By Rob Francis
November is a busy month for combat sports in the St Louis area, and it is starting off with a bang. Bellator MMA returns to St Louis on Friday November 6th with Vengeance. Bellator is the second largest MMA promotion in the country, and they are making their second trip to the Scottrade Center in 2015.
The event is headlined by two world championship fights. The main event sees Daniel Straus challenging Patricio Pitbull Freire for the featherweight title for the second time this year. The two fighters met in January with Freire winning by rear naked choke in the fourth round. Both fighters competed on Bellator 138 here in June. Straus submitted Henry Corrales, while Pitbull defended his title with a thrilling come from behind knockout of Daniel Weichel. Pitbull also holds a decision victory over Straus from 2011, and is looking to move on to new challengers, while Daniel hopes the third time is the charm.
Will Brooks defends his lightweight title against Marcin Held in the co-main event. Brooks is on a seven fight winning streak, including two championship victories against Michael Chandler in 2014. Held has an impressive eleven wins by submission in his career, and is on a six fight winning streak.
Three fighters with local ties will be competing on the main card. Justin Lawrence from Pacific Missouri has a place on the main card against Emmanuel Sanchez. Lawrence looked impressive in his Bellator debut in June, knocking out Sean Wilson in the first round. The win was his fourth in a row. Originally Lawrence was scheduled to face perennial title contender Pat Curran, but a knee injury forced Curran from the bout. Sanchez is a tough Bellator veteran whose only loss in over two years was against the aforementioned Curran.
Northwest High School alum and former world champion Michael Chandler, has a rematch against David Rickels. Chandler has a knockout victory over Rickels in 2013. Since then, Chandler has lost to Eddie Alvarez and Will Brooks, but he bounced back in spectacular fashion against Derek Campos the last time Bellator was in town. Rickels known as the Caveman is known for his elaborate entrances as much as for his fighting ability. Rickels is 2-1-1 since his first fight against Chandler. There is a lot riding on this fight for both competitors, a win for Chandler can put him right back in the title picture.
Bobby Lashley has not lost a fight since May 2012 . His opponent for that fight, James Thompson. Lashley is 6-0 since that fight, but has been waiting to avenge his loss. The two were scheduled for a rematch at Bellator 134 and at Bellator 138, but injuries scrapped the bout both times. Thompson is a huge 6’5” veteran who has fought all around the world, but has only fought twice since his victory over Lashley winning both times. Lashley won his match at Bellator 138 in St Louis over Dan Charles by tko. Another win in St Louis moves him one step closer to a title shot.
The preliminary fights on Bellator 138 contain an impressive mix of local talent. Getting a fight on the prelims can be a great springboard up the MMA ladder. Justin Lawrence turned a prelim fight his last time out into a televised fight this time.
Hugh Pulley and Steve Mann both competed on the last Bellator card in St Louis. Pulley won a close decision against Eric Irvin, while Mann lost his bout by submission. The two will face each other in what should be an exciting fight.
Jordan Dowdy verses Adam Meredith could main event any other show in town. Both fighters are mentioned when you talk about the best fighters in St Louis. Dowdy has won all three of his fights this year, including his first two as a professional. Meredith has won both of his fights this year and stands at 4-1. This fight has the potential to be fight of the night, and you could definitely see these two facing each other again higher up the card.
After a stellar amateur career Brandon Lowe will make his pro debut against Rashard Lovelace. Lovelace made his pro debut with a ko victory the last time Bellator was in town. Luke Nelson will look to use his impressive striking against Garret Gross who has good wrestling. Adam Cella looks to rebound against Chel Erwin-Davis. Kain Royer, who splits time between fighting, coaching and being a matchmaker faces off with the very tough Clay Mitchell. Two undefeated fighters Garrett Mueller and Scott Ettling will face each other. Finishing off the card is a bout between Alex Huddleston and Augusto Sakai.
Fight card: Subject to change
Featherweight Title: Patricio Freire (24-2) vs Daniel Straus (23-6)
Lightweight Title: Will Brooks (16-1) vs Marcin Held (21-3)
Emmanuel Sanchez (11-2) vs Justin Lawrence (7-2)
Michael Chandler (13-3) vs David Rickels (16-3, 1 NC)
Bobby Lashley (13-2) vs James Thompson (20-14, 1 NC)
Alex Huddleston (6-1) vs Augusto Sakai (8-0)
Garrett Mueller (2-0) vs Scott Ettling (3-0)
Kain Royer (1-2) vs Clay Mitchell (1-0)
Adam Cella (6-4) vs Chel Erwin-Davis (2-1)
Steve Mann (11-2) vs Hugh Pulley (5-2)
Garrett Gross (6-4) vs Luke Nelson (2-1)
Adam Meredith (4-1) vs Jordan Dowdy (2-0)
Brandon Lowe (0-0) vs Rashad Lovelace (1-0)
Bellator 145: Vengeance will air 11/6 on Spike at 8 p.m. with preliminary bouts streaming on Spike.com at 6 p.m. ET
For more MMA coverage, tune in to FACT: We’re Talking MMA via the Spreaker App every Thursday at 9pm. You can also find us on Facebook.