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Bellator 221: Chandler vs. Pitbull main card preview

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Here’s the breakdown for Saturday’s Bellator 221 main card, including Douglas Lima vs. Michael Page in the co-main event.

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For the second time in as many weeks, Bellator MMA will be taking place on a Saturday. Bellator 221 kicks off on May 11th from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. The night will be capped off with a lightweight title fight between current champ Michael Chandler, and the promotion’s featherweight champ, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. That champ vs. champ matchup will get its own preview post as this write-up will cover the rest of the main card.

In the co-main event slot will be a five-round semi-final matchup in Bellator’s welterweight World Grand Prix. The promotion’s former 170-pound king Douglas Lima is pitted against undefeated sniper-striker Michael Page.

After dropping his welterweight title to Rory MacDonald back at Bellator 192, Lima closed out his rubber match with fellow former champ Andrey Koreshkov at Bellator 206, sniffing out a fifth round rear-naked choke. Lima is complete and elite. When he’s healthy, he is no doubt one of the very best that planet earth has to offer at 170-pounds. His kicks are devastating, his hands are heavy, and he knows how to win rounds. Lima has only lost three out of fifteen Bellator bouts, and they came to world champions Ben Askren, Andrey Koreshkov, and Rory MacDonald. There is absolutely no shame in that. He’s also never been finished in 37-fights, which speaks to his toughness and defensive prowess. Will one of Bellator’s former kings dish out the first ‘L’ of Page’s career?

MVP has amassed a flawless 14-0 record over the course of his seven-year career. He is known for his flashy style, full of bravado as he dances around looking to snipe his victims. The only real knock on Page has been that he’s a bit of a slow-churning prospect. He didn’t really take the big leaps up in competition the way that many would have hoped. His biggest fight to date is his last one against Paul Daley, which he was able to handle. Daley is top-shelf, sure, but the version of him that fought Page was anything but. NCAA wrestler Paul Daley made things weird. Nonetheless, Page proved victorious and is now facing Lima, his toughest test to date. Will Page’s pizzaz mixed in with his sniper-like striking style be enough for him to best one of Bellator’s true elites?

Before that, the 13-0 undefeated AJ McKee is set to face his first-ever former champion when he welcomes back the 23-7 Pat Curran. McKee is the new breed of fighter, being born into thew sport under his father and fellow fighter Antonio McKee. He has only been fighting pro since 2015, and each of his professional MMA matches have occurred under the Bellator banner. Before he hit Hawaii to choke out Daniel Crawford at Bellator 212, McKee was seen knocking out MMA veteran John Macapa in a swift 69-seconds at Bellator 205. McKee can do it all. He can strike, he can grapple, he can MMA. The question will be whether or not he can maintain focus throughout, and avoid whatever veteran savvy the former champ may throw his way.

Also on the main card, Jake Hager, also known in the WWE realm as Jack Swagger, will be taking his second pro-MMA match against the 1-1 TJ Jones. Hager has a collegiate wrestling background, and used it in his pro/Bellator debut. He was able to choke out JW Kiser in the first round with an arm triangle. His opponent Jones has already tasted defeat, but also has a 58-second submission win on his record. Remember, these are heavyweights with super-young records, so who knows what will happen?

Opening up the main card, the ever-exciting 4-0 Ty-wan Claxton faces fellow finisher James Bennett in the featherweight division. Claxton bursted onto the big stage with an epic flying knee knockout, and on top of a decision has produced two ground and pound finishes since. His opponent, known as “Berzerker” is coming down from lightweight. He already holds a Bellator win, knocking out Dustin Stusse in the opening round in April of 2018. Considering each man’s thirst to finish, there’s a solid chance of this matchup being straight fireworks.

Bellator 221 takes place this Saturday, May 11, and will air live on DAZN at 9:00 P.M. ET. The prelims will begin at 6:30 P.M. ET.

Main card:

  • Michael Chandler (19-4) vs. Patricio Freire (28-4): Lightweight Title
  • Douglas Lima (30-7) vs. Michael Page (14-0): Welterweight World Grand Prix Semi-finals
  • AJ McKee (13-0) vs. Pat Curran (23-7): Featherweight
  • Jake Hager (1-0) vs. TJ Jones (1-1): Heavyweight
  • Ty-wan Claxton (4-0) vs. James Bennett (4-1): Featherweight

Prelims:

  • Adil Benjilany (5-1, 1 NC) vs. Cris Lencioni (4-2)
  • Chris Gonzalez (1-0) vs. Charlie Radtke (2-1)
  • Bryan Bautista (1-0) vs. Rob Fenicle (1-0)
  • Adam Ward (18-11) vs. Amartuvshin Khuukhenkhuu (9-4)
  • Jose Leon (Pro Debut) vs. Christian Rodriguez (Pro Debut)
  • Askar Askar (9-0) vs. Taylor Moore (9-4)
  • James Bochnovic (9-4) vs. Robert Morrow (28-24-1, 1 NC)
  • Dave Latoria (Pro Debut) vs. Jason Belyew (0-1)
  • Joey Diehl (12-9) vs. Jesse Bazzi (9-6)
  • Scott Writz (2-0) vs. Josh Streacker (5-2)