On Friday, Sept. 21, Bellator MMA heads to the Centurylink Arena in Boise, Idaho. for Bellator 205.
The main event of the evening takes place in the featherweight division, where contender A.J. McKee Jr. takes on John Macapá. McKee has been an excellent addition to the featherweight roster. He has blazed to a perfect 10-0 start for the promotion. McKee was supposed to take on hometown favorite Pat Curran, but an injury forced Curran out and opened the door for Macapá to step in for this fight. Macapá is currently on a two-fight skid after dropping decisions to Curran and Daniel Weichel, two of the bigger names on the Bellator roster.
The co-headliner features middleweights Rafael Lovato Jr. and John Salter. These men are out to see who can keep up their streak and rise to the top of the division. Lovato has remained unbeaten early in his MMA career, with wins in his first eight fights. Salter has been great since coming over to Bellator. He has won his first five fights in the promotion’s ranks.
Bellator veteran Patricky “Pitbull” Freire returns to action in a lightweight fight against Roger Huerta. Bellator 205 also heads to the women’s flyweight division, where Veta Arteaga takes on Denise Kielholtz.
The Bellator 205 preliminary card airs live on Bellator.com at 7 p.m. ET. The main-card action kicks off on the Paramount Network at 9 p.m. ET.
A.J. McKee Jr. is one of Bellator’s top homegrown talents. He’s still undefeated, and now he’s tasked with taking out veteran featherweight John Macapá, who is on a two-fight skid. Is this another relatively easy win for McKee?
Let’s not go so far as to say easy, but this fight is intended to help further McKee’s run toward the title. He has been a huge coup for Bellator. The young featherweight has shot off to a perfect 10-0 start and has looked nothing short of spectacular during this run.
McKee was slated to face former Bellator champion Pat Curran. That was a good jump in competition and would have been a huge test for McKee. While Macapá may not be at the same talent level as Curran, he is an established veteran nonetheless. McKee is a very well-rounded fighter who has finished six opponents. He is coming off a win over UFC veteran Justin Lawrence in a fight that went the distance. McKee’s ability to hang with a fighter like Lawrence showed that the up-and-comer is ready to take the next step.
This fight should end before the third round. McKee has the edge on the feet and the ability to end the fight on the ground. Regardless of where this fight goes, he will find success. He has shown his versatility against tough strikers like Lawrence and grapplers like Ray Wood in the past. He’ll do more of the same in a win over Macapá.
Co-headliners Rafael Lovato Jr. and John Salter have both been on rolls lately. Lovato remains undefeated through eight pro bouts, and Salter is riding a seven-fight winning streak. Who keeps their momentum going with a win here?
This is the best fight on the card. It is a very even match-up between two guys who have been on a tear inside the Bellator cage. The Bellator middleweight division is relatively thin, but this sort of fight is going to help make it more interesting.
Salter has some great wrestling. It didn’t bring him a huge amount of success in the UFC, but it has helped propel him in Bellator. He utilizes his wrestling to help end fights early instead of grinding his way to the decision. This nose for the finish has led him to submit four of his five Bellator opponents. Two of those submission victories came against decent grapplers Brandon Halsey and Kendall Grove. Lovato is a grappler, too, and his jiu-jitsu is top notch for the division, so Salter will need to be wary of the threat Lovato poses on the ground.
This is a big fight for Salter and Lovato, both of whom are in their mid-30s. The result of this contest will have big implications for the division. The clock is ticking for these guys, so any setback on a title run now could be hugely detrimental. Through eight outings, Lovato has seen a surprising amount of fights against experienced fighters. The edge, however, goes to Salter as a wrestler who will be better able to control from the top.
Does anyone really want to see Patricky “Pitbull” Freire fight the 2018 version of Roger Huerta?
Yes and no.
No, because Huerta didn’t look like his old self in his most recent Bellator fight against Benson Henderson. Henderson has looked to be on the decline himself since joining Bellator, and yet Huerta had problems dealing with him. Huerta is 2-3 over his last five fights, and if we delve back further, the record gets even more skewed against him. This is a bad fight for Huerta, who will be more than willing to go toe-to-toe with Freire.
Yes, because this should be a good fight. Freire likes to draw his opponents into big striking brawls and go for the kill. He has won two of his last three fights by knockout over veterans Derek Campos and Josh Thomson. That’s not exactly a couple of nobodies. Freire is a great fighter and has been around Bellator for ages. This is a good showcase fight for him to make another run toward the top. Freire has looked great over his last three fights, and this fight should continue the trend. It’s tough, though, because Freire’s success comes at the expense of Huerta.
Featherweights Adam Borics and Josenaldo Silva are relegated to the preliminary card. Is this the most overlooked fight on the card?
It’s not overlooked, just misplaced.
The big highlight of this fight is Borics. The Hungarian featherweight has been huge for Bellator in his first two fights. He isn’t a name yet, but he is well on his way to establishing himself. We’ve already seen two great finishes from the 25-year-old. Borics does a very good job at keeping his attack well rounded.
Perhaps if his fight with James Gallagher had gone through and Borics emerged victorious, we’d be talking about Borics as a main-card fixture. However, we’re not quite there yet. The Gallagher fight fell through, and so we have Borics against Silva, who has been inactive for almost a year.
Silva is a good veteran with a wealth of experience. He’ll test Borics, but he is on a two-fight skid and could possibly suffer from a little ring rust.
Borics is definitely an up-and-coming fighter, and his fight is worth watcching, even if it comes on the preliminary portion of the card. If Borics emerges with the victory — and he should — then we might see him promoted to the main card in his next Bellator event.
|Main Card (Paramount Network, 9 p.m. ET)|
|FW: A.J. McKee Jr. vs. John Macapá||McKee|
|MW: Rafael Lovato Jr. vs. John Salter||Salter|
|LW: Patricky “Pitbull” Freire vs. Roger Huerta||Freire|
|Women’s FlyW: Denise Kielholtz vs. Veta Arteaga||Arteaga|
|Preliminary Card (Bellator.com, 7 p.m. ET)|
|Catchweight (190 pounds): Jarod Trice vs. Sean Powers||Trice|
|HW: Steve Mowry vs. Ben Moa||Mowry|
|FW: Adam Borics vs. Josenaldo Silva||Borics|
|LHW: Sua Tuani vs. Emilio Trevino||Trevino|
|FW: Bryce Edminister vs. Leon Taylor||Taylor|
|LW: Johnny Nunez vs. Josh Wick||Nunez|
|FW: Nathan Stolen vs. Andrew Cruz||Stolen|
|WW: Kyle Frost vs. David Rangel||Frost|
|BW: Joe Aguirre vs. Stephen Stirewalt||Aguirre|
|BW: Vince Morales vs. Justin Hugo||Morales|