This year’s schedule of events for Bellator MMA has whittled down to four cards. A week ago Friday, the MMA promotion set foot in Ireland for Bellator 285 and the Bellator 285 main event in Dublin, won by Benson Henderson (30-11 MMA, 7-6 Bellator) over Peter Queally (13-7-1 MMA, 2-3 Bellator) via unanimous decision.
During that show, Bellator announced that it would be making a return trip to Dublin in the first quarter of 2023. On Feb. 24, Bellator Dublin will be held at the same 3Arena where Bellator 285 originated from.
No other concrete information for this event is known at this time. It’s also the lone confirmed date on the promotion’s itinerary in 2023.
Bellator Returns to California For Featherweight Championship in Bellator 286 Main Event
In the promotion’s immediate future, Scott Coker and his staff turn their collective attention to this Saturday night, when Bellator returns stateside for Bellator 286 (main card 10 pm ET/ 7 pm PT on Showtime after the undercard at 7 pm ET/ 4 pm PT on Bellator’s YouTube channel.
All told, Saturday’s card will feature 14 total bouts, highlighted by a featherweight championship showdown in the Bellator 286 main event. Incumbent champion Patricio Pitbull (Freire) (33-5 MMA, 19-5 Bellator) puts his 145-lb. belt on the line when he battles No. 2 contender Adam Borics (18-1 MMA, 9-1 Bellator.
As with all Bellator MMA headliners, the Bellator 286 main event will be an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the show from Long Beach, CA.
Bellator 286 Main Event Fighter Comparison
Heading into the Bellator 286 main event on Saturday evening, challenger Adam Borics stands as the taller contender at 5-foot-11, compared to the 5-foot-6 frame of champion Patricio Pitbull. Additionally, Borics owns a five-inch reach advantage (70 1/2 inches to 65 1/2 inches) over Pitbull ahead of the main attraction.
Could Patricio Pitbull Move Down to Bantamweight After Bellator 286 Main Event?
Patricio Pitbull has posted a record of 4-1 in his last five Bellator MMA appearances coming into the Bellator 286 main event and has alternated wins and losses in his last two fights. Most recently, he scored a unanimous decision win versus AJ McKee (18-1 MMA, 18-1 Bellator) in a rematch for the featherweight title on April 15 during Bellator 277.
Even though Bellator MMA President Scott Coker expressed interest in a third meeting between Pitbull and McKee, the champion has ideas of his own. Patricio Pitbull said earlier this week on MMAFighting.com’s Trocacao Franca podcast that he’d like to try his luck at winning the Bellator MMA Bantamweight Championship, but only if a challenge comes his way.
“My intention is to clear out the division one more time,” Pitbull began. “I’m already announcing that my next challenger, if God allows and I defend the title against Adam Borics, will be Aaron Pico. I think he’s doing well in the division. I want to defend the title twice– I won’t vacate it, I’ll keep my title, but I’ll try a shot at the one below. I’ll try to be double champion one more time, this time going down instead of up.”
At this stage in his career, Pitbull has to take it one fight at a time. It starts with the Bellator 286 main event.
Adam Borics Says He’s More Proficient Than Patricio Pitbull Ahead of Bellator 286 Main Event
In the other corner, Adam Borics has gone 4-1 in his last five fights and is currently on a four-fight winning streak. Most recently, he scored a unanimous decision victory against Mads Burnell (16-5 MMA, 3-2 Bellator) on March 12 during Bellator 276’s main event.
Ahead of the Bellator 286 main event this weekend, the No. 2 contender was a guest of MMA Junkie Radio. During the interview, Borics indicated that he’s got an edge.
“We know what we are expecting from him, but it always can change,” Borics said. “I’m just ready for anything. I feel I’m better everywhere than him so I’m ready to get that belt. I just want to make a statement again. I feel like people are underestimating me, but I’m telling you, I’m one of the biggest prospects in the game.”
The time for talk is just about over for Adam Borics. When that cage door shuts Saturday in the Bellator 286 main event, his fighting acumen will do the talking.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the Bellator 286 main event on Saturday looks to favor Patricio Pitbull, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, compared to Adam Borics’ black belt in Kempo.
Watch For Pitbull’s One-Punch Power
If there’s one aspect of Patricio Pitbull’s fight game that’s particularly evident on video, it’s his ability to end the fight with as little as a single blow. Pitbull’s one-punch power was on full display in November of 2020 vs. Pedro Carvalho in Bellator 252’s main event.
Although this Bellator MMA Featherweight Grand Prix Quarterfinal was slated for five rounds at five minutes per round, the champion wasted little time in securing the win. Not long after the command to fight, Pitbull landed a two-punch combination to slightly wobble Carvalho.
Pitbull then backed up Carvalho to the cage fence and landed strikes while in the clinch. Upon getting out, the champ pieced Carvalho up with a flurry of punches, including a right-handed shot which he used to transition into a successful takedown.
While he tried to submit Carvalho with a guillotine choke, Pitbull’s efforts were to no avail. at least momentarily.
The champion ended things by landing a single punch to the challenger’s head to send him down and out in two minutes and ten seconds. If Pitbull is able to land just a single punch, it could be the opening he needs to end the Bellator 286 main event.
Borics Can Punch His Way to the Win, Too
In the other corner, don’t discount Adam Borics’ punches, either. The second round of his 2019 fight against Pat Curran is a textbook example of his striking game.
During that round, Borics was able to land a crisp two-punch combination about a minute in. After a period of inactivity and boos from the crowd, Borics scored with a leg kick and some jabs to the body.
The audience wouldn’t be booing for much longer, as with under a minute to go in the round, Borics would send Curran down with a flying knee, briefly taking back mount. From there, he unloaded on Curran with serious ground and pound hammerfist shots. Right before the bell sounded to end the round, referee Frank Trigg called the fight.
If Adam Borics can knock Patricio Pitbull down just once, watch out for his ground and pound. It could be what the doctor orders for an upset in the Bellator 286 main event.
The Bellator 286 main event will take place on Oct. 1, the beginning of the Halloween season. Even though trick-or-treat hours are still a few weeks away, Saturday’s headliner could be a Halloween treat from Bellator MMA.
Prediction: Patricio Pitbull by Unanimous Decision.