Bellator makes its way to the SAP Center in San Jose, California for Bellator 165. Former UFC champion, Benson Henderson will step into the cage for the third time under the Bellator banner when he faces off against lightweight champion Michael Chandler on Saturday night.
Ben Henderson is 1-1 since making the jump from the UFC to Bellator. He was completely outclassed by former welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov for five rounds in his first fight. In his second fight, he picked up a win over Patricio Freire after Freire couldn’t continue due to injury at Bellator 160. Benson has yet to look anything like the fighter we saw while he was in UFC.
Michael Chandler is on his second run as the Bellator lightweight champion. He finally regained the title after losing it to Eddie Alvarez back in 2013 by defeating Patricky Freire. Chandler knocked Freire out in the first round at Bellator 157 winning the title after it was vacated by Will Brooks, who jumped to the UFC.
The co-main event features the flashy Michael Page as he looks for another highlight win against Fernando Gonzalez. This should be a good fight with both fighters taking a step up in competition when they meet on Saturday night. The main card rounds out with Linton Vassell vs. Francis Carmont in a battle of light heavyweights. Up-and-comer Adam Picclotti squares off against Brandon Girtz in the lightweight division, and on the women’s side, Keri Melendez makes her debut against Sheila Padilla.
Benson Henderson (24-6) vs. Michael Chandler (15-3) - Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Chandler -170; Henderson +140
Michael Chandler will be looking for his fourth straight win when he takes on Benson Henderson on Saturday night. Chandler is willing to take the fight wherever it goes. He has an excellent ground game and is also capable of finishing on his feet as his last two wins demonstrate. While he has knockout power, Chandler’s stand up isn’t as polished as his ground game. He tends to leave himself open which makes him easy to hit.
Like Chandler, Benson Henderson has a great ground game. The big question coming into this fight is which Ben Henderson are we going to get on Saturday night? Will we see the UFC version or the Bellator version? Koreshkov was just the bigger, stronger fighter who was able to impose his will on Henderson throughout the five round beat down. The more alarming effort was what he put forth against Freire. Had Patricio been able to continue in the fight I’m not so sure Henderson comes away with the victory.
I’m a big fan of Benson Henderson, but until he shows me time isn’t catching up with him I just can’t put my money on him.
Pick: Chandler by decision
Fernando Gonzalez (25-13) vs. Michael Page (11-0) - Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Page -450; Gonzalez +340
This should be an entertaining fight. Fernando Gonzalez will be riding a five fight winning streak when he steps into the cage against his toughest challenge to date, Michael Page. While Gonzalez has great striking, it’s his ability to take his opponent down that makes him dangerous against Page.
Michael Page is going to want to stand and trade against Gonzalez due to his lack of takedown defense. Seven of MVP’s eleven wins are by knockout. If Gonzalez decides to engage in a slugfest, I don’t see the fight going well for him. The best chance of victory for Gonzalez is for him to take the fight to the ground.
I expect Page to win the fight; I also expect it to be a learning experience. He will be challenged, but I see him taking over in the third round and finishing Gonzalez.
Pick: Page by TKO
Francis Carmont (25-11) vs. Linton Vassell (16-5) - Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.
Current Odds: Vassell -140; Carmont +110
Linton Vasssell has alternated wins and losses over his previous four fights. His most recent fight was a win over Emanuel Newton at Bellator 149 after losing to him previously by submission at Bellator 130.
Former UFC veteran, Francis Carmont is 3-1 since coming over to Bellator. He lost to Phil Davis in the finals of the Light Heavyweight Tournament back in September, 2015. This is a tough fight to predict. I’ve never been a fan of Carmont’s, and I think Vassell has more ways to win the fight.
Pick: Vassell by decision
Brandon Girtz (14-4) vs. Adam Piccolotti(8-0) - Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Piccolotti -145; +115
Brandon Girtz is 5-1 over his last six fights including a decision win over former UFC fighter Melvin Guillard. The former All-American wrestler will want to try and take his opponent down and grind out a win. However, that will be a mistake against Adam Piccolotti.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt welcomes the opportunity to take the fight to the ground. Piccolotti’s last three wins are by submission. This is just a tough match-up for Brandon Girtz. I think Piccolotti wins the fight whether it goes to the ground or stays on the feet.
Pick: Piccolotti by submission
Sheila Padilla (2-0) vs. Keri Melendez (0-0) - Flyweight 115 lbs.
Current Odds: N/A
Bellator is hoping Keri Melendez is the real deal. Aside from her kickboxing, not much else is known about her. Having husband, Gilbert Melendez helping her can’t hurt. Bellator will choose her opponents wisely as she gains experience, and maybe someday down the road they’ll have a star in a women’s division.
Pick: Melendez by TKO
Prelims Quick Look
Ferguson over Hamilton
Banks over Roberts
Pica over Herzog
Labiano over Murdock
Terry over Baesman
Cacdac over Ramirez
Okanovich over Vargas
Jones over Hamilton
Gonzalez over Lujan
Sumner over Roswell
Mohammed over Grant
D’Alelio over Nievera
Enjoy the fights!
The Fighting Champion
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