Bellator 262 Preview

Tonight, Bellator makes it’s return for their 262nd show. In the main event of the evening we will see a battle for the women’s flyweight title. The undefeated champion Juliana Velasquez (11-0) will defend for the first time against top contender Denise Kielholtz (6-2).

As mentioned, this will be the first title defense for Juliana Velasquez. In her last fight at Bellator 254, the Brazilian flyweight defeated Ilima-Lei Macfarlane to capture the Bellator flyweight title.

So far, Velasquez is a perfect 6-0 inside of Bellator. She possesses great all-around skills, but she’s going to need to lean on her grappling and pressure tomorrow night. Standing across from her is former professional kickboxer Denise Kielholtz.

Kielholtz has over 40 professional kickboxing wins and she scored a beautiful first round knockout in her last performance at Bellator 247. She also has good skills on the ground as she has three submissions.

When it comes to Bellator 262, I think were going to see a lot of pressure from Velasquez. Do not expect her to play the range game with a striker like Kielholtz. This might turn into a slower and grueling fight, but I think Velasquez gets it done by decision.

Bellator 262 Co-Main Event

In the co-main event of Bellator 262 we will see a heavyweight battle. Veteran Matt Mitrione (13-8, 1 NC) is back to take on rising contender Tyrell Fortune (10-1, 1 NC). At 43 years old, we might be nearing the end for Matt Mitrione.

We were first introduced to “Meathead” back on The Ultimate Fighter in 2010. At that point, Mitrione had never fought professional. His entire career has been spent between the UFC and Bellator.

Back in 2016, Mitrione joined Bellator and got off to a hot start. He won his first four fights which included a first round knockout of Fedor Emelianenko. However, since then, he’s just 0-3, 1 NC and he hasn’t looked good. He’s going to have his hands full tomorrow night.

Standing in the way of Mitrione at Bellator 262 is Tyrell Fortune. Fortune was looked at as the top Bellator heavyweight prospect until he was knocked out by Tim Johnson. However, he’s bounced back nicely going 2-0, 1 NC since the loss.

Tomorrow night, I’m expecting a showcase for Fortune. Mitrione just isn’t the same guy and I don’t think he’s going to stop the takedowns of Fortune. I’m expecting a grind-out performance by Fortune on his way to picking up a second or third round TKO.

Juliana Velasquez defeats Ilima-Lei Macfarlane at Bellator 254

Tonight Bellator MMA returned and featured a big time women’s flyweight title fight in their main event. Champion, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (11-0) took on Juliana Velasquez (10-0).

Tonight was one of those rare occasions where the defending champion entered as the underdog. Macfarlane has looked sensational so far in her reign as Bellator flyweight champion. However, Velasquez was looked at as her most dangerous challenger.

The Judoka was poised to present some very interesting grappling challenges for Macfarlane. Normally, Macfarlane has had a big grappling advantage in her fights. However, on paper, it was hard to give her the advantage over the challenger at Bellator 254.

Bellator 254 Main Event Recap

Round 1

As the Bellator 254 main event got underway, Macfarlane looked to close the distance with strikes. However, nothing was landing early. Velasquez seemed to be stalking Macfarlane in the opening minutes just trying to gauge the distance.

Macfarlane found herself getting touched with shots as she continued to struggle to get inside. Velasquez looked poised and very comfortable from the outside. Halfway through first round of the Bellator main event and the action was lacking.

Both of these fighters were just feeling the other out. Velasquez started to back Macfarlane up, but she wasn’t throwing a ton of strikes. Macfarlane shot in for a sloppy takedown and couldn’t land it. Slow first round, but I’ll give this one to the challenger.

Round 2

As the second round of the Bellator 254 main event got underway, the champion attempted to dart in with strikes. However, Velasquez did a good job of defending and landing counters. After the opening seconds, the two settled in at range where Velasquez again looked comfortable.

Velasquez continued stalking Macfarlane along the fence line a minute into the round. Macfarlane blitzed in and landed a decent overhand right, but she still appeared to be struggling with the range. Macfarlane used another blitz to get the fight to a clinch.

However, Velasquez reversed the position and pushed the champion against the fence. Both fighters started exchanging knees in the clinch. Macfarlane was able to reverse the position and push the challenger against the fence with 90 seconds left in the round.

Macfarlane attempted a trip, however, Velasquez was able to land on top. The champion attempted to throw up some submissions from guard, but nothing really got close in the final minute. Two rounds to nothing for the challenger on my scorecard.

Round 3

As the third round of the Bellator 254 main event got underway, the champion again looked to attack with blitzes. Macfarlane landed a couple of clean shots which forced Velasquez to start pressing forward with her own attack.

After some initial success, Macfarlane found herself getting stalked again. The champion was able catch a leg kick and she used that to try to land a takedown. While balancing on one foot, Velasquez was able to land some clean shots which cut the champion.

Velasquez was able to defend the takedown and get the fight back to standing. Macfarlane was having more success with her striking in the third landing a clean right hand that she followed with a nice leg kick.

However, Velasquez continued to pressure the champion and land from distance. The champion had more success in round three, but this was another round for the challenger who landed a flush knee to close the round.

Round 4

As the fourth round of the Bellator 254 main event got underway, Velasquez looked to be in complete control. The champion continued to try to land with her blitzes, but Velasquez was doing a very nice job of sliding out of the way.

In the fourth, Velasquez was doing a good job of landing a really good uppercut as Macfarlane rushed in. Halfway through the round and the champion was looking busted up. Velasquez really started to push forward with big straight shots.

Macfarlane looked to just be defending at this point. However, with two minutes left in the round, Macfarlane got in deep on a takedown and got Velasquez down. Velasquez was able to work her way to the fence, but Macfarlane kept her down.

The champion did a good job of staying active with landing shots while she had top position. The round closes with the champion on top. Good start to the round for Velasquez, but this round goes to the champion with her top control for the final two minutes.

Round 5

As the final round got underway, the Bellator flyweight champion needed a finish according to my scorecard. Velasquez opened up the round with a couple of clean shots. However, Macfarlane immediately was able to push Velasquez up against the fence.

Once they were there, the champion worked very hard for the takedown. However, Velasquez defended very well. Macfarlane landed a couple of nice knees to the thighs while she was still attempting to get the takedown.

Halfway through the round and Macfarlane went for a throw, but landed on her back. When Velasquez was on top she started attacking with elbows. Velasquez did a really good job of using pressure while on top.

With 90 seconds left in the round, Velasquez backed away and let the fight up. Once there, the champion immediately shot in for another takedown. The final minute just featured Macfarlane pushing Velasquez against the fence.

Good moments for the champion, but I lean towards the challenger. In the end, I scored the fight 49-46 for Juliana Velasquez.

Juliana Velasquez def. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane by Unanimous Decision (48-47, 49-46, 48-47)

Bellator 254 Preview

Tomorrow night, Bellator returns for the first time in a few weeks and they are bringing a great main event. In the main event of the evening, we will see a women’s flyweight title fight between two undefeated fighters.

Bellator flyweight champion, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (11-0), will be taking on undefeated challenger, Juliana Velasquez (10-0). This is arguably the best Bellator women’s title fight we’ve seen in a very long time.

Macfarlane is one of the best in the world. She made her Bellator debut back in 2016 and she’s dominated every opponent that has stepped in front of her. If you’ve never seen Macfarlane in action, she’s incredible on the ground.

The 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu product is incredibly slick with her transition and her top game is nasty. Whenever she’s not looking for submissions, she’s looking to land big shots. She finished Veta Arteaga with a nasty elbow that caused a fight ending cut to retain her Bellator title.

If she can get the fight down to the ground tomorrow and be on top, it could be a quick night. However, she’s going up against an opponent who represented her country in the Olympics in Judo.

While Macfarlane is known for her skills on the ground, it should be noted that Juliana Velasquez is extremely good on the ground as well. I think because of her judo background, there will likely be some scenarios where we see Macfarlane on the bottom tomorrow night.

Bellator 254 Prediction

When it comes to Bellator 254, I think a good portion of the fight is actually going to take place on the feet. Going off of just the eye test, I’ve been more impressed with Velasquez on the feet than the champion, Macfarlane.

However, Velasquez sometimes doesn’t push the pace like she needs to while Macfarlane is always in attack mode. I think these two are so good that I don’t feel comfortable picking either to win by a finish.

I think the Bellator title fight is going to go the distance. I’m expecting a very back and forth fight. However, in the end, I think it’s the safe bet to ride with Macfarlane. I think she’ll push the pace enough and win enough positions to get the win tomorrow night.

Prediction: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane by Unanimous Decision