Bellator 228: Pitbull vs. Archuleta - Predictions and Picks
This upcoming weekend is a busy one for Bellator MMA, as they have two shows taking place; one in Dublin, Ireland on Friday and one on Saturday from Los Angeles, California.
Of the two, the second – Bellator 228 – is by far the more marquee of the two, with a huge five-fight main card – four of which are part of Bellator’s Featherweight Grand Prix – that sounds as strong as any put together by Scott Coker’s promotion in 2019.
Here are the predicted outcomes for Bellator 228: Pitbull vs. Archuleta.
#1 Patricio Freire vs. Juan Archuleta
In a curious move, not only is Patricio Freire’s Bellator Featherweight title on the line in this fight, but the clash is also part of Bellator’s Featherweight Grand Prix; essentially, unlike the old PRIDE or DREAM tournaments, Scott Coker is hoping that the winner of the Grand Prix will also end up with the promotion’s title, which it must be said makes a ton of sense.
Has Archuleta earned a title shot at the man known as ‘Pitbull’? For sure. Last time we saw ‘The Spaniard’ in action, he uncorked a ludicrously heavy right hand to knock out former Bellator champ Eduardo Dantas in a moment most fans rated as one of the best KOs of 2019. The Joe Stevenson student is 23-1 in professional MMA and hasn’t lost since 2015. He’s also 5-0 in the Bellator cage.
In terms of his fighting style, he’s extremely well-rounded, but the main thing that stands out is his aggression. He’s a solid wrestler but clearly prefers to attempt high-octane slams and the like, and on the feet he’s flashy and creative, and throws everything with heavy power. He might not be the biggest name at 145lbs, but he’s definitely a danger in all areas.
Will that be enough to take him past ‘Pitbull’, though? For as good as Archuleta is, I’m leaning towards no. There’s a pretty clear-cut argument to make for Freire being the best Featherweight outside of the confines of the UFC right now. He’s 29-4 in MMA overall, and he’s essentially beaten everyone there’s been to beat in Bellator’s 145lbs division over the past few years.
Freire has beaten Emmanuel Sanchez, Daniel Straus, Pat Curran, Henry Corrales....oh, and he’s also the current Bellator Lightweight champion too, after he took out Michael Chandler with a vicious knockout back in May.
For me, Archuleta is an excellent fighter who’s probably outgunned in all areas here; he hits hard, but ‘Pitbull’ is a phenomenal striker with massive power, and if the fight goes to the ground the Brazilian is also a very credentialed BJJ black belt. Archuleta seems tough enough to last the distance, I think, but I’d be very surprised if he’s the one to dethrone ‘Pitbull’.
The Pick: Freire via unanimous decision