Bellator 268 Preview: Benson Henderson – Brent Primus

Benson Henderson

Tomorrow night on the main card of Bellator 268, we will see a fun matchup in the lightweight division. Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson (28-10) will look to snap a two-fight losing streak as he takes on former Bellator champion Brent Primus (10-2).

Henderson will be making the walk for the 11th time as a member of Bellator. The former UFC champion signed with the promotion back in 2016 while trying to compete in the welterweight division. During his time with Bellator, he’s gone 0-2 at 170.

However, he has gone 5-3 at lightweight which is his correct weight class. He was knocked out by Michael Chandler in August of 2020 which snapped a four-fight win streak. He’s been mentioning retirement, but before he does, he wants to wear Bellator gold.

The last time we saw Brent Primus was back in July when he lost a split decision to Islam Mamedov. Primus has spent virtually his entire career with Bellator having gone 8-2 with the promotion and during that stretch, defeated Michael Chandler for the lightweight title.

Primus would go on to lose to Chandler in the rematch, but he has tasted Bellator gold unlike Benson Henderson. This is a big matchup for both men as the lightweight division is crowning a new champion next month and this fight could prove to be a title eliminator.

Bellator 268 Prediction

This fight will be decided very early on for me. I know that Primus is going to try and take this fight to the ground. We’ve seen Henderson be someone who is extremely tough to take down when he’s on his game. If he’s on, he could be in for a good result at Bellator 268.

Henderson wants this fight to stay on the feet. If it does, I would expect a variety of kick attacks and distance strikes to score points. I don’t believe either of these men would put the other out on the feet so expect more of a tactical battle for points.

Don’t rule out Primus landing a takedown early, but the majority of this fight should take place on the feet. Because of that, I like Henderson in this matchup. If he’s motivated and on top of his game, I expect a decision win from him at Bellator 268.

Bellator 268 adds Benson Henderson – Brent Primus

Benson Henderson

Bellator 268 is getting a matchup of top lightweights added to it’s main card. MMA Junkie was the first to report yesterday that the promotion had finalized and booked a lightweight contest between Benson Henderson (28-10) and Brent Primus (10-2).

Bellator 268 is scheduled to take place next month on October 16th. The event is shaping up to be a big one for the promotion as it will also feature the semifinal matchups in the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix.

In terms of this lightweight matchup, both men will look to get back on track with wins. Brent Primus just fought in July which was his first fight in a year and a half. It did not go his way as he lost a split decision to Islam Mamedov.

That fight was just the second career loss for Primus. The first loss came back at Bellator 212 when he was defeated by Michael Chandler in their rematch. The highlight of Primus’ career came when he defeated Chandler for the Bellator lightweight title.

Primus has been with the promotion for most of his career. After starting 2-0, Bellator signed Primus who then won six in a row capped off with the win against Michael Chandler. however, since that win, he’s just 2-2 in his last four.

Bellator redemption for Smooth

It’s been quite the career overall for Benson Henderson. Henderson rose to the top of the MMA world when he became the UFC lightweight champion. This was Henderson’s second world title as he was also the WEC lightweight champion during his career.

After a successful run with the UFC, Henderson signed with Bellator when he became a free agent. Henderson had moved up to welterweight just before leaving the UFC and was immediately given a welterweight title shot in Bellator.

Henderson lost that matchup then moved down to lightweight. After defeating Patricio Pitbull, Henderson got his lone lightweight title fight against Michael Chandler. Henderson again came up short in his attempt to become Bellator champion.

The former UFC champion is now on a two-fight losing streak after having gone on a four-fight win streak. We last saw him in November when he moved up in weight to fight Jason Jackson. Again, Henderson was completely out-muscled which is why he’s moving back to lightweight.

There’s no questioning the fact that Henderson wants to capture the Bellator lightweight title before he wraps his career. If he can defeat Primus next month, he’s back on track towards getting another crack at the title.

What’s next for Benson Henderson after Bellator 253?

Benson Henderson

This past week at Bellator 253, former lightweight world champion, Benson Henderson (28-10), moved up to the welterweight division. Henderson moved up to take on Jason Jackson in what was his second fight in Bellator‘s welterweight division.

Benson Henderson fought in the welterweight division when he first jumped to Bellator and was dominated. Now to his credit, he was successful in his final two UFC fights which both came at welterweight.

After his failed attempt in Bellator, Henderson decided to move back to his natural weight at 155. Henderson is 5-3 in his eight fights at lightweight in Bellator with two of those losses coming to Michael Chandler.

Back in August, Henderson was knocked out by Michael Chandler in what turned out to be Chandler’s final fight with Bellator. That loss had snapped a four fight winning streak for the former world champion.

After the loss, Henderson made the interesting decision to move up to welterweight to fight Jackson. Henderson looked like the much smaller man at Bellator 253. There was a massive size discrepancy between the two and it played out in the fight.

Henderson appeared to be out of reach all night and he was clearly not as strong in the grappling exchanges. He lost all three rounds on the judges scorecards. After the fight, Scott Coker said he’d like Henderson to return to lightweight. 

What’s next after Bellator 253?

I completely agree with Coker in that Henderson needs to return to lightweight. Bellator doesn’t need to be offering Henderson anymore fights at welterweight seeing as he’s 0-2 in that weight class and both fights were not close.

Again, Henderson had won four in a row prior to the Chandler fight. Had Henderson won that fight against Chandler, he would have likely earned a shot at the Bellator lightweight championship.

I think the promotion should book him against one of the top contenders at 155. If he looks impressive in his next fight at lightweight, you could make the argument that he should fight Patricio Pitbull again. Henderson does have a win over the Bellator champ but it did come via injury.

Bellator books Benson Henderson – Jason Jackson

Benson Henderson

Bellator has booked it’s co-main event for next weekend’s card. First reported by MMA Fighting and confirmed from promotion officials, Benson Henderson (28-9) will be returning to the welterweight division to take on Jason Jackson (12-4).

The fight being booked for 11/19 could be a reason for Henderson returning to the welterweight division. It is not known yet if the move is a permanent one for the former UFC lightweight champion.

Henderson is looking to bounce back after his last performance. Henderson last fought in August where he took on Michael Chandler. Entering that fight, Henderson had won four fights in a row. Many believed if he won, he would be getting a lightweight title shot.

However, Chandler went on to knock Henderson out in the first round. It was a big setback for the former world champion. Chandler went on to sign with the UFC while Henderson is looking to regroup in Bellator. That regrouping starts next weekend at Bellator 253.

Bellator 253

This fight is a golden opportunity for Jason Jackson. Jackson first came onto the public scene when he appeared on Dana White’s Contender Series. That night, Jackson lost, but since, he’s been fighting between Bellator and LFA.

In his last six fights, Jackson has only lost once. That loss was a split decision loss to Ed Ruth inside the Bellator cage. Many believe that Jackson actually won that fight. This is the biggest opponent from a name perspective that Jackson has fought in his career.

If Jackson is able to pickup the victory at Bellator 253, he could be inching closer to a welterweight title shot. He will likely need another victory or two after Bellator 253, but there will be no questioning the contender status of Jason Jackson if he’s able to get the victory.

Both of these men have a lot to gain next weekend. For Henderson, he has the opportunity to right the ship and get back on track after that tough loss. For Jackson, he has the chance to pickup the biggest victory of his career.

Will it be the UFC or Bellator for Michael Chandler?

Michael Chandler

Last Friday evening, Iron Michael Chandler (21-5) put on the perfect performance in the final fight of his Bellator contract. At Bellator 243, Chandler starched former UFC lightweight champion, Benson Henderson, in the first round.

Chandler was set to test free agency for the first time in his career. It was a dangerous fight for Chandler to take, but it says a lot about him as a fighter. He took the most dangerous opponent he could in his final fight on his contract.

It was dangerous, but Chandler had arguably the most impressive win of his career. Now, the 34 year old lightweight walks into free agency with a ton of momentum.

Will it be the UFC or Bellator?

When the fight was over, Chandler sounded like a fighter that might have a foot out the door with his current promotion. While he did say to Scott Coker, “Let’s get something done,” he also made it very clear that it could be his final fight in Bellator.

In the post-fight press conference, you could see the UFC wheels turning for Chandler. The media was asking him about potential matchups with guys like Conor McGregor and more.

As a competitor, there is a clear choice for Chandler. If he wants to prove that he is truly at the highest level, he needs to make the jump to the UFC. No disrespect to Bellator, but the competition is just not there.

Sure, there is Patricio Pitbull. Pitbull is definitely one of the best in the world, but the UFC‘s lightweight division is shark infested waters. The division is the most stacked division in the world, and I think that’s very appealing to Chandler.

I’ve wanted to see Chandler make the UFC jump for years now. I’ve always felt that he’s been one of the best lightweights in the world, but he never got the respect he deserved because he fought in Bellator.

This is his chance to prove himself. There is not a single easy fight in the UFC‘s top ten of the lightweight division. If Chandler makes the jump, I could see the promotion giving him someone like Dan Hooker out of the gate.

Unless they want to build him up a little inside the octagon. However, given Chandler’s background and history, I think he’d jump right into the deep end. My prediction is that by the November or December, we are going to be seeing Michael Chandler make the walk in the UFC.

Bellator 243 Recap: Michael Chandler KO’s Benson Henderson in the first

Bellator returned this evening for their second event since opening back up after the pandemic shut things down earlier this year. In the main event of the evening, Benson Henderson (28-8) took on Michael Chandler (20-5). A very solid night of fights from Bellator.

Michael Chandler KO’s Henderson in the First

The main event of the evening was a rematch a few years in the making as the two former lightweight world champions squared off. Chandler entered this fight in the last fight of his current deal with Bellator.

As the main event kicked off, Chandler immediately charged over to Henderson. Henderson started with a big body kick. Chandler countered with a big body kick of his own.

Henderson continued his steady onslaught of body work early on. Big body kicks and solid hooks. Chandler kept pushing forward, but Henderson looked very crisp early on.

Out of no where, Chandler landed a massive left hook which floored Henderson. Chandler followed up with some massive shots and the fight was over. Massive win for Michael Chandler as he heads into free agency.

Accidental headbutt leads to TKO for Tim Johnson

The co-main event of the evening featured Bellator heavyweights Matt Mitrione (13-7, 1 NC) and Tim Johnson (13-6) going head-to-head.

As the fight started, Mitrione refused to touch gloves as he circled around the outside of the cage. A brief exchange led to an accidental headbutt which dropped Mitrione and gave Johnson top position.

Johnson was able to work his way to side control a couple of minutes into the round. Mitrione tried to scramble, but Johnson was doing a good job of holding top position. Mitrione tried another scramble, but took a couple of big shots from Johnson.

Johnson started pouring on big shots and Mitrione looked really hurt. After Mitrione showed nothing in terms of defense, the referee called a stop to the action. A big TKO win for Johnson, but it won’t come without an asterisk due to that headbutt.

Myles Jury edges Georgi Karakhanyan

The second fight on the main card featured a lightweight contest between Myles Jury (18-5) and Georgi Karakhanyan (29-10-1). Both of these guys were looking to make it two in a row inside the Bellator cage after coming off multiple fight losing streaks.

As the first round started, Karakhanyan threw a big looping right hand that clipped Jury. Didn’t land flush, but it got Jury’s attention. Jury landed a couple of good shots before getting turned around by a powerful leg kick.

Karakhanyan was looking very powerful early on. Halfway through the round, Karakhanyan drove Jury to the cage and started delivering knees the thighs. Jury was able to separate with about two minutes left.

Jury landed a couple of good shots before Karakhanyan drove him right back to the cage. He was able to cut Karakhanyan late in the round.

Upon another separation, Jury landed a couple of good shots, but Karakhanyan countered with a power shot. Close round, but I lean Karakhanyan.

Jury immediately started the third with more power shots, but couldn’t land much. The pace was really being picked up by Jury to start the second. Karakhanyan seemed a lot slower to start.

After taking the first minute off, Karakhanyan did throw a couple of looping shots that didn’t land. Jury was doing a much better job in the second at working his strikes from distance.

Myles Jury was starting to really touch Karakhanyan constantly halfway through the round. Good jabs, solid combinations and a steady diet of kicks to the body. Karakhanyan tried for a desperate takedown but couldn’t get Jury down.

Karakhanyan landed a massive right hand as Jury tried to get away. He used the right to transition to another takedown. After being down for a second, Jury worked his way up and pushed Karakhanyan against the cage.

Karakhanyan was able to reverse and get another brief takedown late in the round. Very close second round, but due to the clean shots, I would give it to Jury.

Jury started the third round trying to work his jab again. A weird moment occured about thirty seconds in. Jury was poked in the eye, but the action didn’t stop. After the action didn’t stop Karakhanyan stopped then Jury pushed forward.

Fortunately nothing significant landed. Jury landed a solid elbow before looking for a takedown. Karakhanyan reversed the position and was able to secure a brief takedown. Jury immediately got up and separated.

Jury was able to land a couple of solid shots pushing forward. Karakhanyan pulled Jury into a guillotine, but couldn’t lock it in. Jury secured top position after the failed submission.

Karakhanyan tried to work his way up, but Jury did a good job of holding the top. Jury briefly took Karakhanyan’s back before a scramble found him back in guard. Jury landed a couple of really nice elbows late.

Karakhanyan did get back up, but it was a little too late. Close fight overall, but I give the third round to Jury which gives him the fight on my scorecard 29-28.

The judges were split on this one scoring the fight (30-27, 27-30, 29-28). Odd scores, but Jury wins his second Bellator fight.

Homasi survives Millender’s late rally

Opening up Bellator 243 was a catchweight contest between Curtis Millender (18-5) and Sabah Homasi (13-8). Both of these men were coming off of wins in their return to Bellator.

When the first round started both men exchanged leg kicks before throwing haymakers at each other. Homasi continued to look for a giant overhand right early on.

Millender appeared to be stalking Homasi just looking for his shots. A couple of stiff jabs were landing from Millender while Homasi continued to look to land a bomb. With two minutes left in the round, Homasi was able to shoot in and land a takedown.

Once he had top position, Homasi was able to land some solid elbows. Close round early on, but the takedown seals the first for Homasi.

Millender opened the second round landing a massive jab that backed up Homasi. Homasi was getting backed up by Millender, but he threw a few body kicks to keep the distance. Homasi tried for a takedown about a minute into the round.

Millender was able to defend for a bit, but eventually Homasi was able to get Millender to the ground. Homasi was able to hold solid top position for the majority of the round.

With about a minute left in the round, Homasi was able to take Millender’s back. However, he got a little high in the position and Millender was able to secure top position. Millender tried for a d’arce choke but he ended up back on his back. Another clear round for Homasi.

Millender pressed forward to start round three, but he pressured Homasi right into a clinch. The two men broke from the clinch, and Millender continued to press forward. Homasi seemed fatigued to start the final round.

As soon as Millender started to gain some momentum on the feet, he tried again for a d’arce choke. He couldn’t lock it up and ended up on his back again. Millender worked his way back up to his feet halfway through the round.

After landing a couple of solid shots, Millender just laid against Homasi against the cage. Millender was clearly gassed himself. Homasi landed another easy takedown. Millender did reverse position to gain top position before the end of the round.

I would give the last round to Millender, but the fight to Homasi 29-28. The judges ended up scoring the fight unanimously for Homasi (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).

Final Takeaways from Bellator 243

Bellator successfully hosted it’s second event tonight and there were some solid fights up and down the card. The promotion will be back in a couple of weeks when light heavyweight champion, Ryan Bader defends his title.

Michael Chandler could not have asked for a better performance heading into free agency. A dominant knockout of a former UFC champion. It’ll be interesting to see if he remains with Bellator or moves on to another promotion.

 

Bellator 243 Preview: Can Benson Henderson avenge his loss to Michael Chandler?

Benson Henderson

Bellator MMA will make it’s return tomorrow night. This will be the second card that the promotion has put on since starting back up after the pandemic halted events in February.

In the main event of the evening, we will see a rematch between former UFC lightweight champion, Benson Henderson (28-8), and former Bellator lightweight champion, Michael Chandler (20-5). Let’s take a look at the main card for Bellator 243.

Chandler – Henderson rematch at Bellator 243

The main event of the evening is one of the Bellator fights that I was looking forward to the most this year. Personally, I think the promotion should have returned with this fight as the headliner.

In the first fight between Chandler and Henderson, Chandler walked away with a split decision. Re-watching the fight, I thought it was pretty clear that Chandler took three of the five rounds. Since that fight, Chandler has gone 4-2 while Henderson has gone 4-1.

Both men are former world champions. For the former UFC lightweight champion, Henderson, the Bellator crown has evaded him. He’s tried at welterweight and he’s tried at lightweight, but couldn’t get it done.

Henderson is very well rounded. He’s got pretty decent standup, good wrestling, and great skills on the ground. However, Henderson has a tendency to be very patient and point fight which is why six of his eight Bellator fights have gone to the scorecards.

Michael Chandler is a legend in Bellator. He’s nearing ten years with the promotion and he’s the former lightweight champion. Chandler has a wrestling base, but he’s got really crisp boxing and good speed to go with it.

Chandler is set to become a free agent after the fight tomorrow so it’s a big fight for him. Henderson enters this contest on a four fight winning streak while Chandler is 4-1 in his last five with the only loss coming to the double champion, Patricio Pitbull.

I think Chandler is just a bad matchup for Henderson. I think the speed and striking advantage will help Chandler on the feet, and I think Chandler is good enough to avoid submissions on the ground. Henderson will have moments, but I think Chandler gets the win here.

Prediction: Michael Chandler by Unanimous Decision

Matt Mitrione vs Timothy Johnson

The co-main event of the evening is a heavyweight contest between Matt Mitrione (13-7, 1 NC) and Timothy Johnson (13-6).

For Mitrione, he will be making the Bellator walk for the eighth time tomorrow night. Mitrione stared 4-0 in Bellator with wins over Fedor Emelianenko and Roy Nelson. However, Mitrione has gone 0-2, 1 NC in his last three.

Mitrione is known for his good power and really good footwork. The former football player is extremely athletic. His natural athleticism combined with his striking skills make him dangerous for anyone.

Johnson didn’t get off to the best start in Bellator. The former UFC heavyweight made the jump and promptly was knocked out twice in the first round. He did bounce back knocking out Tyrell Fortune in the first round back in February.

Johnson has decent wrestling and he’s got good power in his hands. I can’t see him winning a stand up fight so he will need to use his wrestling to get Mitrione down.

In the past, we’ve seen Mitrione’s weakness is getting taken down and held there. If Johnson can do that, I think he can win a decision. However, I think his chin is suspect, and I think Mitrone is going to catch him with something in the second.

Prediction: Matt Mitrione by TKO – Round 2

Myles Jury vs Georgi Karakhanyan

An interesting lightweight contest is on the main card which pairs Myles Jury (18-5) and Georgi Karakhanyan (29-10-1). To be honest, this is a fight that would have been really highly anticipated if it came back in 2014.

Back in 2014, Jury was riding high in the UFC at 15-0. A lot of people were pointing to this guy as a future champion. Jury was also the first person who would tell you just how good he was. However, Jury was humbled by Cowboy Cerrone.

Starting with the Cerrone fight, Jury has gone 3-5 in his last eight contest. Jury made his Bellator debut last September against Benson Henderson and dropped a decision. He did bounce back against Brandon Girtz back in February.

Back in 2014, Karakhanyan was 23-3-1. A lot of analysts were really high on Karakhanyan, but his career took a downturn. Since that impressive record, Karakhanyan has gone 6-7 with one no contest in his last 14 fights.

Karakhanyan did win his last time out against Paul Redmond in February, but that was coming off of an eight second knockout loss to AJ McKee.

In looking at both of these guys, I’m just not sure where Karakhanyan wins this fight. I think Jury is just a little better in almost every aspect. I don’t really see a finish coming here so I’m going with Jury to get it done by points.

Prediction: Myles Jury by Unanimous Decision

Curtis Millender vs Sabah Homasi

A fun catchweight contest at 175 pounds between Curtis Millender (18-5) and Sabah Homasi (13-8) will also be on the main card tomorrow night.

Millender was looking like a pretty bright welterweight prospect when he was in the UFC entering 2019. Millender was 17-3 holding wins over guys like Thiago Alves. However, two straight losses got him the hook from the promotion.

Millender signed with Bellator in late 2019 and made his debut back in January where he won a unanimous decision over Moses Murrietta. Millender is a really good striker, but is usually content with point fighting his way to a victory.

Hamasi enters this contest after back-to-back wins in Bellator including a 17 second knockout over Micah Terrill. It’s been almost a year since we’ve seen Hamasi compete.

Hamasi was also in the UFC but was cut after he was finished in three consecutive fights prompting his promotional switch. Hamasi has 11 finishes in 13 wins and the American Top Team fighter has shown crisp striking.

While Hamasi has looked good, I don’t like this matchup for him. I think Millender will be able to use his length and accuracy to get the better of the striking exchanges.

Prediction: Curtis Millender by Unanimous Decision

Bellator 243 Outlook

This is a very solid card for Bellator. I would have really liked this to be the first card back as I said above, no disrespect to Sergio Pettis or Ricky Bandejas. Two former world champions in a big rematch is something that will tune a lot of folks in, and I’m excited to watch it play out.

Bellator: Michael Chandler – Benson Henderson 2 on tap for Aug. 7th event

Bellator MMA is going to be making their return this month, and you can expect them to come out swinging with their events. Multiple reports are saying that a big time lightweight matchup is booked for their second event.

Chandler’s last Bellator fight?

The much anticipated rematch between Michael Chandler (20-5) and Benson Henderson (28-8) is slated to headline Bellator‘s August 7th event.

For Chandler, this is the last fight on his current Bellator deal. Chandler wants to stay with the promotion, but he has alluded to his openness to the market.

Chandler comes into the rematch after knocking out Sidney Outlaw at Bellator 237 back in December. When Chandler first fought Henderson, Chandler took the fight by split decision.

The former UFC lightweight champion, Henderson, enters this rematch on a four fight winning streak in Bellator. Henderson didn’t get off to the best start in his Bellator career.

After jumping to the promotion, “Smooth” started just 1-3. After that rough start, Henderson rattled off those four consecutive wins including victories over Myles Jury and Adam Piccolotti.

This is a big fight for both men. For Henderson, a win could mean a title shot. For Chandler, a win is massive heading into free agency. Expect Bellator to build a pretty good card around this main event on August 7th.

Bellator MMA preparing for July 24th return

Per multiple reports, Bellator MMA is ready to open their doors. Bellator is expected to have a three-month residency at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Unvasville, Connecticut. We have not seen any Bellator action since the promotion halted production back in early March.

Per MMA Fighting, the deal is a partnership with Showtime Championship Boxing who will also be sharing the arena. There are multiple hurdles still to overcome, but the promotion is focused on getting back to action in a couple of weeks.

Exciting Bellator Matchups Upcoming

There are no dates just yet, but there are several matchups that should get MMA fans excited about Bellator returning. One of the matchups that sticks out to me is the matchup between Douglas Lima (32-7) and Gegard Mousasi (46-7-2) for the vacant middleweight title. Lima is truly one of the best fighters in the world, and I’m interested to see if he can become a two-division world champion in Bellator.

Another fight I’m interested in is the rematch between Michael Chandler (20-5) and Benson Henderson (28-8). Chandler has long been considered one of the better lightweights in the world. He’s coming up on his last fight under his current Bellator deal, and he’s expected to test out free agency. If he wins impressively, expect several promotions to come calling with good offers.

Of course you have to think Bellator will move quickly to book the anticipated matchup between Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (30-4) and Pedro Carvalho (11-3). Pitbull is one of the best fighters in the world. He’s currently one of two double-champs in Bellator. There was some heat in this matchup, and it was just days from happening before the pandemic shut everything down.

More Fights for Fans

Dana White and the UFC have done a tremendous job of getting sports going over the last couple of months. However, now that Bellator is coming back, fight fans are going to see even more action. You have to think Bellator is going to come out strong after being behind for the last few months.