Friday the 24th of July sees the triumphant return of Bellator MMA in Bellator 242. The card will be headlined by a bantamweight clash between Sergio Pettis and Ricky Bandejas. Further down the card, fans will be treated to an explosive matchup between Solo Hatley and highly-touted featherweight prospect Aaron Pico.
Related: Pico: Path of the Phenom
In this article, we will be discussing the 3 preliminary match-ups. These matchups feature highly gifted competitors; the results of which could very well determine the rankings within their divisions in the immediate future.
Heavyweight Bout: Rudy Schaffroth vs. Ras Hylton
The first of 3 Preliminary matches sees two powerful heavyweights squaring off. Both Schaffroth and Hylton have won the majority of their fights by way of devastating punching power. Whilst it may be true that Hylton has more losses, it is also true that he has faced a higher level of competition. This fight will most likely be decided by Rudy’s unmatched power in the first round up against any experience Hylton has gleaned from the calibre of competition he has faced. However, one thing we can guarantee is one of the most explosive card openings in recent memory.
Writer’s prediction: Rudy Schaffroth via KO/TKO
Bantamweight Bout: Raufeon Stots vs. Cass Bell
Next up is what promises to be a frenetic and highly technical bantamweight matchup, with Raufeon Stots taking on the undefeated Cass Bell. As it stands, Bell has been undefeated since beginning his professional MMA career, whilst Stots’ only loss has come at the hands of current UFC prospect Merab Dvalishvili.
Bell has deftly handled any potential threats against unrelenting pressure fighters on his way to meeting Stots at Bellator 242. On the other side of the cage stands a Roufusport alumnus, NCAA Div. II champion with slick takedowns, wicked counter-striking and a fantastic gas tank. Not to mention, Stots also has more than double the in-cage experience than Bell.
It is of no doubt that Cass Bell has been impressive and dominant in his run so far, however, it goes without saying that Raufeon Stots will be his biggest challenge thus far.
Writer’s prediction: Raufeon Stots via Unanimous Decision
Welterweight Bout: Mark Lemminger vs Jake Smith
The main event of the prelims features an intriguing Welterweight fight between Bellator debutant Mark Lemminger and Jake Smith.
Lemminger has shown an impressive amount of potential during his time with Chosen One FC, whilst Jake Smith has been trading wins within Bellator’s welterweight division. Recently, Smith also took to grappling bouts within Chael Sonnen’s Submission Underground events, winning one of 2.
Smith represents an incredibly unwelcoming welcome for Lemminger, posing as a genuine threat in the stand up department.
Smith has shown an uncanny ability to time inside leg kicks to charging opponents, and then using slick boxing fundamentals to slip and rip in the pocket.
Lemminger has shown a willingness to absorb blows if it leads to him implementing his grappling game, and has been known to break opponents in the past. This bout will be a true test to determine if either Smith can resist the smothering offence of Lemminger. Likewise, it will be very interesting to see how Lemminger deciphers the evasive striking of Smith.
Writer’s prediction: Mark Lemminger, Split Decision
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