RIZIN Bantamweight Champion Kyoji Horiguchi will attempt to become a two-time Bellator champion on Friday night, facing current titleholder Sergio Pettis in the main event of a card from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, USA.
The fight is set to be the final bout on an 11-fight card on Friday night. Here’s a preview of it all.
Preliminary Card (7:00PM EST) (Youtube)
Bout 1: Kyle Crutchmer (7-1) vs. Oliver Enkamp (10-2) (Welterweight)
Experienced Bellator welterweights Kyle Crutchmer and Oliver Enkamp will meet in the opening bout of the prelims.
Enkamp, a former UFC fighter, is currently on a strong three-fight winning streak in Bellator. All three of these fights have finished in the first round, including a spinning backfist win last year. Enkamp will be competing for the first time in over a year.
Crutchmer bounced back from his sole pro loss earlier this year, fighting to a unanimous decision victory over Levan Chokheli.
Bout 2: Spike Carlyle (12-3) vs. Dan Moret (15-6) (Catchweight 160 lbs)
Former UFC fighter Spike Carlyle will make his Bellator debut on Friday’s card, facing Dan Moret at a catchweight of 160 pounds.
Carlyle took the fight on short notice to replace Ricardo Seixas. His appearance on Friday is his first with a major promotion since departing the UFC roster last year. Carlyle had a short run with the UFC, winning his debut then departing the promotion following two losses last year.
Carlyle got the call to Bellator after having a strong run on the regional scene in recent months, picking up three stoppage wins. This included an LFA main event in March and a recent victory for Cage Warriors.
Moret, also a former UFC fighter, is coming off a successful Bellator debut against Goiti Yamauchi from April.
Bout 3: Justin Montalvo (3-0) vs. Jacob Bohn (10-7) (Lightweight)
Undefeated lightweight Justin Montalvo will look for his third pro win when facing Jacob Bohn on Friday night.
Montalvo will be making his first appearance for Bellator. He was originally meant to fight for the promotion in August, but that fight later fell through. He has earned three finish wins since debuting in early 2020.
Montalvo last fought in October, earning a second-round win over Jake Methric.
Bohn is a much more experienced fighter in MMA, as he is entering his 18th pro bout. While he has not competed in the sport since January of last year, he is coming back to MMA on a three-fight winning streak.
Bout 4: Vinicius de Jesus (9-4) vs. Levan Chokheli (9-1) (Middleweight)
Vinicius de Jesus and Levan Chokheli will fight to return to the win column as part of Friday’s prelims.
De Jesus lost his Bellator debut in 2020, going three rounds against Austin Vanderford for a unanimous decision result. He had previously lost before then, getting defeated by Jaleel Willis on an LFA card.
Chokheli entered Bellator in June as an undefeated fighter with nine pro wins. He lost in his first appearance for the promotion, as Kyle Crutchmer beat him on scorecards.
Bout 5: Mike Hamel (8-5) vs. Killys Mota (12-2) (Lightweight)
Lightweights Mike Hamel and Killys Mota are expected to meet on Friday’s undercard.
Hamel earned his first Bellator win three months back, defeating Bryce Logan. He had a two-fight skid in the promotion before then.
Mota last fought a year back, getting stopped by a second-round head kick by Derek Anderson. He had a successful promotional debut a year prior, handing Mandel Nallo his first pro loss at Bellator 231.
Bout 6: Kai Kamaka III (8-4-1) vs. John de Jesus (14-9) (Featherweight)
Making his first appearance following a quick UFC run, Kai Kamaka III will fight John de Jesus.
Kamaka III was on the UFC roster for nearly an entire year. After winning his promotional debut against Tony Kelley, he lost two bouts and fought to a draw in his latest appearance. He then parted ways with the promotion.
De Jesus has scored two wins and one loss in Bellator. He earned a close victory last time around, beating veteran John Macapa in June.
Bout 7: Alexander Shabliy (20-3) vs. Bobby King (10-3) (Lightweight)
The prelims will wrap up with a fight between lightweights Alexander Shabliy and Bobby King.
Shabliy continued a dominant win streak in his Bellator debut earlier this year, defeating Alfie Davis on scorecards at Bellator 259. The fight was his fifth consecutive win since 2017.
King also has a fair amount of momentum behind him, having won his last four fights. His first Bellator appearance was in June, where he beat savvy grappled Nick Newell via split decision.
Main Card (10:00PM EST) (Showtime)
Bout 8: Johnny Eblen (9-0) vs. Collin Huckbody (10-3) (Middleweight)
Undefeated middleweight Johnny Eblen will fight former CFFC Champion Collin Huckbody in the first bout of the main card.
Five of Eblen’s nine wins have taken place in the Bellator cage. He scored his first finish win in his promotional run earlier this year, defeating Daniel Madrid with strikes. He has since also beat Travis Davis in July.
Huckbody became CFFC Middleweight Champion last year with a win over Aaron Phillips. He lost the belt three months later, dropping the belt to Aaron Jeffery. He has since bounced back with a decision win against Nick Kraus on a regional card.
Bout 9: Josh Hill (20-4) vs. Jared Scoggins (10-1) (Bantamweight)
The long-awaited Bellator debut of Jared Scoggins could finally come on Friday night when he faces Josh Hill.
Scoggins has been booked for three different Bellator cards over the past year, with all of the appearances falling through for various reasons. He claimed a regional belt in his last fight, defeating Thomas Vasquez in September 2020 to become the CFFC Bantamweight Champion.
Hill has fought as a pro since 2009, attaining 20 wins in that time. He lost in a high-level fight in Bellator’s bantamweight division earlier this year, dropping a decision to Raufeon Stots. That defeat ended a four-fight winning streak for Hill which included two prior wins in the promotion.
Bout 10: Emmanuel Sanchez (20-6) vs. Jeremy Kennedy (16-3) (Featherweight)
Two-time Bellator title challenger Emmanuel Sanchez will attempt to break a losing streak in Friday’s co-main event, facing Jeremy Kennedy at featherweight.
Sanchez challenged for a belt earlier this year, facing Patricio Pitbull in the semi-finals of the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix. He was stopped early in that fight, getting submitted in the opening round by a guillotine choke.
Before then, Sanchez had attained three consecutive wins between 2019 and 2020.
Sanchez has lost another bout since his April title fight, getting beat by former UFC fighter Mads Burnell in July.
Kennedy, a former PFL and UFC fighter, will also be aiming to return to the win column. He lost to featherweight prospect Adam Borics last time around, not being favoured on scorecards back in April.
Kennedy won his Bellator debut last year against Matt Bessette.
Bout 11: Sergio Pettis (21-5) vs. Kyoji Horiguchi (29-3) (Bellator Bantamweight Championship)
It will be a clash of bantamweight champions on Friday night when Sergio Pettis and Kyoji Horiguchi meet. The fight gives Pettis a chance to defend his belt for the first time, and it offers Horiguchi the opportunity to re-gain a belt he relinquished in 2019.
Horiguchi became a Bellator champion two years ago as part of a near unstoppable run around the world. After defeating then-135-pound champ Darrion Caldwell on a RIZIN New Year’s Eve show in 2018, Horiguchi earned a unanimous decision win over Caldwell in 2019 at Bellator 222, taking his belt in the process. He was already a champ before then, holding the RIZIN Bantamweight Championship in Japan.
Horiguchi’s impressive 13-fight winning streak was stopped abruptly in August 2019, as Kai Asakura beat him in a non-title fight at RIZIN 18. Later that year, Horiguchi dropped his RIZIN and Bellator belts due to injury.
Horiguchi has since regained his RIZIN title, avenging a loss over Asakura late last year with a first-rounds stoppage win. On Friday, he will get the chance to become a two-promotion champ once again.
The Bellator Bantamweight Championship moved around quite a big after Horiguchi gave up the belt. Juan Archuleta had a short run with the title, defeating Patchy Mix to claim the belt in 2020. Archuleta was unsuccessful in his first defense of the title, losing a unanimous decision to Pettis in May.
Pettis’ title win earlier in the year came after a strong two-fight run in Bellator that included wins over Ricky Bandejas and Alfred Khashakyan. He made the move to Bellator following a strong 14-fight run in the UFC from 2013 to 2019.