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 Featherweight fight between Tywan Claxton and Jay Jay Wilson.
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) July 24, 2020
Tywan Claxton (6-1) vs. Jay Jay Wilson (5-0)
The fight I am most excited about on this card is the one between Featherweights Tywan Claxton and Jay Jay Wilson. This is a matchup that features two up and coming young MMA prospects that are both known for their ability to finish fights quickly. Claxton is 6-1 in his professional MMA career, with all of those wins coming under the Bellator MMA banner. For Wilson, he is 5-0 in his brief professional MMA career, with all five wins coming by way of stoppage, four of those coming in the first round.
Claxton is the current betting favorite at -250, and the fight is not expected to go the distance as the not to go the distance prop bet is paying -200.
Tywan Claxton started his MMA journey after his collegiate wrestling career was cut short due to an NCAA transfer rules violation. Claxton was a two-time national qualifier in wrestling at Ohio University and has brought his strong wrestling background with him into the Bellator cage. Similar to what Bellator has done with fellow high-level wrestlers like Aaron Pico and Ed Ruth, Bellator locked up Claxton early, and each of his seven professional fights has come in the big promotion.
A lot of guys are going to struggle when they are thrown right into the fire of a major promotion like Bellator, but Claxton has thrived as he started out his career by winning his first five fights, with four of those wins coming by knockout finishes. Bellator then entered Claxton into the Featherweight Grand Prix, but he was eliminated by veteran fighter Emmanuel Sanchez, a guy that had 22 professional fights in his career, including a recent Bellator World title shot against Patrício Freire.
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) July 23, 2020
Claxton was able to get right back on track in his next fight as he picked up a unanimous decision victory over Braydon Akeo late last year, at Bellator 235. With a win tonight, Claxton would put himself in a position to get a fight at the top of the Featherweight division and start his march to a title shot against the double champ, Patrício Freire.
Jay Jay Wilson
It is hard to look more impressive than Jay Jay Wilson has in his short professional MMA career. His ground game is slick, and all but one of his career wins have come by way of submission. If this kid gets you to the ground, you are in trouble, and if he takes your back, you are done.
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) July 23, 2020
Similar to Claxton, Wilson started his pro career out fighting for Bellator, but has mostly fought other inexperienced fighters. His fight tonight against Claxton will be a major step up in competition, something that he has openly acknowledged in the lead up to this fight.
It can be very hard to tell just how good a guy is when he is fighting only fighters with very little experience, and the fight tonight is going to be a major test for Wilson. If he continues his tear and finishes Claxton early, his stock will skyrocket, and he will quickly get thrown into the title shot conversation at Featherweight.
This is a very hard fight to handicap as we just don’t know much about Jay Jay Wilson, outside of the fact that he has looked very good fighting against weak competition. That’s not to say that Tywan Claxton is a world-beater, but he is certainly on another level than the guys that we have seen Wilson match up with in so far in his short career.
But when you look at these two guy’s styles, it would seem that the one thing that is easy to predict, would be the fact that we are going to see fast and furious action from the minute the bell rings. Both of these guys come out quickly and love to finish fights early. Claxton is an elite wrestler, and his takedown game is strong, but you have to wonder if he is going to push to get this fight to the ground, as that is where Wilson is at his best.
And even if this fight does end up on the ground, both of these guys have shown an ability to finish fights from the floor. In their combined twelve professional MMA fight, only two of them have ever gone the distance, and in a fight that is just too hard to predict a winner and loser, I will bank on a lot of excitement and a quick finish. Give me the no go on the to go the distance prop bet at -200!