Bellator announces Douglas Lima – Jason Jackson for London event

Bellator MMA announced a massive welterweight contest today that looks to be a title eliminator. The promotion took to Twitter to announce that former welterweight champion and middleweight title challenger Douglas Lima (32-10) will be taking on Jason Jackson (15-4).

The matchup will take place on May 13th when the promotion returns to London, England. This matchup will serve as the co-main event as the main event is scheduled to be a welterweight title contest between Yaroslav Amosov and Michael “Venom” Page.

This is a huge fight for Jason Jackson. A few years ago, Jackson was on the radar of the UFC. He appeared on Dana White’s Contender Series but lost his fight due to injury. Immediately after that, Bellator signed him and he scored a TKO win.

However, he found himself back in LFA for a couple of fights after that. After a couple of additional wins, Bellator brought him back. He lost his first fight back by split decision. However, he’s been perfect since then.

Jackson is now 5-0 in his last five Bellator fights. His competition level has been high as well as he’s defeated the likes of Paul Daley, Neiman Gracie, and Benson Henderson. A win over Douglas Lima would definitely make him next for the welterweight title.

Bellator Redemption for Lima

It seems just like yesterday that people were talking about Bellator’s Douglas Lima as one of the very best in the world. Lima was riding a stretch where he went 6-1 which included knocking out Michael “Venom” Page and dominating Rory MacDonald to become welterweight champion.

He rode that momentum into challenging Gegard Mousasi for the middleweight title. He was looking to become Bellator’s double-champion. However, he was dominated by Mousasi and that forced him to move back to welterweight.

When he returned, he lost to Yaroslav Amosov in dominating fashion which lost him his welterweight title. After that, he was defeated by MVP at Bellator 267. Now, all of a sudden, Lima has lost three fights in a row.

This is a huge fight for him to prove that he’s still amongst the best in the promotion. There’s a ton riding on this fight for both men which should make for an excellent fight.

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.

Bellator 242: Three fights to watch

Bellator MMA makes it’s long anticipated return tomorrow night from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conneticut.

Bellator is dipping it’s toe back in the pool with a card that features seven fights, four of which are on the main card on the Paramount Network. Let’s dive into three of the key matchups for Bellator 242.

Sergio Pettis vs Ricky Bandejas

In the main event of the evening we have a bantamweight contest between Sergio Pettis (19-5) and Ricky Bandejas (13-3).

Pettis comes into this fight coming off of a win in his Bellator debut back in January. Pettis has been on the biggest stage in the sport now for about seven years. Incredibly impressive from someone who’s just about to turn 27.

Pettis has beaten guys like Joseph Benavidez in the past and he’s also been in the cage with the likes of Henry Cejudo.

Pettis has a very solid overall game. Good distance striking, and he’s very good off of his back. He’s got very good submission skills which he showed off back in January.

In the other corner you have Ricky Bandejas. Bandejas is a pretty good striker who has knockouts in all of his last four wins.

Back at Bellator 204, Bandejas became famous after he knocked out James Gallagher in impressive fashion. However, Bandejas would go on to lose two consecutive fights.

He has bounced back nicely since with back-to-back knockout victories. Bandejas does better when he’s countering aggressive fighters. He’s able to catch guys coming in with his quick counters and good power.

I expect this fight to take place on the feet. While Bandejas has good striking, I don’t favor him at all in a technical striking match with Pettis. Could Bandejas catch Pettis with something? Absolutely he could.

However, I think the fight will take place from range where I expect Pettis to do very well with kicks. Expect Bandejas to have moments, but the output and accuracy of Pettis’ shots will give him the nod here.

Prediction: Sergio Pettis by Unanimous Decision

Jordan Mein vs Jason Jackson

The co-main event of the evening features a contest between UFC veteran, Jordan Mein (31-12), and Jason “The Ass-Kicking Machine” Jackson (11-4).

Mein hasn’t fought in about two years, but he was coming off back-to-back wins in the UFC before making the jump to Bellator.

Mein has fought some of the best guys in the world from guys like Tyron Woodley to the rising Belal Muhammad. Mein has a solid overall game with good striking from a distance. He does struggle with his cardio at times.

You could make the argument that Jason Jackson belongs in the UFC. Jackson fought on Dana White’s Contender Series, but lost due to an ankle injury. Since then, Jackson has gone 4-1 with his lone loss being a split decision loss to Ed Ruth at Bellator 231.

Jackson has really good power and uses a good amount of explosion with his advances. I think that Mein’s patient style could really help out a guy like Jackson over the course of a three round fight.

I think this fight is going to go the distance. While Mein comes in with high expectations in his Bellator debut, I like Jackson to defeat him in a back and forth fight.

Prediction: Jason Jackson by Unanimous Decision

Aaron Pico vs Chris Hatley Jr.

Kicking off the main card of Bellator 242 is a featherweight contest between Aaron Pico (5-3) and Chris “Solo” Hatley Jr (8-2).

Just a few years ago, Pico was regarded as the top prospect in all of MMA. However, his career has not gone as planned so far. Being stopped three times was not part of the original plan.

Outside of his three defeats, Pico has finished all five of his wins within the first two rounds. Pico possesses great boxing with really good power. Pico has elite wrestling that he rarely uses.

Standing across from Pico will be Solo Hatley. Hatley comes into this contest coming off of a win in his Bellator debut. Hatley has pretty decent overall skills and showed a good ground game in his last outing.

Hatley has decent hands due to his athleticism, but there doesn’t appear to be a ton of polish in his striking. He also doesn’t posses incredible striking defense.

Given the skills of both fighters, I’m expecting this one to be contested on the feet. Hatley doesn’t do well with being pressured and he doesn’t have great defense.

For these reasons, I don’t think he’s going to do well with Pico. I expect Pico to fight patiently, but when the opening is there, I expect him to do what it takes to finish this one.

Prediction: Aaron Pico by TKO – Round 1

Bellator 242 Outlook

Bellator is not going all out with their first card back. They have some really good fights, but they are not trying to blow the roof off the place. Seems like a very conservative effort on their part to get back in the game. However, fans should be happy because a returning Bellator just means more MMA fights for fans everywhere.