Bellator 229: Koreshkov vs. Larkin

Preview and Predictions for Bellator 229: Koreshkov vs. Larkin by Danny Rourke and Darell Garner 
Bellator MMA is back in Temecula, California this Friday for Bellator 229: Koreshkov vs. Larkin LIVE from the Pechango Resort and Casino. Action starts with:
   Prelims         DAZN                                       8PM/ET   Main Card    Paramount Network/DAZN       9PM/ET 
Bellator 229 Main Card Predictions 
Keri Taylor Melendez (-300) vs. Mandy Polk (+250)
In a 118-pound contract bout, Keri Taylor Melendez (3-0-0) hopes to stay undefeated against newcomer Mandy “Missdemeanor” Polk (6-4-0). After losing to Mackenzie Dern via First Round Submission two years fighting for LFA, Mandy Polk has won three straight with all three wins coming  by way of First Round Submission (Two Armbars, One RNC).  Polk will be making her promotional debut against Keri Melendez, who has won her first three bouts inside the Bellator cage, and has been quickly carving out a name for herself. Melendez, the wife of UFC/Strikeforce veteran and commentator Gilbert Melendez, is 3-0 when fighting in California and is coming off of a Split Decision win over Dakota Zimmerman  last year at Bellator 206. Melendez, with finishes against Sheila Padilla (TKO) and Tiana Valle (Submission) has proven her versatility and can’t be too far away from competing for a belt if she can continue her winning ways. With both Polk and Melendez capable of finishing their opponents, I expect both of these ladies to get after it in what should be a competitive and entertaining contest. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Melendez via Decision 
D’Bo’s Pick: Melendez via Decision 
Joe Shilling (+140) vs. Tony Johnson (-160)
Kickboxing star Joe “Stitch’em Up” Shilling (4-5-0) will have the support of the home crowd as he looks to stay hot against newcomer Tony Johnson (8-2-0) in a Middleweight matchup. After deciding to focus solely on MMA, Joe Shilling has put together back to back wins against Will Morris and Keith Berry. Tony Johnson makes his Bellator debut on a four fight winning streak and is coming off of a Unanimous Decision victory over Alton Cunningham in June on Season Three of Dana White’s Contender Series. Johnson has a 50% finish rate in his eight professional wins and has never been knocked out. I’m going to take Tony Johnson to grind out the Decision win. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Johnson via Decision 
D’Bo’s Pick: Shilling via Decision 
Saad Awad (+265) vs. Goiti Yamauchi (-350)
Saad “The Assasin” Awad (23-11-0) meets Goiti Yamauchi (23-4-0) in a battle between two Bellator Lightweight veterans. With a Split Decision win in his last fight over Daniel Weichel at Bellator 210, Goiti Yamauchi has won four of his last five, and has compiled an impressive 9-3 record since joining the promotion’s toughest division in 2013. Saad Awad has signed a new contract to stay fighting with Bellator. That’s a good thing. The bad thing is that after winning four in a row, Awad is coming off back to Decision losses to Lightweight contenders Benson Henderson and Brandon Girtz in March.  The sledding doesn’t get much easier against Yamauchi, who has eighteen submissions under his belt and fought former Champion Michael Chandler last January. I think the decked is stacked against Awad in this matchup, as Yamauchi eventually finds a fight ending submission. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Yamauchi via Decision 
D’Bo’s Pick: Yamauchi via Third Round Submission 
MAIN EVENT 
Andrey Koreshkov (-175) vs. Lorenz Larkin (+155)
Andrey “Spartan” Koreshkov (22-3-0) hopes to continue building momentum towards another title run as he takes on Lorenz “Da Monsoon” Larkin (20-7-0) in a battle between two devastating Welterweight strikers in the Bellator 229 Main Event. Former Welterweight Champion Andrey Koreshkov returns to the same arena in which he defeated Mike Jasper at Bellator 219 in March by Unanimous Decision. The win over Jasper wasn’t the flashiest victory of Koreshkov’s career, but it was an important victory as it got the Spartan back on the winning track after losing to Douglas Lima by Submission in the Opening Round of the Welterweight Grand Prix. With two of his losses coming against Lima, arguably a Top 10 P4P Fighter  regardless of promotion, with a win over Larkin, Koreshkov will remain relevant and in title contention as the Grand Prix concludes later this month when Lima meets Rory MacDonald in a rematch for the Welterweight title. Lorenz Larkin’s Bellator career got off to a rocky start with consecutive losses to veterans Douglas Lima and Paul Daley, but Larkin has begun to turn things around with Decision wins over Ion Pascu and Fernando Gonzalez. While Koreshkov is a step up in competition, Larkin has wins over the likes of Robbie Lawler, Neil Magny, and Jorge Masvidal and is capable of changing the course of a fight in moment’s notice. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Koreshkov via First Round TKO
D’Bo’s Pick: Koreshkov via Second Round TKO
Next week,  Bellator travels to Milan, Italy 🇮🇹 for a duel Bellator Kickboxing/MMA Event. Manhoef vs. Bahati headlines the MMA portion of Bellator Milan and later, Carvalho vs. Nemkov  headlines Bellator 230, which will air Saturday October 12 on the Paramount Network. Share your thoughts and predictions with us in the Comments section below, and enjoy the fights!

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