Fans of mixed martial arts have a midweek treat to look forward to as Bellator 253 takes place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut on Thursday night.
The main event pits AJ McKee against Darrion Caldwell. These two will lock horns in the semi-finals of the Fighting World Grand Prix in the featherweight division.
McKee Aiming to Prove His Class
McKee is the heavy
1/4 favourite as he enters this fight with a flawless 16-0 record, with each of his victories coming in Bellator. If he wins this one, you’ve got to think a shot at the featherweight title will be on the horizon.
The Californian rarely lets his fights go the distance, having won six by knockout or TKO, and five by submission. That also highlights that he is comfortable fighting on the ground or on his feet, and this versatility no doubt gives him a huge edge.
It won’t be completely straightforward, however, as Caldwell boasts a 15-3 MMA record, and a 12-2 record in Bellator. He last fought in January, and just two of his wins have been by knockout. However, six have come by submission.
This will likely be McKee’s toughest fight yet, but it’s hard to bet against anyone who is yet to taste defeat. Expect him to keep his unbeaten streak alive, with him
2/1 to win in 1-5 rounds.
Henderson Can Make Experience Count
The penultimate bout sees ex-UFC star Benson Henderson taking on Jason Jackson in the welterweight division. Jackson is the favourite for this contest and boasts a 12-4 record, but only three of those wins have come in Bellator and his last two have been by decision. In fact, he has not finished a fight since April last year.
Henderson meanwhile has plenty of experience under his belt, with a 28-9 record. After losing his last fight to Michael Chandler, he’s clearly in the twilight of his career and is just 5-4 in Bellator, but was a serial winner in UFC, going 11-3. Some of his victories came against the likes of Nate Diaz, Frankie Edgar and Donald Cerrone.
He lost his last fight by knockout back in August, but given Jackson’s struggles to finish his fight,
29/20 Henderson could have enough to pull off the upset and prevent this one from going the distance.
Early Finish for Davis?
Finally, the opening contest will see Bobby Lee take on Joey Davis, also in the welterweight division. Davis is a heavy favourite for this one as he enters the fight with a perfect 7-0 record. His last fight was a TKO victory, but that was way back in December 2019 so there could be a few cobwebs to shake off. It’s important to note that all five of his knockouts have come in the first round, so he likes to end his fights quickly.
Lee meanwhile is making his Bellator debut and has a 12-4 record. He last fought in September, where he won by unanimous decision. However, eight of his 12 victories have been inside the distance, with six coming via submission.
What makes Lee particularly interesting here is that he has never been knocked out, which could throw a spanner in the works of Davis’ game plan.
Still, he is facing an undefeated fighter on his Bellator debut so this is going to be a tremendous step up in class. Given Davis’ proven ability in finishing fights early, betting on under 1.5 rounds at
28/25 seems good value.
*All odds correct at time of writing