Juan Archuleta (Bellator MMA)

Bellator 258: Archuleta vs. Pettis Preview and Predictions

It can be difficult to live in the shadow of a relative whose success exceeds your own. In the NBA, Stephen Curry’s success has long since surpassed his father Dell’s achievements despite him having played three less seasons to this point.

In the MMA universe, the younger sibling has often found more fame. Case in point, Nate Diaz. The younger of the Diaz brothers, he gets more attention and hoopla than his older brother Nick whenever he fights.

Then, there Sergio Pettis. He is six years younger than his well-known brother Anthony, and he is finally reaping the benefits of the spotlight. He is in the prime of his career at the age of 27. While Sergio hasn’t become the lightweight champion for two different major organizations like his brother, he now has the chance to become a bantamweight titleholder for Bellator when he challenges Juan Archuleta at Bellator 258.


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Anthony was 14 fights into his professional career with a 13-1 record when he got the call to fight Benson Henderson for WEC’s lightweight title 12 years ago. Anthony won and went on to claim gold in the UFC as well. Now 26 fights into his own campaign, Sergio has a chance to capture a belt of his own. It also doesn’t hurt that Anthony is on the high road to the bank for the Professional Fighters League million-dollar payday. Talk about wearing sunglasses and living by the “ignorance is bliss” motto.

After a four-year hiatus from the sport, 37-year-old Anthony “Rumble” Johnson makes his long-anticipated return as the co-headliner alongside Jose Azevedo, a man who trains at the Pitbull Brothers Gym in Brazil and is undefeated in his last six fights. Meanwhile, Michael “Venom” Page looks to extend his winning streak to five in a bout against brawler Derek Anderson to kick off the main card.

Bellator 258 takes place on Friday, May 7, at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The eight-fight prelims gets the party started at 5:30 p.m. ET on the Bellator MMA YouTube channel. The main card follows at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.

After victories in his first two Bellator appearances, UFC veteran Sergio Pettis now gets a crack at bantamweight gold. Will he unseat reigning champ Juan Archuleta?

Pettis will indeed shock the world and dethrone the current champion to kick off a new era in the promotion. After a six-year run with the UFC in which he won nine of his 14 fights, Pettis is now undefeated in arguably the second most popular MMA promotion in North America.

In his 2020 Bellator debut against Alfred Khashakyan, Pettis submitted his opponent via guillotine choke just three minutes into the fight. It was Khashakyan’s first loss in three years since his bout with “Sugar” Sean O’Malley during the 2017 rendition of Dana White’s Contender Series.

Sergio’s next and most recent fight was a dominant showing against Ricky Bandejas for a decision win at Bellator 242. In this fight, he effectively neutralized Bandejas with precise cage-cutting and ferocious calf kicks to the lead leg of Bandejas. The damage was so substantial that Badejas was forced to switch to southpaw, which was clearly not a comfortable stance for him. Even with these changes, Bandejas was constantly getting tagged with the lead left of Pettis. Up until this fight, Bandejas had never lost a fight in his career that went to a decision.

Coupled with his speed, Sergio also has a wealth of experience training with top-tier striking and grappling talent due to his affiliation with Roufusport MMA Academy. This will further aid him in solving the puzzle of Archuleta’s suffocating offense. Pettis is much younger than Archuleta, and yet he has already fought guys with more impressive skills and resumes, including Brandon Moreno and Jussier “Formiga” da Silva, among others, in the UFC.

Pettis will adopt the same method of eating away at Archuleta’s legs early and often. This will result in Pettis walking home with the belt.

The welterweight scrap between Michael Page and Derek Anderson has been a long time in the making, with each fighter withdrawing from a previous booking. Will this fight prove to be worth the wait?

These fighters have combined for 35 wins, including 26 finishes, and just four losses.

Page looks more determined than ever to extend his winning streak to five after a viral second-round TKO loss to Douglas Lima in 2019 snapped his 14-fight winning streak. That streak dated back to his UCMMA professional debut in 2012 when he knocked out Ben Dishman in the first round with a tornado kick.

Anderson has won three in a row in Bellator. A win over Page can set up a superfight for the welterweight title between Anderson and current belt holder and American Top Team veteran Douglas Lima. This should be of high interest for a promotion looking to continue its appeal to the domestic audience. The fact that Anderson primarily fought his entire career at 155 pounds until recently to move up to 170 is no coincidence. He beat his toughest test to date in Patricky “Pitbull” Freire twice: once via unanimous decision at Bellator 98 and once by split verdict two years later at Bellator 147.

So, yes, this fight will be worth the wait.

Which fight is the sleeper match-up on this card?

These moments are far and few between, but there are two sleeper fights on this card. It is a testament to how dedicated Bellator boss Scott Coker is to showcase the league’s talent on Showtime.

The first one to keep a tab on involves Johnny Eblen and Daniel Madrid in a middleweight prelim contest. Eblen seemingly wears the “Korean Canelo” moniker with pride, as he boasts a perfect record of 7-0 that includes four first-round finishes. While he has never fought for a title, Eblen, 29, is in the prime of his career and has quickly ascended the ladder at Shamrock FC before settling into his current home in Bellator. A huge reason for his success is his affiliation with American Top Team. Madrid is a fight-game practitioner of over 15 years who has picked up 15 of his 18 wins via submission.

The second fight is the prelim showdown between Weber Almeida and Johnny Soto. Collectively, these two fighters combine for a 7-1 mark. The lone loss comes from Soto’s side. He suffered a third-round TKO in his pro debut against Danny Silva at Cage Fury Fighting Championships 75 in 2019. Almeida is a protege of Lyoto Machida that (pardon the pun) packs a punch with a 4-0 record and a 100 percent finishing rate, which is something most would not expect out of a man who is 33 years old.

FIGHT PICKS
Fight Pick
Main Card (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET)
BW Championship: Juan Archuleta vs. Sergio Pettis Archuleta
LHW Tournament: Anthony “Rumble” Johnson vs. Jose Azevedo Johnson
LW: Patricky “Pitbull” Freire vs. Peter Queally Queally
WW: Michael Page vs. Derek Anderson Anderson
Preliminary Card (YouTube, 5:30 p.m. ET)
MW: Lorenz Larkin vs. Rafael Carvalho Carvalho
BW: Josh Hill vs. Raufeon Stots Hill
WW: Logan Storley vs. Omar Hussein Hussein
FW: Weber Almeida vs. Johnny Soto Almeida
BW: Henry Corrales vs. Johnny Campbell Corrales
MW: Johnny Eblen vs. Daniel Madrid Eblen
BW: Erik Perez vs. Blaine Shutt Perez
BW: Patchy Mix vs. Albert Morales Mix