Bellator is setting up the fireworks early for the year-end run, and they’ve set up card heavy on substance for it.
Recently crowned bantamweight champ Sergio Pettis (21-5) will make his first defense against former dual RIZIN and Bellator champ Kyoji Horiguchi 29-3. As you may remember, Horiguchi had to vacate both belts due to an extended injury layoff, so he never lost the titles in the cage/ring. So he’ll be looking to make a major statement against a Sergio Pettis that may be approaching his final form. Pettis’ evolution as a well-rounded fighter capable of taking the lead and pouring on offense over time has been a joy to see, especially over the course of his recent four-fight win streak.
Horiguchi remains a problem, though. His striking and wrestling in particular are a problem, and his submission threats from anywhere are always a concern. Fast and dynamic movement to weave in and out make him a problem to take on when he’s on point. Yet Sergio fights smart. Very smart. He’s capable of solving this riddle, but how he does so is going to be a major question.
Emmanuel Sanchez (20-6) is another certified homegrown talent for Bellator that has had a great run. Unfortunately, he’s got back to back losses as of late. Now, they’re not bad losses. No shame in dropping two straight to Patricio Pitbull and Mads Burnell (who may be sniffing a title shot sooner than later). So he’s got a chance to get back in the win column now as he meets one of Canada’s toughest exports in Jeremy Kennedy (16-3).
Fresh off a run in PFL, Kennedy’s 1-1 in Bellator so far with a win over Matt Bessette upon his arrival and a loss in a spirited performance against Adam Borics. Kennedy presents some problems not only with his wrestling, but his top control game and ground strikes. His use of range while standing could be another factor to consider here as well.
Another fine Canadian talent is repping the Great White North as former World Series of Fighting title challenger Josh “The Gentleman” Hill (20-4) is back in the saddle as he meets Jared Scoggins (10-1). Hill is another very well-rounded fighter that has remained consistent in his runs through Fight Nights Global and TKO, quietly earning a 2-1 record in Bellator as well. That includes a win over Erik “Goyito“ Perez and a loss to Raufeon Stots, who’s looking like a million bucks right now and could make for a great rematch soon.
Scoggins cut his teeth fighting in the Carolinas and had a cup of coffee at CFFC last year where he earned a decision win. He makes his Bellator debut with a very tall order ahead of him.
ProFC, ACB and Fight Nights Global vet Alexander Shabily (20-3) is a name you need to get used to. Currently on a five-fight win streak, he’s perhaps the most talented free agent Bellator has signed in recent years. His last loss was to Eduard Vartanyan, who is another dynamo that has yet to make a stateside appearance. He’s got a very complete game, disciplined striking and a ton of grappling experience. With only one Bellator appearance to date (a win against Alfie Davis), he could easily be a future title challenger.
But first he’s got to deal with Bobby King (10-3), a finisher and submission specialist running on four straight wins. His last two were against Nick Newell and Steven Siler, and the win against Siler was a submission, no less. Lots of things can happen here, and it should be a great scrap.
Kai Kamaka III (8-4, 1 draw) is prone to fun bouts, and he’s up against John De Jesus (14-9). MMA Lab’s Mike Hamel (8-5) takes on certified finisher Killys Mota (12-2). A battle of UFC vets takes place as Dan Moret (15-6) takes on Spike Carlyle (12-3). Finally, Oliver Enkamp (10-2) remains an absolute menace to contend with, and he’s up against the very tough and also submission savvy Kyle Crutchmer (7-1).
Bellator’s also set up another one of their brief but excellent Countdown videos:
You can check out the weigh-ins here:
Full card is as follows:
Sergio Pettis (134) vs. Kyoji Horiguchi (134.5) – Bantamweight title fight
Emmanuel Sanchez (145.25) vs. Jeremy Kennedy (145.75) - Featherweight
Josh Hill (135.75) vs. Jared Scoggins (140)* - Bantamweight
Johnny Eblen (185) vs. Collin Huckbody (185) - Middleweight
Alexander Shabliy (155.4) vs. Bobby King (156) - Lightweight
John de Jesus (145.6) vs. Kai Kamaka III (146) - Featherweight
Levan Chokheli (170.8) vs. Vinicius de Jesus (169.6) - Welterweight
Justin Montalvo (154.8) vs. Jacob Bohn (154.8) - Lightweight
Killys Mota (155.2) vs. Mike Hamel (155.8) - Lightweight
Dan Moret (159.6) vs. Spike Carlyle (159) - 160lb catchweight
Oliver Enkamp (170) vs. Kyle Crutchmer (171) - Welterweight
Prelims start at 7:00pm EST and streams live on Bellator’s YouTube channel, while the main card starts at 10:00pm on Showtime.