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Bellator 210: Njokuani vs Salter fight card preview

An unheralded card with a lot of substance, with some of Bellator’s best and most exciting talent on display.

Hope you didn’t have plans this weekend.

With the UFC putting on a doubleheader this weekend, Bellator will also be following suit with two cards back to back for Friday and Saturday. It’s a bit of a shame, because this card has a ton of potential for action and quality fights, but there doesn’t seem to be too much attention around it like some of their larger events.

The prelims for this card have some great cards that could easily be on the main card. Some of the lesser-experienced fighters are still in fun stylistic clashes, with some possible prospects in the mix.

Chidi Njokuani (18-5) has assembled a very good run in Bellator, going 5-1 with his lone loss against former champ Andrey Koreshkov and two great finishes over Thiago Gonçalves and this gem against Andre Fialho. His striking has been his greatest asset, yet his grappling (especially on defense) has been steadily improving.

Standing across from him will be John Salter (15-4), a fantastic grappler with strong hands. Salter just had his seven-fight win streak snapped by BJJ ace Rafael Lovato back in September, but hopes to stay fresh with a quick turnaround against a very dangerous striker.

David Rickels (19-5) has done well moving up from lightweight with a win at welterweight against Aaron Derrow and a catchweight win over Adam Piccolotti. Now he testes his Caveman Muay Thai skills against Guillerme Vasconcelos (10-4), who’s now 3-1 in the Bellator cage and coming off a submission win over Ivan Castillo in January. Karate Kicker Kristina Williams (2-1) faces Brazilian prospect Bruna Ellen (4-1).

Standout wrestler Chris Honeycutt (11-2) faces Dutch striker Costello Van Steenis (10-1). Van Steenis is for real, with a four fight win streak including performances like this and this. Tough test for both fighters. Same can be said for England’s Mike Shipman (12-1), who hasn’t lost since his pro debut. He’ll be tasked with taking on certified finisher Scott Futrell (11-6).

Daniel Weichel (39-10) will have the experience advantage against the determined and ever-improving Goiti Yamauchi (22-4), and Joe Schilling (2-5) sails full speed ahead against Will Morris (4-0). Schilling has stated that he’s pretty much done with kickboxing for now, making MMA his main focus overall. California journeyman and Strikeforce vet Anthony Ruiz (35-22) will aim to stop the momentum of submission ace Jordan Young (9-0), a fighter that only has two decision wins as a professional and an amateur.

Want more? Former champion Joe Warren (15-7) tests his wrestling mettle against another talented grappler in Shawn Bunch (7-3). Noad Lahat goes from headlining two cards in a row to ending up on the prelims against SBG Ireland’s Brian Moore (11-6). UFC vet Gerald Harris (25-7) faces heavy hitter Hracho Darpinyan (78-8, 1 draw).

All in all, there’s a lot of name value on the action front. Most of the bigger names are on the prelims, but that’s just more of an incentive to watch the online portion of the card. There’s a lot here for every kind of fan outside of the Sapp/Akebono adherents (Zane Simon, I’m looking at you), and this should make for a very good card overall.

Chidi Njokuani vs John Salter - Middleweight

David Rickles vs Guillerme Vasconcelos - Welterweight

Juan Archuleta vs Jeremy Spoon - Featherweight

Bruna Ellen vs Kristina Williams - Flyweight

Chris Honeycutt vs Costello van Steenis - Middleweight

Mike Shipman vs Scott Futrell - Middleweight

Daniel Weichel vs Goiti Yamauchi - Lightweight

Adil Benjilani vs Daniel Carey - Featherweight

Anthony Ruiz vs Jordan Young - Light Heavyweight

Joe Schilling vs Will Morris - Middleweight

Joe Warren vs Shawn Bunch - Bantamweight

Noad Lahat vs Brian Moore - Featherweight

Gerald Harris vs Hracho Darpinyan - Middleweight

Vernon Lewis vs Rudy Schaffroth - Heavyweight

Bellator 210 takes place at the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, OK, with the prelims starting at 6:45pm EST and the main card on Paramount Network starting at 9:00pm.