Bellator has packed its bags and hit the road for one of their most intriguing fight cards of the year. Bellator 269 goes down on Saturday, Oct. 23, and the event will take place inside the VTB Arena in Moscow, Russia. The hometown fans are in for a treat as all twelve fights feature at least one Russian fighter.
Bellator 269 will be the perfect opportunity for Russia to display some of its top talents. In the headliner, MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko looks to build on his unbelievable resume. After MMA fans made several predictions, Bellator caught everyone off guard by picking Tim Johnson, who has looked impressive in his last few fights. Whenever Emelianenko steps in the cage, true fans will always make time to watch.
The co-main event features heavyweight contenders Vitaly Minakov and Said Sowma. Before losing to Cheick Kongo in 2019, Minakov was 21-0 with 19 finishes. After beating the aforementioned Johnson later in 2019, Minakov took off two years before returning at Bellator 269 this weekend. Meanwhile, Sowma is coming in off of a first-round knockout of Ronny Markes at Bellator 262 in July. It’s safe to say, you should not blink when these two heavyweights step into the cage.
Bellator 269 features tons of Russian talent, including Usman Nurmagomedov and Anatoly Tokov. The preliminary card airs live on YouTube starting at 12 p.m. ET. The four-fight main card follows at 3 p.m. ET on Showtime. Let’s take a look at the preview and predictions.
Fedor Emelianenko squares off against Timothy Johnson in the main event; does “The Last Emperor” pick up a victory in front of a home crowd?
Emelianenko is considered one of the best heavyweights of all time. At 45 years old, Emelianenko has nothing left to be proven. Yet, we find ourselves with another opportunity to witness greatness. After considering a variety of opponents, Johnson was given the matchup against the legend in his home country of Russia. Johnson is eager to win after losing to Valentin Moldavsky for the interim Bellator heavyweight title four months ago.
Emelianenko vs. Johnson is, stylistically, an interesting heavyweight bout. Although Emelianenko is the betting favorite, Johnson has the tools needed to win. Both fighters have tons of experience, but both lack the athleticism they once had. Two main factors come into play in this bout. One being that Emelianenko will be a huge fan favorite to a sold out crowd. The second is that Johnson has been more active, with Emelianenko’s last fight being two years ago. Overall, the home field advantage should be too much for Johnson to overcome.
Johnson has been more active, but needs to stay out of trouble early. Emelianenko has continued to get early finishes, and we should expect the same at Bellator 269. The crowd and the hype will play into Emelianenko and lead him to another knockout finish.
The co-main event also takes place in the heavyweight division; will Vitaly Minakov find success in his first fight since 2019?
Minakov vs. Sowma is one of the best matchups of the night. The last time we saw Minakov, he finished Johsnon in the first round two years ago. Meanwhile, Sowma made a name for himself with a first round knockout against Markes three months ago. Sowma has continued to improve and finds himself with an opportunity to skyrocket his value. Minakov has a clear grappling advantage, but Sowma has the hands needed to get a finish.
If Sowma wants to win, he needs to control the pace and keep Minakov on his back foot. Another possibility is Sowma coming out active immediately to expose Minakov’s potential ring rust. On the contrary, Minakov needs to maintain distance and get the fight to the ground. Sowma struggled against Tyrell Fortune’s wrestling, giving Minakov a blueprint. Overall, Minakov should be able to rack up ground control and edge out a tough decision win.
Usman Nurmagomedov holds a perfect record of 13-0; does he move to 14-0 by defeating Patrik Pietilä?
Usman Nurmagomedov has been one of the best signings in Bellator history. If the last name sounds familiar, that is because Usman is Khabib Nurmagomedov’s younger cousin. However, Nurmagomedov did not need Khabib’s name to prove his worth.
Holding a record of 13-0, Nurmagomedov has 11 finishes, with seven in the first round. Pietilä, is 11-8 as a pro. He has won two of his last three fights with four finishes on his record. Safe to say, ending Nurmagomedov’s undefeated streak is easier said than done.
The problem for Pietilä is that Nurmagoedov is good everywhere. Nurmagomedov’s striking is superb, and his grappling meets all of the Russian “smesh” requirements. Pietilä’s best chance will be to catch Nurmagomedov off-guard and sneak in a submission. Nurmagomedov will most likely overwhelm Pietilä with striking and mix in the wrestling if needed. Betting on Nurmagomedov is one of the best picks on the fight card.
Which fight is the sleeper match-up on this card?
The sleeper matchup is the opening main card bout between Anatoly Tokov and Sharaf Davlatmurodov. Both fighters are currently streaking and and may be entering their respective primes. Holding a record of 29-3, Tokov is on a five-fight winning streak, with his last fight two years ago. Meanwhile, Davlatmurodov has strung together six wins in a row, and carries an overall record of 18-3-1. Although Tokov will be in his hometown, anything can happen in this middleweight bout.
Tokov vs. Davlatmurodov is a sleeper fight because both fighters are well-rounded. Tokov will have a lot of support in Russia and recently finished four of his last five wins. On the contrary, Davlatmurodov has won two fights this year and continues to build up a solid resume. Davlatmurodov has the tools to pull off the upset and shock the crowd. Although most people are not talking about this bout, make sure to check it outm because they could steal the show at Bellator 269.
Main Card (3 p.m. ET, Showtime)
HW: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Timothy Johnson
HW: Vitaly Minakov vs. Said Sowma
Catchweight (160 lbs.): Usman Nurmagomedov vs. Patrik Pietilä
MW: Anatoly Tokov vs. Sharaf Davlatmuradov
Preliminary Card (12 p.m. ET, YouTube)
HW: Kirill Sidelnikov vs. Rab Truesdale
LW: Vladimir Tokov vs. Aymard Guih
Women’s FlyW: Darina Mazdyuk vs. Katarzyna Sadura
Women’s FlyW: Irina Alekseeva vs. Stephanie Page
BW: Brian Moore vs. Nikita Mikhailov
WW: Grachik Bozinyan vs. Alexey Shurkevich
FW: Aiden Lee vs. Alexander Osetrov
FW: Gadzhi Rabadanov vs. Alexander Belikh
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