The Bellator welterweight and lightweights will be on the line this Wednesday night as Ben Askren and Michael Chandler defend their titles at Bellator 97. Both fighters are also undefeated going into Wednesday night’s card, and they both hope to stay that way after they put their belts on the line.
Welterweight Title – Ben Askren vs. Andrey Koreshkov
With 11 wins in 11 MMA fights, Ben Askren is the undisputed king of Bellator’s welterweight division, and he is likely to stay that way after this fight. His wrestling-centric fight game has drawn criticism from some sections of the MMA fan base, but it has been the main reason why he has he successfully defended his title three times.
Koreshkov also comes into the fight undefeated with 13 MMA wins, with his last victory being a decision win over Lyman Good in the Season 7 Welterweight Tournament Final. The 22-year-old has shown some great stand-up in his MMA career as well as some solid ground skills, albeit only occasionally. It will likely not be enough in this fight as Askren’s wrestling skills will nullify any major offense from the Russian.
Projected Result – Askren via unanimous decision to keep the title and give Koreshkov his first MMA defeat.
Lightweight Title – Michael Chandler vs. David Rickels
Chandler is also 11 from 11 in his MMA career, having defended the strap once since beating top lightweight Eddie Sanchez in November 2011. He will likely make it 12-0 when he defends the title against Rickels on Wednesday, with his aggressiveness and well-rounded game likely to be the deciding factors.
Rickels has looked great in Bellator’s lightweight division thus far, going 4-0 en route to challenging Chandler for the belt. The 24-year-old has showcased some solid striking and is quite slick off his back, shown by the fact five of his 14 wins come via triangle choke. While he may pose trouble to Chandler at some stages, Chandler is on a higher level than Bellator’s other lightweights, which will likely be shown on Wednesday.
Projected Result – Michael Chandler via fourth round stoppage to keep the title.
Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal vs. Jacob Noe
King Mo makes it two in a row in Bellator via second round TKO.
Ryan Martinez vs. Vitaly Minakov
Minakov stays undefeated via first round TKO.
Patricio Freire vs. Jared Downing
Freire wins via unanimous decision.