Heavyweight Bout: Matt Mitrione (13-6) vs. Sergei Kharitonov (28-6)
Luke Irwin: Despite being a world-class sambo competitor, Kharitonov, as many fighters do as they age, is heavily reliant on his fists instead of his legs or submission game. With Mitrione, all he has are his fists. So while, if I’m coaching the Paratrooper, I tell him to focus on finding a weak spot and locking on a submission, but I don’t see that happening. They already met once, but it was for fifteens seconds before a groin strike threw it out, so while this is technically a rematch, you couldn’t find any tendancies. I think both swing until one man falls. Mitrione via R3 KO.
Heavyweight Bout: Javy Ayala (11-7) vs. Vitaly Minakov (21-1)
Luke: Ayala is a hell of a fighter and as tough as they come. Finishing Sergei Kharitonov and Frank Mir is no joke. However, Ayala is flawed and can be finished or fight down to his competition, as well. Minakov is no joke, and while he’s only had one fight since 2017 (a loss to Kongo), he’s still a better fighter than Ayala. Minakov via R2 TKO.
Women’s Flyweight Bout: Alejandra Lara (7-3) vs. Taylor Turner (3-5)
Luke: Turner’s getting this spot thanks to her huge upset over Heather Hardy, but I think that was more of a stylistic problem for Hardy coupled with a bad night, moreso than Turner being a top-flight fighter. Lara via R2 Submission.
Heavyweight Bout: Rudy Schaffroth (6-0) vs. Tyrell Fortune (6-0)
Luke: When two heavyweight sluggers fight, it usually ends in a hell of a fun swingfest that puts one to sleep, or with both fighters chugging air by the second round. Even though Schaffroth packs dynamite, Fortune has actually gone the distance twice in the Bellator circle and come out on top. I think he avoids the killshot and tires Rudy out en route to victory. Fortune via UD.
175lb Catchweight Bout: David Rickels (21-5) vs. Yaroslav Amosov (21-0)
Luke: First Gerald Harris, then Erick Silva, now David Rickels. Amosov is going through every name in Bellator. They’re building him up well. Amosov via UD.