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Bellator 165: Chandler vs. Henderson fight card preview

Get familiar with Saturday’s Bellator 165 fight card as lightweight champion Michael Chandler will be looking to defend his belt against former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson, and a co-main event involving Michael “Venom” Page and his must-see hijinks.

Bellator MMA

Bellator MMA will be treating their fans to their third title fight in three weeks, as the main event for Saturday’s Bellator 165 will involve lightweight champion Michael Chandler defending his throne against the former UFC lightweight king Ben henderson. Also on display at Bellator 165, will be the unique talents of “MVP” Michael “Venom” Page, as the 11-0 welterweight prospect looks to remain flawless in his MMA career. Bellator 165 can be seen this Saturday night, on Spike TV at 9:00 P.M. ET with the prelims streaming online.

Main Card: Spike TV at 9:00 P.M. ET

Michael Chandler (15-3 MMA; 12-3 Bellator) vs. Ben Henderson (24-6 MMA; 1-1 Bellator): Lightweight Tittle

Bellator’s lightweight champion Michael Chandler recaptured his crown with a spine-tingling, one-punch knockout of Patricky Freire in just 2:14 of their Bellator 157 bout. Chandler’s stopping of Patricky Pitbull was far from a fluke as the 15-3 powerhouse has violently dispatched 13 of his 15 victims before the sounding of the final bell.

When Michael Chandler enters the Bellator cage, he brings a brilliant combination of explosiveness and aggression with him. Complimenting the heavy-handedness of Bellator’s lightweight champion, is the NCAA Div I All American wrestling chops that Chandler keeps in his back pocket.

Wrestling is big part of Michael Chandler’s game, as he is just as likely to throw a hellacious overhand right as he is to dump someone on their head... and each, often follows the other in sequence.

With Chandler being such a fast starter, a knock on the champ has been a tendency to run out of gas towards the later rounds. Against Ben Henderson, a savvy veteran and a cardio machine, will Michael Chandler save some fuel for potential championship rounds if he is unable to get an early finish?

Former UFC lightweight champion Ben Henderson has seen the mountaintop and is craving the savory taste of another world title. Upon signing with Viacom’s version of MMA, Henderson jumped right into the welterweight deep end by taking on the then champion, Andrey Koreshkov.

After the unsuccessful attempt at the 170 title, Henderson dropped down to Bellator’s lightweight division for a title eliminator match against Bellator’s former featherweight champion Patricio Freire. Bendo came out rather aggressive against Freire and ultimately scored a second round TKO victory due to a Pitbull leg injury.

The victory over Pitbull placed Benson Henderson next in line to challenge Michael Chandler for the lightweight belt. Having been at the pinnacle of combat sports for the bulk of his MMA career, can Ben Henderson draw on his wealth of experience to best Chandler and become Bellator’s new lightweight king?

Michael Page (11-0 MMA; 6-0 Bellator) vs. Fernando Gonzales (25-13 MMA; 5-0 Bellator): Welterweight

Michael Page has been nothing short of remarkable inside of the Bellator cage. The 11-0 prospect has continued to wow fans by destroying his foes in the most flashiest of ways. Variety is the spice of life and for “MVP”, unpredictability has been the key to his various methods of victory in the Bellator cage.

From a first round Achilles Lock against Jeremie Holloway, to a skull shattering flying knee to the cranium of Cyborg Santos, Michael Page continues to use his high-risk hijinks to captivate crowds and propel himself further up the welterweight ladder. Is Page’s pizazz predominantly hype or will “MVP” prove to be the cream of the Bellator crop?

Fernando Gonzalez is next on deck to attempt a derailing “MVP’s” hype train (pardon the cliche). Gonzalez sports a deceptive 25-13 MMA record, however, has won all 5 of his Bellator bouts. The standup game is where Gonzalez has thrived as he possesses knockout power and utilizes solid defensive fundamentals.

We have seen Fernando Gonzalez consistently display a granite chin as he marches down his opponents, willing to eat one in order to give one. If Gonzalez can solve the Rubik’s Cube that is Michael Page, then he will steal all of “MVP”s” hype and can potentially put his name in the hat for a shot at Bellator’s welterweight title.

Linton Vassell (16-5 MMA; 5-2 Bellator) vs. Francis Carmont (25-11 MMA; 3-1 Bellator): Light Heavyweight

A tight contest is set to take place between two submission grapplers who are both willing to test the waters on the feet. Linton Vassell started off in Bellator with 3 straight wins, 2 of which were by submission (RNC x 2), before alternating wins and losses over the course of his next 4 fights. Vassell avenged his loss to Bellator’s former light heavyweight champion Emanuel Newton with a unanimous decision victory back at Bellator 149. With both fighters typically wanting to grapple, will Vassell showcase something new on the feet in hopes of stringing together consecutive victories?

Following his signing with Bellator MMA, Francis Carmont has won 3 of his last 4 fights, only losing to now light heavyweight champion Phil Davis. Carmont’s most recent opponent, Lukasz Klinger, was strangled via Brabo Choke in just 3:54 of the first round. Francis Carmont has been known to sit back a bit when it comes to the standup phase of fighting. Can Carmont up the ante in the aggression department and take advantage of his athleticism to light up Linton Vassell?

Brandon Girtz (14-4 MMA; 6-2 Bellator) vs. Adam Piccolotti (8-0 MMA; 4-0 Bellator): Lightweight

The 14-4 Brandon Girtz has accumulated a 6-2 record inside of the Bellator arena, as 4 of those victories came inside of the first round. Girtz is known for his low and explosive stance, which could be partially responsible for why he has yet to experience life on his back in an MMA fight.

In his last bout, Bellator 146 in November of 2015, Brandon Girtz showcased his devastating punching power by destroying Derek Campos in a :37 display of carnage. Facing a Jiu-Jitsu ace in Adam Piccolotti, look for Girtz to want to keep things on the feet where he believes he will have the advantage. A win for Brandon Girtz would make it 4 straight, and should expedite his status as a top lightweight contender.

The undefeated Adam Piccolotti is looking to build upon his 8-0 record as he is in search of his fourth consecutive finish in the Bellator cage. With a BJJ blackbelt to his credit, it is no surprise that Piccolotti has a knack for attacking the neck. To compliment his savvy sub skills, Adam Piccolotti has been spotted utilizing a high-volume barrage of ground and pound strikes in order to advance his position. With Girtz being a step up in the level of opposition, will Adam Piccolotti be able to get the fight down to the ground, and if not, will Piccolotti pull out a contingency plan to secure his ninth win in a row?

Keri Melendez (Pro Debut) vs. Sheila Padilla (2-0 MMA; Bellator Debut): (W) Flyweight

The “Skrap Pack Queen” Keri Melendez, wife of UFC lightweight Gilbert Melendez, is set to make her professional MMA debut on the Bellator 165 main card. Welcoming Melendez to professional MMA is the 2-0 Sheila Padilla. Can Melendez pull from her kickboxing experience to have a seamless transition into an MMA career, or will Sheila Padilla seize the opportunity to make a name for herself in the Bellator’s flyweight division?

Prelims: Streaming Online on at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT

Kevin Ferguson Jr. vs. Aaron Hamilton: Welterweight

Carrington Banks vs. Jake Roberts: Lightweight

Diego Herzog vs Nick Pica: Middleweight

Sarah D'Alelio vs. Jaimelene Nievera: (W) Flyweight

Danasabe Mohammed vs. Dwight Grant: Welterweight

Justin Baesman vs. James Terry: Welterweight

J.J. Okanovich vs. Luis Vargas: Lightweight

Cesar Gonzalez vs. Hugo Lujan: Lightweight

Dominic Sumer vs. Justin Roswell: Welterweight

Jeremiah Labiano vs. Vince Murdock: Bantamweight

Alvin Cacdac vs. Steve Ramirez: Bantamweight

Beau Hamilton vs. Victor Jones: Featherweight

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