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Bellator 152: Pitbull vs. Souza fight card preview

Mookie Alexander previews the MMA portion of Saturday's Bellator 152: Pitbull vs. Souza event in Torino, Italy.

Bellator MMA
Tomorrow marks the first ever Bellator event held outside of North America. Bellator 152 takes place in Torino, Italy, where lightweight contender Patricky Freire fights former UFC fighter Kevin Souza, who accepted the bout on just a week's notice. The co-main event is a Bellator debut for UFC veteran Alessio Sakara, who will fight Brian Rogers in a light heavyweight bout, and the Italians supporters will surely be behind "Legionarius."

Here's a brief preview of the MMA main card, which airs on tape-delay at 10 PM ET/PT on Spike TV. As a result, Bloody Elbow will have a spoiler-free discussion post (sans Dallas Winston's play-by-play). For a preview of the inaugural Bellator Kickboxing, which precedes the MMA bouts, check out Fraser Coffeen's article.

Main Event

Patricky Pitbull (15-7) vs. Kevin Souza (16-4) - Lightweights

The elder Pitbull brother is coming off a sensational, one-punch KO of Ryan Couture at Bellator 148. Whereas Patricio has been a force at 145 lbs for years, Patricky has been inconsistent throughout his run at lightweight. He's twice reached the lightweight tournament finals, only to come up short against Michael Chandler in 2011, and Marcin Held in 2014. Patricky also experienced a stretch of 3 straight losses, including a head kick KO loss to Eddie Alvarez. Pitbull does have several good wins on his record, particularly his consecutive stoppage wins over Dave Rickels and Derek Campos in the season 10 tourney.

Souza was harshly cut by the UFC after a rear-naked choke loss to Chas Skelly last November. It was his first loss since 2011 and it snapped a 10-fight winning streak. Souza is a dangerous knockout specialist who has scored KO/TKOs in 14 of his 16 wins. His two knockouts in the UFC came against Katsunori Kikuno and Mark Eddiva, while his lone decision win was by split vs. Felipe Arantes. The 31-year-old is a former Jungle Fights featherweight champion who is making his lightweight debut, due to the short notice nature of this fight.

This is a really intriguing matchup, and arguably more compelling than the Pitbull vs. Brent Primus and Pitbull vs. Campos 2 bookings. It's hard to imagine this fight going the distance given both men have explosive -- yeah, I know, be quiet -- knockout power and this should be a stand-up heavy contest. We've seen Patricky experience upset losses before, and this is a dangerous last-minute replacement, but I see Souza's introduction to the 155 lbs division ending in a knockout defeat. Wouldn't be shocked if Kevin pulled off the victory, but I think Patricky will get to Kevin first and put him away with a big shot.

Co-main Event

Alessio Sakara (17-11, 2 NC) vs. Brian Rogers (12-8) - Light Heavyweights

Sakara fought 15 times in the UFC, winning 6, losing 8, and going to a no-contest in his debut vs. Ron Faircloth. The UFC let him go following an armbar loss to Nico Musoke, which marked his 4th consecutive defeat inside the Octagon. After his release, he returned to the light heavyweight division, citing the increased difficulties in cutting down to 185. Sakara's post-UFC fights have ended in an no contest vs. Maciej Browarski, followed by a TKO win over Dib Akil.

Rogers has spent more than half of his career competing under the Bellator MMA banner, but primarily as a middleweight. He entered four middleweight tournaments (seasons 5, 6, 8, and 9) but failed to reach the final in any of them. The special education teacher has an astonishing 3 flying knee KO wins, including a pair in Bellator, and has won just once by decision. Rogers moved up to light heavyweight in December and defeated Virgil Zwicker with an arm-triangle choke.

Unless Sakara is willing to take this to the ground, where I reckon he has the clear advantage, I can't trust his chin anymore to withstand hard strikes. I'm picking Rogers by KO and not expecting this to go the distance regardless of result.

Rest of the main card

A.J. McKee (3-0) vs. Danilo Belluardo (5-0) - Featherweights

A.J. McKee is the son of retired MMA veteran Antonio McKee, who compiled a record of 29-6-2 before hanging up the gloves in 2014. It's been a great start for McKee, who made his professional debut last year and went a perfect 3-for-3, scoring a pair of KO wins and a submission all inside the opening 5 minutes. Belluardo's record is a bit odd, as the Italian has an 0-3 amateur record (per Sherdog) but he's undefeated as a pro. McKee is the massive favorite and has been touted as one of the best featherweight prospects in MMA, so this projects to be a showcase fight for the 21-year-old. Much to my disappointment, Belluardo isn't Italian for Bellator.

Anastasia Yankova (2-0) vs. Anjela Pink (0-0) - Women's Flyweights (contested at 130 lbs catchweight)

Yankova is a Russian Muay Thai specialist who is new to the women's MMA scene, but she has the potential to be one of Bellator's top fighters in their burgeoning 125 lbs division. Her first two MMA bouts, both in Russia, ended in submission wins. Now the 25-year-old makes her way onto a much bigger stage in Bellator, where she could do both MMA and kickboxing for the company. Anjela Pink is making her pro debut after an apparent 1-4 amateur record (per You probably know where this is headed.

Daniele Miceli (2-0) vs. Daniele Scatizzi (6-2) - Welterweights

It's an all-Italian main card opener between two Bellator newcomers. In fact, Scatizzi is actually scheduled to fight Cody McKenzie on the next Venator FC card on May 21st. Scatizzi comes in on a two-fight losing skid, while Miceli won his first two pro fights last year. You have to back Daniele to win this one.