Bellator MMA returns to action tonight as they host Bellator 242 from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. The event is headlined by a Bantamweight bout between Ricky Bandejas and Sergio Pettis. We here at The Sports Geek are going to breakdown each of the main card fights and give you a high-value play for every fight. In this article, we are going to breakdown the main event between Ricky Bandejas and Sergio Pettis.
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Ricky Bandejas (13-3) vs. Sergio Pettis (19-5)
The main event at Bellator 242 is a Bantamweight bout between Ricky Bandejas and UFC veteran Sergio Pettis. Bandejas has gone 3-2 in his Bellator MMA career after starting out 9-1 as a professional. He looks to build on his current two-fight winning streak, as he has recent wins over Ahmet Kayretli and Frans Mlambo, with both wins coming by knockout.
For Pettis, he recently left the UFC after picking up ten wins in the world’s largest MMA promotion, and signed with Bellator as a free agent, and is 1-0 in the promotion. Pettis beat Alfred Khashakyan by guillotine choke in the first round and has his eyes set on the currently vacant Bellator MMA Bantamweight title. This fight is expected to be a title eliminator, with the winner of this fight fighting the winner of Juan Archuleta vs. Patrick Mix for the vacant Bantamweight strap.
Pettis is the current betting favorite at -159, and the fight is expected to go the distance as the to go the distance prop bet is paying -240.
Ricky Bandejas is not a household name at this point, but he should be. This guy has a world-class striking game and has pinpoint accuracy with both his punches and kicks. When you look at his record, he has a big win over James Gallagher, who was undefeated at the time, knocking him out in the first round, and his overall record is stellar, at 13-3.
— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) July 24, 2020
When you look at who he has lost to in Bellator, you know that it takes a lot to beat this kid. Bandejas has losses to Juan Archuleta and Patrick Mix, that’s it. Those two guys have a combined MMA record of 27-2. Mix is undefeated, and Archuleta’s only loss in the last five years came to the double champ, Patricio Freire. And remember, the loss to Archuleta was a controversial one, as many people, myself included, thought that Bandejas did enough to win the fight.
We already talked about how this fight is a title eliminator, and if Bandejas finds a way to pick up the upset win tonight, he will get a chance to avenge one of his two losses against the winner of Mix and Archuleta. You are going to see a highly skilled and highly motivated fighter tonight in Ricky Bandejas.
Bellator MMA has done a very good job recently at poaching talent from the UFC. They have made themselves a viable alternative for free-agent fighters, and they have been able to snag a lot of talent in the last couple of years. One of those guys is Sergio Pettis. Pettis fought in the UFC from 2013-2019, before making the move to Bellator earlier this year.
In his time fighting for the UFC, Pettis bounced around between Flyweight and Bantamweight and had multiple Fight of the Night performances. He picked up signature wins over guys like John Moraga and Joseph Benavidez and took combat sports GOAT Henry Cejudo the distance in a decision loss. Pettis left the origination on a high note with a win over Tyson Nam and started his Bellator career out where he left on in the UFC, as he beat Alfred Khashakyan in his Bellator debut.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) January 26, 2020
Pettis was once one of the more exciting fighters in the world as he was a risk to stop fights both standing and on the ground. But he has recently turned into a point fighter, as outside of his recent submission victory against Alfred Khashakyan, he has seen eleven out of his last twelve fights go to a decision, including nine straight. He has managed to win more of those than he has lost, but it is a bit disappointing to see a guy that has so much power turn into a guy looking to grind out decisions.
This is an interesting matchup. On the feet, I give a slight edge to Bandejas. Both guys throw lots of kicks from weird angles, and it they want to, this could be a very exciting stand-up battle. But I have a feeling that Pettis knows he isn’t going to get the best of the stand-up exchanges, which makes me think that he is going to use his solid grappling game to drag Bandejas to the mat and keep him there.
And while Pettis does have a decent submission game, he submitted three of his first nine career opponents, he didn’t have another submission win until his last fight. At this point in his career, he is taking guys down to hold them down, not to submit them.
Well, if we are going to have a boring fight with Pettis grinding out yet another submission victory, I might as well get paid to try not to fall asleep. Give me Sergio Pettis by decision in a snoozefest.