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Bellator 171: Guillard vs. Njokuani fight card preview

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Here’s the scoop on tonight’s Bellator 171 card, including the catchweight tilt between Melvin Guillard and Chidi Njokuani.

Bellator MMA will be invading the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas to bring you Bellator 171: Guillard vs. Njokuani. The headline bout will see 50-fight veteran Melvin Guillard square off with rising welterweight Chidi Njokuani at a catchweight tilt of 180 pounds. The co-main event for the evening will see fan favorite David “The Caveman” Rickels in a home game against dangerous submission threat Aaron Derrow. Bellator 171 can be seen this Saturday night, live on Spike TV at 9:00 P.M. EST, with the prelims streaming online at 7:00 P.M. EST.

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

Melvin Guillard (32-16-2 MMA; 0-2-1 Bellator) vs. Chidi Njokuani (16-4 MMA; 3-0 Bellator): 180 lbs catchweight

Melvin Guillard is looking to get on track inside of the Bellator promotion, despite having stopped his last opponent, David Rickels, with brutal ground strikes in just 2:14 of the first round. Guillard’s win was turned into a no contest following a failed drug test for a non-PED substance, as “The Young Assassin” remains without a win on his record since July of 2014. Perhaps the catchweight bout at 180 lbs. will be just what the doctor ordered for Guillard to bypass the weight-cutting distractions that have plagued him in the past.

Chidi “Chidi Bang Bang” Njokuani has been firing on all cylinders as he has won all three of his Bellator bouts, with the most recent two coming by way of finish. Njokuani is familiar with having the reach advantage, and makes the most of his 6’3 frame with his straight punching techniques and ferocious body kicks. The knock on Njokuani has been his opponents ability to control him against the fence, but don’t expect Guillard to come out looking to wall and stall. With a win over a name like Guillard, Njokuani will gain the attention of the rest of the Bellator welterweight division.

David Rickels (17-4-2 MMA; 11-4-2 Bellator) vs. Aaron Derrow (14-8 MMA; 1-0 Bellator): Lightweight

Kansas’ own David Rickels has put on for the Bellator promotion a total 17 times in his 23-fight career. Having gone 2-2-2 in his past six fights, Rickels has been consistently inconsistent as he looks to move into the win column in front of a friendly crowd. You can anticipate Rickels wanting to come right at Derrow with a hodgepodge of knees and punches in search of his 12th professional finish. Although his opponent is known for his ground game, don’t expect Rickels to shy away from the grappling as “The Caveman” has yet to taste defeat by way of submission.

Aaron “Daddy Long Legs” Derrow is known for his rather long legs and his rather stout grappling game. Of his 14 wins, 10 of them have come by way of submission as he will be making his second Bellator appearance against a promotional veteran. Derrow has shown a knack for not letting his opponents return to their feet once the fight hits the ground, so if Derrow can put Rickels on his back, then “Daddy Long Legs” has a solid chance of picking up a win over a key name in Bellator’s lightweight division.

AJ McKee (6-0 MMA; 6-0 Bellator) vs. Brandon Phillips (6-2 MMA; 1-0 Bellator): Featherweight

AJ McKee was bred for MMA as his father Antonio McKee was a talented fighter in his own right. In his last outing, AJ McKee overcame early adversity to come back and win a unanimous decision over Ray Wood this past December at Bellator 166. McKee has been able to solve all 6 of his professional riddles as his undefeated record will be on the line against the 6-2 wrestle-boxer in Brandon Phillips. What new tools will McKee unveil as he looks to move from an up and coming prospect to a legitimate threat in Bellator’s featherweight division.

Brandon Phillips sports a 6-2 record as he heads into his second appearance for the Bellator promotion. In the past, we have seen Phillips show a thirst for throwing his hands mixed with a relentless drive to return to his feet in the event of a takedown. With his 2 blemishes on his record involving the ground game, will Phillips be able to stay vertical and force McKee to duke it out with him?

Jessica Middleton (1-0 MMA; 1-0 Bellator) vs. Alice Yauger (4-4 MMA; Bellator Debut): Flyweight

The women’s flyweight division will see some action on the main card as Kansas’ own Jessica Middleton takes on the more experienced Alice Yauger. The last time we saw Middleton in the cage, she was making her promotional debut with a unanimous decision victory over Bruna Ellen at Bellator 159 back in July of 2016. Off the strength of back to back wins on the regional circuit, Alice Yauger will be making her promotional debut in a wide open flyweight division. Which 125’er will rise to the occasion?

Prelims: Streaming online at 7:00 P.M. EST

Chris Harris vs. Jordan Young

Gaston Reyno vs. Justin Overton

Jarod Trice vs. Kevin Woltkamp

Tyrell Fortune vs. Will Johnson

Bruna Ellen vs. Carmella James

Will Lavine vs. Domo Garcia

Chance Rencountre vs. Jake Lindsay

Johnny Marigo vs. Joe Fulk

Manny Meraz vs. Scott Heston

Craig Farley vs. Mike Breeden