Bellator 219: Preview & Predictions
Bellator 219 goes down Friday night at the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California. The headliner for the event is Awad vs. Girtz, and as of now offers four huge fights on the main card with a double digit undercard. I will preview the main card and one match from the prelims that I find extremely enticing.
Janay Harding (4-3) vs. Marina Mokhnatkina (4-1) Prelims
On paper, this one does not jump off the page at you, but I think it will be a great fight. This matchup also gives everyone the opportunity to see Marina Mokhnatkina. Marina is a combat sambo fighter and a product of Sambo-Piter Fighting out of St. Petersburg, Russia. Marina’s first defeat came in her last fight via decision to Liana Jojua. Interesting to note that all four of Marina’s wins have come via submission, and her sambo causes many fighters a ton of problems. Still with much to learn, I am looking forward to this fight. I believe the beautiful Mokhnatkina has a very bright future in the fight game.
Prediction: Marina Mokhnatkina via Submission
Andrey “Spartan” Koreshkov (21-3) vs. Mike Jasper (13-4)
Jasper is a solid fighter who continues to improve and has shown flashes of knockout power in his three fight win streak with two of his last three wins via TKO. The problem Jasper has is that he faces Andrey Koreshkov. All three of Andrey’s loses have come at the hands of Ben Askren and Douglas Lima. Coming off his second loss to Lima, a 5th round submission, there is no doubt Koreshkov is looking for a finish. The Russian “Spartan” is a masterful artist at finishing his opponents and can do it many different ways.
Prediction: Andrey Koreshkov via TKO
Keith Berry (15-14-1) vs. Joe Schilling (3-5)
Berry is coming off four straight loses, a draw and a no contest and has not won a fight since 2013. While I am sure you are wondering what in the hell is he doing on the main card. I think that I can provide an answer for you fight fans. “Sacrificial Lamb,” I’m sure you are all familiar with the term, and Friday night you get to see it first hand. Schilling is a wild man, and fight fans love him, but he is reckless as hell, and that has cost him a couple fights. Joe has dropped to a losing record and something has to be done to get him back on track. After losing back-to-back fights in 2015, Schilling stepped away from the cage. “Stitch Em Up” returned in 2018 with a win over Will Morris and looks to turn the lights out on Berry to keep that momentum rolling.
Prediction: Joe “Stitch Em Up” Schilling TKO
Shane Kruchten (12-4) vs. Daniel Straus (25-8)
This is a very emotional return as Straus suffered a potential career ending injury and has somehow worked his ass off to get back to the cage. American Top Team product, coming off back-to-back loses in 2017 against Patricio Pitbull and Emmanuel Sanchez, both of whom caught Straus in a choke for the finish. Straus is tagged with five of his eight loses to Pitbull and Pat Curran, so very few fighters truly have his number. Kruchyen is coming of a loss to Aaron Pico and has dropped two of his last four fights. Shane has showed heart and has built a nice record, but I think the emotional return of Straus will prove to be too much to gain a win in this one.
Prediction: Daniel Straus via Submission
Saad “Assassin” Awad (23-10) vs Brandon Girtz (15-8)
Awad is coming off a loss to Benson Henderson, but prior to that had rolled off four straight wins, including a TKO of Ryan Couture. Girtz is coming off a submission loss to Michael Chandler and has lost four of his last five fights. Girtz has the ability as he punched out three straight wins before going into this latest downward spiral. Desperately needing a win to right the ship, Girtz will not find that easy against Awad, who is looking to bounce back in furious fashion. I expect a good fight from both men as they both have something to prove, but I see it ending one way, and it does not bode well for Girtz.
Prediction: Saad “Assassin” Awad TKO
It should be a fun night of fights, so follow along with me as I bring you all the action on Twitter at @MSBFightClub, and follow my personal page @DamonSmith34
Check out a previous article of mine on Michael “Venom” Page