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Bellator 215: Mitrione vs. Kharitonov - Predictions and Picks

Scott Newman
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 12 Feb 2019, 01:31 IST
Top 5 / Top 10
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#2 Logan Storley vs. Ion Pascu

Logan Storley
Logan Storley's stellar wrestling makes him one of the best prospects in the world at 170lbs

The fact that this Welterweight tilt is acting as the co-main event here tells you a lot I think, most notably that – no offense meant to these fighters - Bellator simply don’t have the roster depth to be putting on back-to-back shows like this. Essentially, it should act as a total showcase for Logan Storley, who is one of the best prospects in the world at 170lbs. But at 9-0, he should probably be faced with a tougher test than journeyman Ion Pascu.

The hype around Storley stems from his insane wrestling background – he’s a four-time NCAA Division I wrestler out of the University of Minnesota, fascinatingly, the same school attended by Brock Lesnar, who grew up in the same town as Storley, Webster, South Dakota. And naturally, he’s transitioned into MMA pretty flawlessly, chaining his takedowns together to set up punishing ground-and-pound and also showing a heavy-handed boxing game.

Pascu meanwhile is a longtime veteran who fights out of Conor McGregor’s SBG Ireland camp, although he originally hails from Romania. He’s been fighting since 2008, and has appeared in Bellator twice before – and unsurprisingly, those two appearances are amongst his 9 career losses.

The interesting thing? We’ve essentially seen this fight before, as Pascu faced a very similar fighter to Storley in Ed Ruth last April. That fight saw Pascu back up continually, seemingly in awe of Ruth’s wrestling prowess, and that allowed Ruth to use his striking to tee off on the Romanian as well as take him down, en route to a clear-cut unanimous decision.

Judging on what I’ve seen of him, Pascu is clearly a tough guy and a solid striker, but he’s also not the best athlete, doesn’t move that quickly and has essentially lost to the best fighters he’s faced – outside of current UFC fighter Jack Marshman, who he knocked out in 2013. But then Marshman is a similarly plodding striker for the most part.

I just don’t see this fight going any differently to how Pascu’s fight with Ruth went, although if Storley were to finish the Romanian then it’d send quite a message, as he’s only ever been finished once – a rear naked choke back in 2011 – and neither Ruth, Jack Hermansson nor Lorenz Larkin could do it. I’m going with Storley by decision, but a TKO wouldn’t be a stunner as ‘Storm’ is incredibly aggressive from the top position.

The Pick: Storley via unanimous decision

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Published 12 Feb 2019, 01:28 IST
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