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Bellator 274 Main Event: Gracie vs. Storley

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After a few weekends away, Bellator MMA will return this Saturday night for the first of two February events. Bellator 274 comes live from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.

At capacity, Mohegan Sun Arena seats 10,000 spectators, and it seems fair to expect that each of these 10,000 seats will be occupied this coming weekend for a 13-fight MMA card, capped by a noteworthy fight at welterweight in the Bellator 274 main event on Showtime inside the United States

First Five-Round Nontitle Fight Headliner in Bellator History

Topping Bellator 274 this weekend is a nontitle affair at 170 lbs. between No. 4 contender Neiman Gracie (11-2 MMA, 9-2 Bellator) and No. 5 contender Logan Storley (12-1 MMA, 7-1 Bellator) in the first nontitle main event in Bellator MMA history with an advertised length of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the show.

Under the promotion’s new rule for 2022, as first announced last October by Scott Coker on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, all Bellator MMA main events going forward, championship fight or otherwise, will be a maximum length of five rounds at five minutes per round.

Bellator 274 Main Event Fighter Comparison

Heading into the Bellator 274 main event this coming Saturday night, Neiman Gracie is the taller man, standing six feet even, while Logan Storley counters with a 5-foot-9 frame.

In addition, Neiman Gracie owns a 2 1/2-inch reach advantage (74 inches even to 71 1/2 inches) over Logan Storley ahead of Saturday night’s Bellator 274 main event.

Neiman Gracie Aims For Consistency with Victory in Bellator 274 Main Event

Neiman Gracie comes into the Bellator 274 main event on Saturday night having accumulated a record of 3-2 in his last five MMA appearances, alternating wins and losses in his last four outings.

Most recently, he scored a first-round knockout due to elbow shots and punches against Mark Lemminger in Bellator 266’s co-main event last September.

Gracie was able to turn it around in his last fight, but a key for him and his camp is going to be one of consistency if he is to factor in the Bellator MMA Welterweight Championship picture after the Bellator 274 main event.

After the fight that evening, he mentioned that it’s not that he won that matters most, it’s how he won: “I said that before the fight,” Gracie began. “It all depended on how the win is going to be. If it’s a good win, it can definitely put me up there [in the title picture,] so, I really want to fight the champ [Yaroslav Amosov.] He’s a really good fighter, but I believe I have his kryptonite, you know?”

If Neiman Gracie is successful here in the Bellator 274 main event on Saturday night, could a fight with Yaroslav Amosov be up next in his datebook?Only time will tell.

Storley Looks to Take Step Toward Championship with Victory

In the other corner, Logan Storley enters the Bellator 274 main event having gone 4-1 in his last five MMA bouts, most recently scoring a split decision against Dante Schiro last August in Bellator 265’s co-main event.

Prior to losing to Yaroslav Amosov in the fight directly before the contest vs. Schiro, he was on an 11-fight winning streak to begin his MMA career– with all of these wins coming in the professional ranks.

Although Amosov provided Logan Storley with his first career roadblock in MMA two fights ago, he was able to right the ship last time out and he, too, could find himself in the Bellator MMA Welterweight Championship picture with a win on Saturday night in the Bellator 274 main event.

The significance of the Bellator 274 main event being the first five-round headliner in promotion history in a nontitle or non-grand prix scenario isn’t lost on Logan Storley, something he told Mike Bohn of USA Today’s MMA Junkie a week ago.

“We’re the first five-round nontitle [main event] fight in Bellator history,” Storley said. “That’s pretty cool. A lot of things [are] on the line, possible title shots– No. 5 vs. No. 4. What more could you ask for?”

Not much more needs to be added to the hype train in the run-up to the Bellator 274 main event this Saturday night.

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Stylistically, the Bellator 274 main event on Saturday seems to favor Neiman Gracie, a second-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, compared to Logan Storley, a former collegiate wrestler for the University of Minnesota.

Neiman Gracie Can Be Vicious With His Knockouts

One aspect of Neiman Gracie’s fight game that jumps out on video is the fact that he can get the standing knockout in a devastating fashion.

Even though the fight against Mark Lemminger back in September was his first career knockout, it was an impressive one.

During the first round against Lemminger, Gracie opened up the onslaught with a vicious right uppercut to wobble him, and from there, he defended his family honor by landing repeated right-handed shots– with the referee ultimately intervening for the stoppage.

If Neiman Gracie worked on improving his striking during his training camp in advance of the Bellator 274 main event this coming weekend, Logan Storley could very well be in serious trouble.

Storley Can Get Things Done on the Ground

In the other corner, Logan Storley can be just as nasty with his ground and pound strikes, something that AJ Matthews found out firsthand in August of 2018.

During round one of a scheduled three, Storley caught Matthews in a takedown, scoring with knee strikes and then using his wrestling background to advance to the back mount and soften him up by using repeated ground and pound shots; nearly finishing Matthews in the process. Somehow, he was able to move out of the way to avoid having the fight stopped by referee Jason Herzog.

From there, Storley attempted to chain submission holds together to try and get AJ Matthews to tap and nap, to no avail, however, as Matthews saw the second round.

During that second round, Logan Storley returned to the ground by catching AJ Matthews in another takedown and landing knee strikes to Matthews’ body.

Storley continued to land more ground and pound shots to try and soften Matthews up for a submission attempt, grappling with him to accumulate more ground control time– eventually going to the top mount for another relentless surge of ground and pound shots.

This time, however, Jason Herzog had seen enough and waved off the fight.All Logan Storley is going to have to do in order to win is take the Bellator 274 main event to the ground. Storley can beat Gracie with ground and pound or he could beat him with wrestling and submission attempts.

If he establishes control and aggression of this fight, the sky is the limit.

Final Thoughts

For a five-round nontitle fight, the Bellator 274 main event appears to be a cracking, competitive affair.

We could very well be talking about this one as a contender for fight of the year 10 months from now.

Prediction: Neiman Gracie by Second-Round Submission.


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Featured Image Credits to Bellator

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