And that’s exactly what Juan Archuleta delivered in his Bellator 214 main card bout on Saturday night at the Forum. Archuleta, coming down from featherweight, engaged Ricky Bandejas in a high-energy 15 minutes of bantamweight action.
And while both competitors had their moments, Archuleta got the better of it, earning a unanimous decision on across-the-board scores of 29-28.
“I said I want to fight the best guys in the divison, and I got one of the best guys in the division,” Archuleta said. “Hat’s off to him, man.”
Archuleta was active from the outset, pushing the pace in the opening round, throwing hooks which sometimes connected, sometimes misses, but always kept Bandejas backpedaling. Bandejas, though, kept things honest by landing counters and sprawling the bulk of Archuleta’s takedown attempts.
The second was a close round, as Bandejas tightened up his striking and starting landing more frequently, but Archuleta responded by landing combos to the head and body.
The final round was contested at a similarly fast pace as the duo engaged in spirited scrambles. The biggest moment of the round occurred early on, as Archuleta landed a big slam on his foe.
The win was the 17th in a row for Archuleta (22-1), and put him at 4-0 in Bellator. New Jersey’s Bandejas (11-2) had a six-fight win streak snapped.