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Bellator 219: Awad vs. Girtz fight card preview

Check out the breakdown of Friday’s Bellator 219 main card, including Saad Awad vs. Brandon Girtz in the main event.

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Bellator MMA

Bellator 219 sets sail tonight, March 29, from the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California. The top of the billing pairs up a set of Bellator veterans in Saad Awad and Brandon Girtz, who between the two, own 55-overall MMA matches and 31-promotional bouts. The co-main event of the evening will see former featherweight champion Daniel Straus move up to the lightweight division to face former Aaron Pico victim Shane Kruchten. Before that, Bellator’s former welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov looks to get back into the win column when he welcomes the 13-4 promotional newcomer Mike Jasper. Opening up the main card, kickboxing superstar Joe Schilling steps back into the MMA arena to face the more MMA-experienced Keith Berry.

Bellator 219 takes place this Friday, March 29, and will air live on the Paramount Network and DAZN at 9:00 P.M. ET. The prelims will air online at 8:00 P.M. ET.

Main card:

Saad Awad (23-10 MMA; 11-7 Bellator) vs. Brandon Girtz (15-8 MMA; 7-6 Bellator): Lightweight

Saad Awad was finding his stride, quietly winning four-straight, before running into former UFC lightweight champion Ben Henderson and dropping a decision. Winning streaks are nothing new to Awad, as the veteran has been on five of them over the course of his 33-fight career. With a four-inch height and eight-inches reach advantage of his opponent, can Awad utilize his length to own the range and keep Brandon Girtz on the outside?

Girtz is a powerhouse that loves to throw heavy hands as well as blast takedowns. Five of his seven Bellator victories occurred in the opening round, and aside from Michael Chandler, the rest of his promotional losses occurred after the first round. If Girtz is going to get it done, then history says it better happen early. Having gone 1-4 in his last five fights, Girtz is in desperate need of a win.

Daniel Straus (24-8 MMA; 11-5 Bellator) vs. Shane Kruchten (12-4 MMA; 0-1 Bellator) : Lightweight

Bellator’s former featherweight champion Daniel Straus has been going through quite a bit of adversity as of late - From getting submitted by Patricio Pitbull and Emmanuel Sanchez in consecutive outings, to being involved in a terrible motorcycle accident. On paper, this is Straus lowest level of opposition since he fought Mike Corey back at Bellator 65 in 2012. Fun fact: Mike Corey retired off of a win following a WSOF 9 submission of current Straus opponent, Shane Kruchten. Is the move up to lightweight, and relatively green opponent, just what the former featherweight king needs to get back on track?

Speaking of Kruchten, he’s taking the Henry Corrales route to begin his Bellator career - taking insanely challenging fights right out of the gate, including a former world champion. Kruchten was melted in his promotional debut after being stopped with an Aaron Pico body shot in just 37-seconds. Failing forward, Kruchten now has a chance to claim the scalp of a former Bellator champion. Hey, however unlikely it may be, it could still happen.

Andrey Koreshkov (21-3 MMA; 12-3 Bellator) vs. Mike Jasper (13-4 MMA; Bellator Debut): Welterweight

Looking to rebound after dropping his rubber match to former 170-pound champ Douglas Lima, Andrey Koreshkov was initially slated to face Lorenz Larkin on this card. An unfortunate injury to Larkin resulted in Bellator’s former welterweight champ Koreshkov getting booked against a promotional noob. Having fought and only lost to the very best that Bellator had to offer, his opponent is quite a few notches below the norm. Kudos to Jasper for stepping up and taking the fight, but what a tough way to get your start in Bellator. This might get ugly.

Joe Schilling (3-5 MMA; 2-2 Bellator) vs. Keith Berry (15-14 MMA; 2-3-1-1 Bellator): Middleweight

Kickboxing superstar Joe Schilling is looking for consecutive wins for the first-time in his MMA career. At Bellator 210 this past November, Schilling picked up a first-round retirement win over the then undefeated Will Morris. In the match, Schilling took the fight to the ground and worked his ground strikes, which split open Morris and ultimately was the catalyst for the contest being stopped. His current opponent, Keith Berry, has posted a peculiar 2-3-1-1 record under the Bellator banner. This seems like the perfect sort of chaos to pair-up with Schilling to make for an ‘anything can happen’ matchup. Don’t blink!

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