Five most intriguing bouts at Bellator 138 and UFC Fight Night 69

The world’s two foremost mixed martial arts promotions return this weekend with two rather different offerings.

Bellator MMA
Bellator MMA

One has a title fight in the main event with a supporting cast made up mostly of regional European fighters; the type of card that we were conditioned to expect when Fight Pass was first announced.

The other has what some may call a freak-show fight in its main event with a pretty solid effort rounding out the rest of the card.

Let’s take a look at the 5 most intriguing fights at Bellator 138 and UFC Fight Night 69.

5. Mairbeck Taisumov vs. Alan Patrick – UFC Fight Night 69
Taisumov is another destroyer out of Russia, this time from Chechnya. He is a violent finisher with heavy hands for the division. Patrick is an undefeated striker with two wins to open his UFC career. Expect this fight to be contested mostly on the feet with lots of offense being thrown.

4. Michael Chandler vs. Derek Campos – Bellator 138
The former Bellator lightweight champion returns to action in St. Louis on Friday night. Chandler comes in riding a three fight losing streak, and while two of those were contentious split decision losses, he was clearly finished in his last bout. Once the face of the promotion, Chandler badly needs a win here to turn his career around. Always rather hittable, he has taken his fair share of damage in his career. If he is able to shore up his defensive holes and earn a win against the durable Campos, Chandler could begin his rise back to the top of the division.

3. Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock – Bellator 138
Slice is 41 years old and has not competed in an MMA fight in 5 years. Shamrock is 51 years old, (51 years old!), and has not competed in an MMA fight in roughly 5 years. Yet somehow, this fight is still oddly compelling. These are two polarizing figures that have a place in the history of mixed martial arts. They also have a bit of history together. Combine the two and for some reason, you just have to watch. It may not be much of anything, but it will certainly be something.

2. Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Jessica Penne – UFC Fight Night 69
Jedrzejczyk has done her best to break out from the pack, both inside and outside the octagon. She looks to continue her momentum by defending her title for the first time against Jessica Penne. Penne may not be the most worthy challenger, but it is not as if she comes without any merit. The former Invicta atomweight champion may be a little small for the division but is skilled and technical enough to hang with the women in the UFC’s strawweight division. One has to wonder if the size of Jedrzejczyk will actually give Penne fits, especially up against the cage. The striking, clinch work and dirty boxing of the champion will dictate this fight.

1. Patricio Freire vs. Daniel Weichel – Bellator 138
Two of the most underappreciated fighters on the Bellator roster compete for the featherweight crown on Friday night. Weichel is a well-traveled veteran of the sport who, at age 30, has amassed over 40 fights on his record. He has won 12 of 13 and 7 straight. Originally, Georgi Karakhanyan was supposed to get the title shot but after a torn ACL, Weichel was awarded the bout. However, many argued that Weichel should have been offered the fight in the first place having won the Season 10 tournament and most recently beating former champion Pat Curran. Weichel is good everyone but it is unclear what his path to victory over Pitbull might be. The champ will likely look to keep the fight standing, using his elite MMA-boxing skillset to dictate the pace of the fight. On a night where many eyes will be on the oddity that is the main event, let’s hope these two do enough to stand out from the pack.