Bellator 301 event is set to go down tomorrow (Fri., Nov. 17, 2023) inside Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois featuring a championship doubleheader. The main event will feature a Welterweight title fight between division champion, Yaroslav Amosov, defending his belt against Jason Jackson. In the co-main event, Bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis will face interim champion Patchy Mix in a highly-anticipated title unification bout.
In further action, Patricky Pitbull takes on Alexander Shabliy in a Lightweight Grand Prix bout, while A.J. McKee returns to take on Sidney Outlaw. Rounding out the main card will be a Bantamweight rematch between Danny Sabatello and Raufeon Stots.
170 lbs.: Champion Yaroslav Amosov vs. Jason Jackson
There is still no concrete news as to what will happen with the promotion after Bellator 301, but the show still must go on for now and titles must be defended. Amosov will attempt to pick up his second successful defense of his 170-pound strap when he takes on Jason Jackson. Amosov is a perfect 27-0, which includes winning all eight of his fights under the Bellator banner, including two dominate wins over Logan Storley and one over ex-title holder, Douglas Lima. His well-rounded attack has made him one of the most lethal fighters in all the Welterweight division — regardless of promotion — and is looking to up his stock and name value with one more exciting offering. Standing in his way is a man who wants his turn at the spotlight as the No. 2 ranked fighter eyes his first taste of MMA gold. After stumbling out of the gates with a loss in his Bellator debut, Jackson has gone on to rack up six straight wins. And his resume of late has been impressive to say the least, defeating the likes of Jordan Mein, Paul Daley, Benson Henderson, Neiman Gracie and the aforementioned Douglas Lima. But Amosov is an entirely different beast that has shown no weaknesses thus far. It’s going to have to take a perfect gameplan to take him out, and I just don’t see “The Ass-Kicking Machine” being the one to do it.
Prediction: Amosov via unanimous decision
135 lbs.: Champion Sergio Pettis vs. interim champion Patchy Mix
Both Sergio Pettis and Patchy Mix inked long-term deals with Bellator MMA this past summer ahead of their title unification match, so it makes you wonder if all those rumors of the promotion folding after this weekend are just that…rumors. Pettis was last seen defeating current Featherweight champion, Patricio Pitbull, at Bellator 297 in June via unanimous decision (recap here) to earn his second title defense. “The Phenom” is on six-fight win streak and with a perfect 5-0 record inside the Bellator cage, proving that making the jump over from UFC was the right call for his career. Mix, meanwhile, won the interim strap by defeating Raufeon Stots via flying knee knockout at Bellator 295 in the Bantamweight World Grand Prix finale. Like Pettis, he is also on a five-fight win streak inside the Bellator cage and now looks to become the undisputed champion by taking out “The Phenom.” This promises to be a back-and-forth matchup between two men who know nothing else that to go full speed ahead. Pettis has the slight striking advantage but if Mix takes it to the ground his chances of getting the “W” increase drastically. That’s because of his 18 wins 12 of them have come by way of submission. This is a tough one to call, but Mix has his work cut out for him here.
Prediction: Pettis via unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Patricky Pitbull vs. Alexander Shabliy Lightweight Grand Prix bout
Usman Nurmagomedov was recently suspended six months and fined by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) after testing positive for a banned substance following his win over Brent Primus in a Lightweight Grand Prix bout. Now that he is out of the tournament, it makes the path to the $1 million prize a tad bit easier for everyone else involved because Nurmagomedov has yet to taste defeat or show any resemblance of a glaring weakness inside the cage. For now, all Pitbull and Shabliy can do is try to take care of business on their end and then wait to see who they will face in the championship fight. Pitbull lost the 155-pound belt to Nurmagomedov at Bellator 288 but bounced back nicely with a knockout win over Roberto de Souza at “Bellator MMA x Rizin 2” to make it to the next round. As for Shabliy, he made an emphatic statement in the quarterfinals by knocking out Tofiq Musayev to improve his win streak to eight in a row. And he will continue that streak because I just don’t think Pitbull has it in him to end his run. The bruising Brazilian has been inconsistent over the past few years and seems to have lost a step or three, going just 2-3 since Dec. 19. It won’t be a walk in the park, but Shabliy will do enough to get the nod on the judges scorecard to punch his ticket to the big-money final.
Prediction: Shabliy via unanimous decision
155 lbs.: A.J. McKee vs. Sidney Outlaw Lightweight Grand Prix alternate bout
McKee was supposed to face Pitbull in the opening round of the Lightweight Grand Prix before a nasty staph infection forced him out of the fight. But given Nurmagomedov’s recent drug test failure, he could have a chance to step back into the tournament. For now, “The Mercenary” has a tough task on his plate against Outlaw, who is coming off a unanimous decision win over Islam Mamedov at Bellator 298. Outlaw is also looking for an emphatic win to get back into the tournament himself after he was bounced prior to his quarterfinal bout against Mansour Barnaoui. He is 3-1 in his last four fights, but McKee will prove to be his toughest test to date. That’s because McKee has a well-rounded skillset that earned him the Featherweight title once upon a time. He has six wins by knockout, seven via submission and seven by decision. He is as dangerous on the ground as he is on his feet, and has shown that he isn’t opposed to grinding out a win, either. Outlaw will have to be on his “A” game and have a near-perfect fight to get out with a victory. In the end, “Mercenary” will prove to be a bit too much for Outlaw.
Prediction: McKee via third-round submission
135 lbs.: Raufeon Stots vs. Danny Sabatello
Stots lost his interim Bantamweight strap to Patchy Mix in the Bantamweight Grand Prix finale, and the $1 million check that went with it. Now, “Supa” will attempt to come back with a vengeance as he takes on a man he knows all-too well. Indeed, Stots and Sabatello had a lot of bad blood prior to their first meeting at Bellator 289. Once fight night rolled around, Stots was able to walk away with a razor-thin split-decision win, which obviously left a bad taste in Sabatello’s mouth. But “The Italian Gangster” has a chance to make things right for himself in the rematch. Following his loss to Stots, Sabatello bounced back with a win over Marcos Breno before he was outclassed by Magomed Magomedov three months later in “The Land of the Rising Sun.” With two losses in three fights Sabatello needs a win in the worst way because another setback will take him down the pecking order at 135 pounds. And that’s just what I see happening here because Stots is a bit more well-versed and will come in highly-confident since he has a win over the brash striker (and talker) in his back pocket.
Prediction: Stots via unanimous decision
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