Can Pitbull make MMA history at Bellator 297?

Bellator sets up shop in Chicago with light heavyweight gold on the line and Patricio Pitbull looking for a third belt.

By: Victor Rodriguez | 4 months ago
Can Pitbull make MMA history at Bellator 297?
Pitbull wants all the belts. IMAGO/USA TODAY

Promotional standout Patricio Pitbull Freire is looking to capture his third simultaneous championship when Bellator returns to the Windy City this weekend. The promotion is rolling into town with a championship doubleheader and some serious heat.

Pitbull will be taking on Bellator bantamweight champ Sergio Pettis in the co-main event, while Vadim Nemkov defends the light heavyweight belt against athletic phenom Yoel Romero.

That’s just the top two fights. There’s a lot to like here on the action front. International talents get some love, and some divisionally relevant bouts are scheduled. Most importantly, it’s Pitbull trying to make history. That’s reason enough to tune in.

Pitbull going for belt #3

Not content with being the lightweight and featherweight champ, Patricio Pitbull (35-5) is now challenging Sergio Pettis (22-5) for the bantamweight title. You may remember his first title defense being a stupendous finish against Kyoji Horiguchi back in December of 2021. Pettis hasn’t fought since, but has become true championship material in his Bellator run.

Pitbull’s been on a tear and arguably still at his peak right now. And that’s insane considering he’s 35 and has been fighting since 2004. He’s still got great wrestling and an aggressive submission game. Pettis has his disciplined striking with patience to draw opponents in to counterstrike against.

This is no doubt going to be an exciting bout, and it’s not even the main event. Just expect this to be good. A win for Pettis is a massive boost to his legacy as a talent and champion. A win for Pitbull is a tremendous shot at immortality. No one’s ever done three belts at once in a major org, but its seems that if anyone can realistically chase that dream, it’s Pitbull.

Nemkov vs Romero? Yes, please

March 8, 2020, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA: UFC Middleweight Championship Bout Israel Adesanya (Red Corner) vs Yoel(Blue Corner) Romero at UFC 248. Las Vegas USA - ZUMA 20200308_mda_s253_616 Copyright: xMarcusxStevensx
Yoel Romero is still a scary dude. IMAGO/USA TODAY

Vadim Nemkov (16-2) has been a force, and the Fedor Team rep has unstoppable since 2016. Riding a ten-fight win streak, he’s beaten the likes of Corey Anderson, Phil Davis (twice) and took the belt off of current heavyweight champ Ryan Bader. He’ll be making his fifth title defense against a man that was essentially a boogeyman at middleweight.

But Yoel Romero (15-6) isn’t quite as feared anymore. At age 46, he’s still an surreal athlete to behold. But he’s obviously slowing down and has had some ups and downs in his Bellator run. That’s not to say he’s not dangerous, though. He’s still got world-class wrestling and that slick Cuban boxing in his pocket to create plenty of opportunities in this fight.

With the athleticism and tenacity they both have, this is shaping up to be a great main event. Real high drama is likely, even if we didn’t get any sparks from the media day face-off.

Not your usual wrestler showdown

Phil Davis (24-6) gets to take on Corey Anderson (16-6), and it’s intriguing for a few reasons. Davis is rather set in his ways, but much like Romero, is an extraordinary athlete. With back to back wins over Yoel Romero and Julius Anglickas, he’s still able to keep busy and apply pressure while fighting smart the whole way.

Anderson presses forwards and seems to have made leaps in his development to nail opponents with big bombs. His wrestling is still great, and his ground control and ground strikes have never been better. How that stacks up against an NCAA D1 champ that’s been in the game this long is a good question, but in terms of a complete MMA game? That makes things far closer and more exciting.

A heavyweight fight that should deliver

Daniel James (15-6) is a name that’s ringing a little louder these days, thanks to his performances in the Bellator cage. His last outing was a main event against Marcelo Golm that some thought shouldn’t have been a main event fight in the first place. But then he got the win in devastating fashion.

Extending his win streak to five, he’s now up against Turkish powerhouse Gokhan Saricam (8-2). Not the most imposing-looking fighter, but he fights like a guy that knows he’s not getting paid by the hour.

Coming of a loss to Oleg Popov, Saricam will most likely try to keep this where he’s most comfortable, which is on the feet. But that’s also where James is at his most lethal. So we might end up getting an old-fashioned shootout.

Some great international talent

Remember how I mentioned the international talent involved? Gadzhi Rabadanov (19-4, 2 draws) welcomes Dutch submission specialist Peter Buist (17-6) to the Bellator cage. Jaleel Willis (16-4) gets to tangle with undefeated Ramazan Kuramagomedov (10-0), while Mike Hamel (10-5) is scheduled to face Shamil Nikaev (10-0).

Ireland’s Karl Moore (11-2) meets the always fun Alex Polizzi (10-2), while fellow Irishman Richie Smullen (10-2, 1 draw) faces Timur Khizriev (12-0). Finally, rising contender Norbert Novenyi Jr. (6-0) is making waves with his excellent performances and finishes. He’s up against Kamil Oniszczuk (9-2).

Bellator 297 takes place this Friday night, and all viewing information is available here.

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About the author
Victor Rodriguez
Victor Rodriguez

Victor Rodriguez has been a writer and podcaster for Bloody Elbow since 2015. He started his way as a lowly commenter and moderator to become the miscreant he is now. He often does weekly bits on fringe martial arts items across the globe, oddball street combat pieces, previews, analysis, and some behind-the-scenes support. He has trained in wrestling, Karate, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and the occasional Muay Thai and Judo lesson here and there. Victor has also been involved with acting and audio editing projects. He lives in Pennsylvania where he plays way too many video games and is an S-rank dad.

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