With plenty of stacked MMA events going on this weekend, Bellator MMA needed to assemble a fight card that would stand out. Well, mission accomplished. Bellator 260 looks to be one of the best promotional events of the year. The event includes welterweight kingpin Douglas Lima, who will defend his belt against Yaroslav Amosov, as well as rising star Aaron Pico, a potential “Fight of the Year” between Paul Daley and Jason Jackson, and eight other solid match-ups.
Since joining Bellator in 2011, Lima has fought some of the best fighters in promotional history. However, one fighter he has not fought happens to hold a perfect mark through 25 fights. That man is Amosov, who is set for his first Bellator title fight. Both competitors are willing to do whatever it takes to win, but only one can come out victorious.
In the co-headliner, Daley, an MMA legend, serves as the latest test to the rising contender Jackson. Both fighters started their 2021 campaigns with huge wins against tough opponents. At Bellator 257, Daley dropped Sabah Homasi with a left hook in the second round and polished him off with ground-and-pound strikes for the stoppage. Meanwhile, Jackson went the distance in a victory over Neiman Gracie.
The aforementioned Pico is looking to ride his momentum into a war against Aiden Lee, while notables Nick Newell and Kyle Crutchmer seek to bounce back from losses.
Bellator 260 takes place on Friday, June 11, at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The festivities kick off with six prelim fights on YouTube at 6 p.m. ET. The five-fight main card follows on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET.
Yaroslav Amosov enters his title bid against Douglas Lima with a perfect record. Will he exit the cage the same way?
The last time we saw Lima in action, he was attempting to become a two-division champion by challenging Gegard Mousasi for the middleweight crown. Mousasi pulled out the unanimous-decision win, though. Lima returned to training with a new level of hunger for success. His hard work and improvements will be on display when he takes on a fighter with one of the longest winning streaks in all of MMA.
Amosov has racked up six wins in the Bellator cage on his way to this title shot. His last fight resulted in a split nod for the Ukrainian over the previously undefeated Logan Storley. Amosov is an extremely talented fighter with a well-rounded style. He has accomplished quite the underrated career, but he now finds himself in his toughest fight yet.
One factor that should play a huge role in this fight is Lima’s durability. Despite the outcome, Lima’s last fight was the latest example of how well he can take damage and continue to stick to the game plan. This might not be the best quality to have in MMA, but his opponent here has lacked finishing ability since joining Bellator. Lima should be able to use his championship experience to execute his game plan more efficiently over five rounds.
Amosov is an extremely dangerous fighter, though, and he has found a way to win every fight in his career. Lima needs to stay out of danger and keep it standing. All things considered, Amosov is going to need a near-perfect performance to dethrone the middleweight king.
Co-headliners Jason Jackson and Paul Daley have both built strong winning streaks recently. Which man stays in the win column?
This contest has the potential to steal the show. Both fighters come into this bout with impressive winning streaks that have allowed them to climb the welterweight rankings. With the current champion defending his belt in the main event, all eyes will be on this fight to see if either man is worthy of the next shot at the gold.
Since joining Bellator in 2015, Daley has been a force to be reckoned with on his way to an 8-4 promotional mark. Not only has he racked up a solid record, but the Brit has fought the best fighters this division has to offer. Despite being 38 years old, Daley continues to display his unbelievable combination of power and aggression. After enduring a rough stretch, he now has won three straight fights. Daley has shown that he still has what it takes to be a champion, but he must now get through one of the most underrated fighters on the Bellator roster.
Jackson has always chosen to take the hard path to greatness. He started off his pro career with a tough five-fight schedule that included outings against Colby Covington, Michael Johnson and Hayder Hassan. Shortly after putting together a 4-2 record, he was featured on The Ultimate Fighter 21. Jackson was not signed by the UFC after the show, but he was not forgotten by MMA fans. He now has a Bellator record of 5-1 and enjoys a current four-fight winning streak.
This fight will ultimately come down to who controls the distance more. Daley is a powerful puncher who will look to close the distance and land deadly hook shots inside. On the other hand, Jackson likes to stay on the outside and attack with a variety of kicks. Although both fighters have reliable grappling skills, they would much rather stand and trade.
Jackson should have the advantage in this three-round war due to his ability to adapt to any situation in a fight.
Which fight is the sleeper match-up on this card?
One fight that is going under the radar is the clash between Tywan Claxton and Justin Gonzales. This is guaranteed to be one of the best fights of the night. It features two fighters who would each like to put on a breakout performance during the Bellator 260 prelims. Despite not getting enough hype, these fighters have finishing abilities that could turn this scrap into an all-out war. This fight has the potential to shine a light on the newest contender in the Bellator featherweight division.
Since making his amateur debut in 2012, Gonzales has not lost a fight. His 9-0 ammy record and 11-0 pro mark have served as validation for his dominating skills. He fought most of his early pro career with the Sparta Combat League. After making a name for himself on the regional scene, Gonzales was invited to compete on Dana White’s Contender Series. Gonzales earned the unanimous-decision win, but White chose not to sign him to the UFC. He took a year off to recover and improve before fighting at Legacy Fighting Alliance 84, where he finished Jake Childers. Gonzales now stands at 11-0 with the opportunity to put the division on notice in his Bellator debut.
Claxton comes into this fight looking to play the spoiler to Gonzales. Since turning pro in 2017, Claxton has made all eight of his appearances with Bellator. He began to collect hype after winning his first five fights. He was given a step up in competition and lost two of his next three contests. However, those losses came by split decision to Jay Jay Wilson and via submission against Emmanuel Sanchez. It is safe to say that those are extremely tough fights. The experience Claxton gained there will benefit him in the long run.
The biggest x-factor in this fight is the experience Claxton has gained while dealing with adversity. Both men are extremely talented, but one has seen more credentialed opponents. Claxton likely learned a lot in those losses and continues to improve while training at Team Elevation.
Gonzales has defeated anyone put in his path, though, and looks better with every single fight. He seems to be the more skilled fighter, but how he deals with a tough opponent willing to take him into deep waters is still a burning question.
Main Card (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET)
WW Championship: Douglas Lima vs. Yaroslav Amosov
Catchweight (175 pounds): Paul Daley vs. Jason Jackson
FW: Aaron Pico vs. Aiden Lee
Women’s Catchweight (128 pounds): Vanessa Porto vs. Ilara Joanne
WW: Demarques Jackson vs. Mark Lemminger
Preliminary Card (YouTube, 6 p.m. ET)
WW: Kyle Crutchmer vs. Levan Chokheli
FW: Tywan Claxton vs. Justin Gonzales
LW: Nick Newell vs. Bobby King
Catchweight (150 pounds): Lucas Brennan vs. Matthew Skibicki
Women’s FW: Amanda Bell vs. Marina Mokhnatkina
LHW: Alex Polizzi vs. Gustavo Trujillo
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