- Date & Location: Friday, May 7 @ Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT
- Odds: Juan Archuleta (-145) vs. Sergio Pettis (+115) via BetOnline
- Prediction: Archuleta via decision
On Friday, Bellator returns to Mohegan Sun Arena for the Bellator 258 fight card. A bantamweight title fight headlines the event. In the headlining contest, Juan Archuleta defends his title against Sergio Pettis.
Archuleta, a former multi-division champion for King of the Cage, joined Bellator in 2018 with a great deal of fanfare. He began his career with the promotion on a 5-0 run. In his sixth fight, he lost to featherweight champion Patricio Freire. That setback ended Archuleta’s 18-fight winning streak. Archuleta bounced back with two wins. His most recent victory came in September 2020 when he scored a decision win over Patchy Mix to claim the Bellator 135-pound title.
Sergio Pettis, who is the younger brother of former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, signed with Bellator as a free agent in late 2019 after he went 9-5 in the UFC. Pettis is 2-0 in Bellator with wins over Alfred Khashakyan and Ricky Bandejas. Pettis is a former NAFC and LFA champion.
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ARCHULETA vs. PETTIS PREDICTION & PICK
With his championship background, it felt as if Bellator would rush Archuleta into a title fight when it signed him in early 2018. It took the promotion a few years to get him a shot at gold, and when he got his chance, he fell short, dropping a decision to Patricio Freire. Archuleta bounced back two fights later and grabbed the vacant bantamweight crown. At 33, Archuleta has 33 pro fights to his name, 12 of those matchups have been title fights. He is experienced, comfortable and confident in this type of fight.
At 27, Pettis has not fought for a title since 2013 and he has only gone the five-round distance once. I don’t think Pettis is being rushed into this fight with Archuleta, but I think his lack of big fight experience will hurt him on Friday.
Prediction: Archuleta -50 via Bovada.
BETTING VALUE WITH ARCHULETA
Archuleta has 11 knockout wins, 13 decision victories, and one submission triumph, and I suspect he will go the distance in this one as well. He could catch Pettis, but the challenger has only been knocked out once in his career and that came in 2015. Archuleta has power, but Pettis is skilled enough to avoid the knockout. I see this one being a drawn-out bout that will go the five full rounds with Archuleta leaving with his title.
Pettis is a live dog, but I’m not sure about how he will look in a five-round scrap. If his cardio is up to par and he can force Archuleta to work hard deep into the championship rounds, Pettis could pull an upset as Archuleta tends to slow late in fights.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
The one thing that separates these two is the big-fight experience. Archuleta has it and Pettis does not. I think that experience will make the biggest difference in this contest. I think Archuleta will win this fight, but I also think the title fight will benefit Pettis in a big way and prepare him for another shot at a Bellator title in the near future.
FIGHT STATS: ARCHULETA vs. PETTIS
|Juan Archuleta||Category||Sergio Pettis|
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Archuleta has said he wants to fight six times a year. He has not been that busy. One thing that could earn him more fights is holding onto the title. As champion, Archuleta should be able to dictate his terms a lot more than if he is just another fighter on the Bellator roster. Now that he has the title, I expect Archuleta wants to hold on to that belt.
A Pettis win won’t be a huge upset according to the odds, but he could spoil Archuleta’s plans in a big way, especially since Archuleta already fell short in his title bid at 145 pounds.
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