The HEB Center in Cedar Park, TX is the site for Bellator 161 on Friday night. The main event features the up and coming Tony Johnson as he takes on MMA veteran Cheick Kongo in a battle of heavyweights. Johnson is moving up in competition after winning his last two fights against Raphael Butler and Alexander Volkov. A win here should put him in line for a shot at the heavyweight title. The UFC veteran, Cheick Kongo hopes to put himself back in the conversation as a possible contender for the title again with a win.
In the co-main event former champion Joe Warren takes on Sirwan Kakai. Kakai, also a UFC veteran looks to get his first win under the Bellator banner after losing his first contest against Joe Taimanglo. Warren comes into the fight looking to get his career back on track after losing his last two out three fights.
The four fight main card rounds out with lightweights Derek Campos vs. Djamil Chan and Anastasia Yankova vs. Veta Arteaga in a battle in the Strawweight Division.
Tony Johnson (10-2) vs. Cheick Kongo (24-10-2) | Current Line: Johnson -130, Kongo +105
This will be a serious test for Johnson as he goes up against his toughest foe yet in Cheick Kongo. Kongo brings a much better set of skills for Johnson to deal with than he's used to facing. Kongo can win this fight in many ways, as he's the more skilled fighter in just about every category. This isn't to say Johnson is going to get rolled over. If he’s successful in taking Cheick down and maintains control throughout the fight then I can see him grinding out a decision. That being said, I think Kongo will be able to stuff his takedown attempts.
Winner: Kongo by submission
Sirwan Kakai (12-4) vs. Joe Warren (13-5) | Current Line: Kakai -140, Warren +110
The Bellator veteran, Joe Warren comes into this fight losing two of his last three fights and not looking good in any of them. I think in order for Warren to win this fight he has to take advantage of his superior wrestling skills. If the fight stays standing, it's Kakai’s to lose. This is a big fight fight for Sirwan too. He needs to win this one after losing his Bellator debut in a fight he was predicted to win.
Winner: Kakai by decision
Veta Arteaga (2-0) vs. Anastasia Yankova (3-0) | Current Line: Yankova -425, Arteaga +325
This is a battle between two undefeated newcomers, with a total of five fights between them combined. Yankova beat Anjela Pink in her Bellator debut by submission, in fact, all three of her wins have come by submission. Arteaga, also won her first fight for the promotion by beating Jackie Vandenburgh by decision. Both her wins were by decision. There's not much to go on here so I'm siding with the younger, more impressive fighter.
Winner: Yankova by submission
Djamil Chan (11-2) vs. Derek Campos (16-6) | Current Line: Campos -135, Chan +105
Campos, a Bellator veteran looks to become a contender for the title with a win. He's coming off an impressive knockout victory over Melvin Guillard at Bellator 149. Chan is coming off a win in his first Bellator fight taking out Richard Patishnock by knockout. Chan has more power and is the better striker, but Campos is no slouch in the striking department either. Chan wants to keep the fight from going to the ground, but will he be successful keeping the fight standing for three rounds?
Winner: Campos by decision
Enjoy the fights!
The Fighting Champion
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