Bellator 165: Henderson vs. Chandler main card preview and predictions.

For the third straight week,  Bellator is putting on a card. Go figure, it’s on the same night as two UFC cards and a high-level boxing match. It’s also perhaps the best combat sports card on deck this week, at least from an entertainment perspective.

In the main event of the evening,  former UFC and WEC Lightweight champion Benson Henderson will try to become the first person to be a champion in three major organization,  when he faced current champion Michael Chandler. In the co-main,  English MMA phenom Michael Page takes on Fernando Gonzalez in what should be a fun fight.

Also on the main card is  a Light Heavyweight contest between former UFC contender Francis Carmont and Linton Vassell, a solid Lightweight fight between Adam Piccolotti and Brandon Girtz, and the opener marks the debut of Gilbert Melendez’s wife, kickboxer Keri Anne Melendez. It should be a fun night, and here are my predictions for the entire main card.

Main card (9/8c, Spike TV)

Linton Vassell (16-5, 1NC) vs. Francis Carmont (25-11)

Carmont is a former UFC fighter who’s 3-1 inside the octagon,  and usually doesn’t put on very entertaining fights. He may have 17 finishes to his credit, but still, his fights tend to be lackluster. Vassell is a but more entertaining,  has 13 finishes in 16 wins, and is a pretty good fighter. Sadly, I see this being a potential dnoozer, and I’ll say that Carmont will win a decision here. Prediction: Carmont via decision.

Keri Anne Melendez  (pro debut) vs. Sheila Padilla (2-0)

The next bout features  kickboxer Keri Ann Melendez, who is former Strikeforce Lightweight champion and UFC contender Gilbert Melendez’s wife. A kickboxer,  Melendez will take on undefeated prospect Sheila Padilla. It’ll be interesting to see how the match goes,  but I’ll say the debutante walks away with a decision win. Prediction: Melendez via decision.

Adam Piccolotti  (8-0) vs. Brandon Girtz (14-4)

Up next is a Lightweight matchup that should be pretty fun. Piccolotti is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, has finished six of his eight opponents, and is 4-0 in Bellator with the last three wins coming via submission.

Girtz is a tough litmus test, with a 6-2 Bellator record, three straight wins, and eight overall submission wins. This should be a very intriguing contest, and while Girtz can pull off a win, I’ll go with Piccolotti here. Prediction: Piccolotti via submission, round 2.

Michael Page  (11-0) vs. Fernando Gonzalez  (25-13)

In the co-main event of the evening,   unbeaten British sensation Michael “Venom” Page will take on his toughest test to date in Fernando Gonzalez. Ten of Page’s 11 wins have come via finish, including seven via knockout. Meanwhile,  Gonzalez  has 16 finishes to his credit, and while his record isn’t great, he is very tough. I see Page winning,  but it should be a fun and testy fight. Prediction: Page via knockout,  round 2.

Bellator Lightweight championship:

(C) Michael Chandler (15-3) vs. Benson Henderson (24-6)

In the main event of the evening,  former UFC and WEC Lightweight champion Benson Henderson will try to become the first person to be a champion in three major organization,  when he faced current champion Michael Chandler. Henderson left the UFC late last year to get a better contract. Well, he got dominated by then Welterweight champion Andrei Koreshkov in his promotional debut, before getting outclassed at Lightweight by a Featherweight in Patricio Freire,  who then got injured in the third round, resulting in an injury win for Henderson. Now he has a title shot.

Meanwhile, Chandler has  won three straight fights, after losing a pair of split decisions, first to Eddie Alvarez, and then Will Brooks. Before his current win streak and following the decision losses, he lost to Brooks again, this time via 4th round tko. Now, both Brooks and Alvarez are in the UFC, and Chandler is the Bellator Lightweight king. I’d love to see this be a great fight, but judging by how Bendo has looked of late, I have my doubts. I’ll do with Chandler,  in what will hopefully be a decent fight. Prediction: Chandler via decision.


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