His opponent, Blair Tugman (9-6-0) faces the tall task of trying to prevent Bellator history from being made on his watch.Tugman is riding a three fight win streak, has won five of his last six, and has also never been knocked out which may make this fight less than a certainty. According to odds makers, McKee is a massive 12-1 favorite and rightfully so. En route to his 8-0 start, McKee has accumulated five first round stoppages and can really burst into the MMA limelight with another standout performance.
Crystal Ball Prediction 🔮: McKee via First Round Submission
Fernando Gonzalez (-115) vs Brennan Ward (-105)
In the Co-Main Event, one of most prolific finishers in Bellator history Brennan Ward (15-5-0) squares off against Fernando Gonzalez (26-14-0) in a catchweight bout. “Irish” Brennan Ward has nine finishes inside the Bellator cage, in which he trails only Michael Chandler and Patricio Freire. Ward has won five of his last seven fights, but has dropped two of his last three– including to Paul “Semtex” Daley via Flying Knee and a Heel Hook Submission loss to now retired Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos. “The Menifee Maniac” Fernando Gonzalez has quietly been on a very impressive run inside the Bellator cage, winning six of seven bouts and his lone loss coming against top contender Michael “Venom” Paige in a tightly judged contest. In his last bout at Bellator 174, Gonzalez put on an impressive performance, earning a convincing unanimous decision over Brandon Girtz. I’ll take the more consistent fighter as of late Gonzalez in a fight that could really go either way.
Crystal Ball Prediction 🔮: Gonzalez via decision
Andrey Koreshkov: The Cage Report
Andrey Koreshkov (-320) vs Chidi Njokuani (+260)
In the Main Event, former Bellator Welterweight Champion Andrey Koreshkov (19-2-0) returns to action against Chidi Njokuani (17-4-0,1 NC) fighting for the first time since losing his title last November to Douglas Lima at Bellator 164. Although no longer champion, Koreshkov remains one of MMA’s elite at 170 pounds. Andrey is tied with Douglas Lima for the most Welterweight division wins with ten and his Main Event scrap with Njokuani will mark his thirteenth Bellator appearance, a division record. Chidi “Chidi Bang Bang” Njokuani has had nothing but success fighting inside the Bellator cage, as he is 4-0 with two knockouts and two decision wins. Njokuani’s total current win streak stands at nine and dates back to 2013. The Muay Thai specialist will face his toughest opponent yet in the former champion Koreshkov, who has five knockouts on his resume. All four of Njokuani’s career losses have come by way of knockout. I’ll take Koreshkov to deliver Njokuani his fifth such defeat in a spectacular display of violence.
Crystal Ball Prediction 🔮: Koreshkov via Third Round KO
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