This is a decent main card by Bellator. It hosts an interesting title fight between current lightweight champ and Bellator star Michael Chandler and former UFC and WEC champion Benson Henderson. There is a lot riding in this fight as Chandler is looking to cement himself as one of the top lightweights in the world, and Henderson is looking to get a belt, while trying to prove that he's still among the elite. Additionally, undefeated sensation Michael Page puts his perfect record on the line to face game opponent Fernando Gonzalez.
What: Bellator 165
Where: SAP Center, San Jose, California.
When: Saturday, Nov. 19. The preliminary card start at 7 p.m. ET and airs on Spike.com, while the five-fight main card airs live on Spike at 9 p.m. ET.
Michael Chandler vs. Benson Henderson
If you were to ask me about this match up a year ago, I'd pick Henderson without hesitating. But today, the hesitation is real, very real. In his past two fights, Henderson has failed to translate his impressive performances in the UFC to the Bellator cage. He lost a one-sided fight against then welterweight champ Andrey Koreshkov, and then he went on to fight featherweight Patricio Freire in a lightweight bout. Although he picked up a 'w' that night, Henderson was losing the fight in my eyes, and it was because of an injury sustained by Freire that Henderson earned a victory.
Who knows what version of Henderson will show up, but based on his most recent fights, I don't see this fight going his way. Chandler's striking, movement, and grappling have looked on point. In every interview that Chandler does, he seems to get extra fired up about the recent Bellator signees that have come from the UFC. I feel like in Chandler's eyes, fighting a former UFC fighter is a good measuring stick to show the fans how good he actually is. I see Chandler showing up with extra motivation and looking extra sharp in this fight.
Almost every fight that Michael Page is in, it feels like it's tailor made for him to win. This one, however, seems to be actually competitive on paper. We all know Page has flashy striking, and odd movement that confuses his opponents. But Gonzalez is no noob, as he has 38 professional fights, and hold notable wins over Karl Amoussou, Karo Parisyan and Gilbert Smith. Gonzalez is tough, and presents a problem anywhere the fight goes.
I believe this is a tough fight for Page, but not tough enough to damage his undefeated record. I see Page facing some new challenges, but overcoming them, and eventually getting another highlight reel victory.
A wise man by the name of Tito Ortiz once said, 'Wrestling wins fights'. Although I don't believe that to be true for every fight, I do think it holds truth for this one.
Vassell has a good amount of experience, is a solid athlete with good striking, but doesn't have the greatest takedown defense. Meanwhile, Carmont is always in shape, has a well-rounded skill set, but is mainly know for his strong grappling and takedowns. You might already see where I'm going with this. I see Carmont taking down, and controlling Vassell on the ground to get a win.
Piccolotti is a good Bellator prospect. He's undefeated and hasn't really shown any huge holes in his game. He's also a strong grappler with slick movement. Girtz has a strong wrestling base, is very aggressive, and has dangerous striking.
I thinking this is a bad match up for Piccolotti, as I see Girtz avoiding submissions, and getting the better of the striking.
Keri-Anne Taylor-Melendez vs. Sheila Padilla
This is a mystery fight, as we don't know how Melendez will look in an MMA bout. We already know she can strike and take a hit, as we've seen in her kickboxing bouts, but we don't know how advance her ground game actually is. Padilla is tough, fights at a solid pace, and has a solid top control. This could mean trouble for Melendez, but I'd like to believe she's learned a few tricks from her husband, Gilbert Melendez, and his team, the 'Skrap Pack,' in the grappling department.