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Bellator 272: Prelim Fighters To Watch

On December 3, Bellator MMA will return to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut for Bellator 272. In the main event of the evening, reigning bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis will defend his title against current RIZIN bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi. 

Before the main card goes down on Showtime, Bellator 272 will feature a series of preliminary bouts exclusively on YouTube. We will take a look at some of the fighters featured on the prelim portion of the card and why you should keep an eye on them.

Kai Kamaka III

If the name Kai Kamaka III (8-4-1) sounds familiar, it’s because you’ve already seen him fight twice this year under the UFC banner. Kamaka made his promotional debut at UFC 252 and earned a unanimous decision victory over Tony Kelley. In August, Kamaka was released by the UFC after four total fights with the organization. His UFC record was 1-2-1.

While the UFC record may not look great on paper, one loss was subject to some debate. He suffered a widely disputed split decision loss to T.J. Brown at UFC Vegas 25. All 15 media members listed on MMA Decisions had the fight for Kamaka, six of which saw it as a 30-27 victory for the Hawaiian native. The decision was so poor that Kamaka’s manager Brian Butler revealed they would file a formal appeal with the Nevada State Athletic Commission in an attempt to understand why the fight was scored in favor of Brown.

After one more fight, a majority draw against Daniel Chavez in July, Kamaka was shown the door. Now he returns to Bellator MMA for the first time since 2019. He faces John De Jesus (14-9-0), a solid kickboxer who has won four of his last five. His only loss in Bellator came against Aaron Pico.

Kamaka is far better than his UFC record reflects and there is no reason to believe he won’t get his career back on track at Bellator 272. Kamaka is a well-rounded fighter. Not typically a finisher, he brings pressure and volume to overwhelm and out-point his opponents. De Jesus will likely look to keep distance between the two with kicks, but Kamaka’s pressure and superior wrestling should be enough to control the pace and allow him to take the fight anywhere he chooses.

Spike Carlyle

After a 1-2 stint with the UFC, “The Alpha Ginger” Spike Carlyle (12-3-0)  makes his Bellator MMA debut on December 3. He faces Dan Moret (15-6-0) who is currently on a two fight win streak.

Carlyle made his UFC debut in February 2020 with a first-round TKO over Aalon Cruz. After his successful debut, he would lose two straight decisions against Billy Quarantillo and Bill Algeo leading to his release from the organization. Since then, Carlyle has had three straight victories in 2021, all by way of stoppage. 

He steps into the Bellator cage on roughly a week’s notice, replacing Moret’s original opponent Ricardo Seixas. Carlyle agreed to fight Moret in a 160-pound catchweight bout and is currently listed as a -145 favorite despite the short notice. 

Spike Carlyle is an explosive fighter. He likes to put on the pressure and is always gunning for a finish. In 12 victories, 10 have been via stoppage; five submissions, five knockouts. Carlyle is well-rounded and will look to keep Moret on his bicycle throughout the fight, but cardio has been an issue in the past. Explosive in the first half of the fight, Carlyle tends to slow down, and with this being a short notice affair, cardio could become an issue. 

Carlyle is the favorite and a first-round finish is definitely on the table. If Moret can survive the first round, he may be able to keep his distance and counter-strike his way to a decision. My money is on Carlyle coming out hot and getting his fourth straight finish. 

Jacob Bohn

At Bellator 272, Jacob Bohn (10-7-0) makes his promotional debut against Justin Montalvo (3-0) who is also making his debut in the Bellator cage. 

As a 12 year veteran of the sport, Bohn will finally get his first crack at the big stage when he steps into the cage on December 3. Bohn has fought high-level talent throughout his career including Pat Sabatini, Shane Burgos, and Joe Solecki. Despite his 10-7 record as a pro, Bohn is riding a three-fight win streak and looks to make the most of his opportunity on a larger platform. 

“Over time, the good guys finally get their shots,” Bohn said in an interview with MMA Junkie. “I’ve just been grinding and killing it…I didn’t want to go here unless I was ready. I’ve been training so long, and it’s time. I feel good, I feel strong and everything is coming together. It’s just clicking. It’s the right time. The timing is good.” 

Bohn is a fairly aggressive fighter and will have an advantage in the wrestling game against Montalvo. He will also have a significant advantage when it comes to experience. Bohn is a 17 fight veteran while Montalvo is making his fourth professional walk to the cage. With both fighters stepping onto the biggest stage of their respective careers, the experience will be a significant advantage.

Coming into the bout on short notice, Bohn is on a one-fight contract with Bellator, but he intends to deliver a performance that will prove worthy of a multi-fight deal.

The Bellator 272 prelims begin at 7 pm ET on YouTube, followed by the main card exclusively on Showtime at 10 pm ET.

Follow me on Twitter at @SuperbeastCraig to see my latest work. Follow us on social media at @OTHeroicsMMA to stay up to date with all things MMA!

Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images

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