Armchair Matchmaker

Bellator 242 Post-Fight Matchmaker

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After five months away due to COVID-19, Bellator returned at long last on Friday night with Bellator 242. The event featured a couple of notable upsets and some of the organization’s top prospects. The Bellator 242 Post-Fight Matchmaker picks opponents for all of the winners of the four-fight main card.

Bellator 242 Post-Fight Matchmaker

Aaron Pico vs. John Teixeira

Highly-touted prospect Aaron Pico proved that label again on Friday night, submitting Chris Hatley Jr. just over two minutes into the first round. Since back-to-back knockout losses to high-level fighters in 2019, Pico has gotten back on track in 2020 with two straight wins. His move to Jackson-Wink MMA this year has paid off, turning the 23 year old into an improved, more cerebral fighter. With that considered, Pico should be in line to get a step up in competition again. An ideal next opponent for him would be John Teixeira, a 30-fight veteran who has faced some of the division’s elite in Bellator. “Macapa” has not beaten any of those elite fighters, but provides a great test for Pico nonetheless. The winner of this fight would then work towards another chance to prove they can hang near the top of the division.

Jay Jay Wilson vs. Cris Lencioni

Jay Jay Wilson went to his first decision on Friday night, upsetting prospect and Featherweight Grand Prix competitor Tywan Claxton by split decision. The win was hampered, however, by a botched weight cut leading to a weight miss. Nonetheless, the performance was enough to get him another fight with a well-respected prospect. Cris Lencioni has rebounded from two straight losses in 2018 and has not lost since. “Sunshine” lost some of the shine that he had prior to that, but is now in a position to get back to where he was. A win over Wilson would go a long way towards proving that, while a Wilson win would give him the prospect label and a needed step up in competition.

Jason Jackson vs. Sabah Homasi/Curtis Millender winner

Former Titan FC champion, TUF 21 competitor, and Dana White’s Contender Series alum Jason Jackson picked up his third Bellator win by shutting out longtime UFC veteran and Bellator debutant, Jordan Mein via unanimous decision. He now has two wins in a row and is looking to work towards contention in the stacked welterweight division. Fighters in a similar position are Sabah Homasi and Curtis Millender, who are scheduled to face each other this week at Bellator 243. Homasi and Jackson were on opposing teams for TUF 21 but never fought. Millender, meanwhile, returned to Bellator in January after a five-fight stint in the UFC to pick up a win over Moses Murrietta. Homasi and Millender will be a fun striking battle, and the winner will be set up for another when they face Jackson.

Sergio Pettis vs. Juan Archuleta/Patrick Mix winner

“The Phenom” Sergio Pettis picked up his second win in Bellator and third straight overall, by shutting out Ricky Bandejas by unanimous decision. His coming to Bellator from the UFC made him an automatic contender in the bantamweight division and his two wins since have proven as such. It seems as though the consensus next fight for Pettis will be for the title, which is currently vacant. The reported matchup for the vacant title is between Juan Archuleta and Patrick Mix. That fight should be a fun grappling-heavy contest between two fighters that have been dominant for most of their careers. The winner between “The Spaniard” Archuleta and “Patchy” Mix will then face Pettis for their first title defense.

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Nate Freeman is from Birmingham, AL, and has been an MMA fan since 2013 after buying UFC Undisputed 2009 for $2 from a second-hand electronics store.

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