Bellator sets up their tent yet again at the Mohegan Sun this week, with a really fun action-first card that aims to deliver big. Number 4 ranked Neiman Gracie (11-2) faces number 5 ranked Logan Storley (12-1) in a bout that could have the winner be next in line for the belt after Yaroslav Amosov meets Michael “Venom“ Page do battle this May.
Gracie has had improved striking overall in his game, adding to his wrestling defense and submissions from literally any and everywhere. Storley has quietly been racking up wins under the radar with his stellar wrestling and control, while sharpening his striking over at Stanford MMA in Florida. His lone loss is against current champ Yaroslav Amosov, which reflects rather well on him these days.
Storley also has cardio for days and can chain wrestle very well, and that may pose some challenges for Gracie. But Gracie may have more initiative and activity standing while defending takedowns well enough to gain the advantage. If you’re a grappling dork like me, you’re probably going to get a sensational grappling exhibition with strikes mixed in. Worst case scenario, you can still get two very good grapplers engage in a not-bad striking duel.
Also at welterweight is the co-main event, in which former champ Andrey Koreshkov (24-4) meets former UFC talent Chance Recountre (16-4). Koreshkov has always had a smart and measured striking pedigree with balanced punches and kicks while working well against anyone willing to outwork him in the grappling department. Recountre would probably do best trying to do what he can there, since he’s got strength and a heavy wrestling style. Whether or not that’ll be enough and to what degree is in question, and smart money would be on Koreshkov to get the win here. But you never know in this game.
Georgi Karakhanyan (31-12, 1 draw) has always brought excitement to his bouts and poses various threats, and a veteran of his stature is a big challenge for Adam Piccolotti (12-4). He had some moments against Benson Henderson, but it wasn’t enough. That performance may not have been his ceiling, though. He can make improvements but still have massive odds against him when dealing with a scrambly athlete with submission threats from various angles and a killer kicking game.
Brennan Ward (14-6) is back in the fight game after having a harrowing tale of battling with addiction and loss, and he’ll be returning against Brandon Bell (10-10) at a 175lb catchweight. ATT heavy hitter Said Sowma (8-2) is riding back to back wins with a knockout over Ronny Markes and an injury win over Vitaly Minakov (where Sowma was very much holding his own). He meets Jackson/Winklejohn knockout artist Davion Franklin (4-0).
Submission ace Nick Browne (12-1) meets Tristar wildcard Mandel Nallo (8-1). Another aggressive submission fighter in Bobby King (10-4) faces what may be Bellator’s best BJJ fighter at lightweight in Aviv Gozali (6-0). Former UFC fighters DeAnna Bennett (11-7, 1 draw – ranked at #7) and Justine Kish (7-4) are scheduled to tangle at flyweight.
You can check out the weigh-ins here:
Neiman Gracie (170.75) vs. Logan Storley (170.75) – Welterweight
Andrey Koreshkov (171) vs. Chance Rencountre (169.5) – Welterweight
Georgi Karakhanyan (156) vs. Adam Piccolotti (155.5) – Lightweight
Davion Franklin (262.75) vs. Said Sowma (243) – Heavyweight
Nick Browne (155.2) vs. Mandel Nallo (155.4) – Lightweight
Brandon Bell (173.8) vs. Brennan Ward (174.8) – 175lb catchweight
Jaylon Bates (136) vs. Chris Disonell (135.2) – Bantamweight
Aviv Gozali (155.8) vs. Bobby King (156) – Lightweight
DeAnna Bennett (125.4) vs. Justine Kish (125.6) – Flyweight
Cody Herbert (188.6)* vs. Jordan Newman (185.6) – Middleweight
Justin Montalvo (154.2) vs. Corey Samuels (155.4) – Lightweight
Isaiah Hokit (145.8) vs. Theodore Macuka (145.5) – Featherweight
Jonathan DiLorenzo (169.8) vs. Orlando Mendoza (170.6) – Welterweight
Bellator 274 takes place this Saturday night, starting with the prelims live on YouTube at 6:00pm, and the main card on Showtime starting at 9:00pm.
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