Bellator MMA returns to action in January with Bellator 132 going down live Friday, January 16th from Temecula, CA’s Pechenga Resort and Casino. The main event sees Patricio “Pitbull” Freire defend his Bellator featherweight title for the first time against former champion Daniel Straus, a man he beat at Bellator 45 back in 2011. Straus, who won the title from then lost it back to Pat Curran, is looking at another crack at gold, while the younger Pitbull brother is looking to take a solid lead in what has been, essentially, a three-horse race in Bellator’s featherweight division over the last couple of years.

In addition to this hotly anticipated title bout, Bellator has a rematch of last year’s Houston Alexander vs. Virgil Zwicker draw on tap, and another appearance by hot prospect Bubba Jenkins as well, who may be the next big thing in their featherweight division.

Houston Alexander vs. Virgil Zwicker

When last they met, light heavyweights Houston Alexander (16–10–1 (2)) and Virgil Zwicker (12–4–1) fought to a draw at Bellator 129 in October 2014. At age 42 and not getting any younger, Alexander’s time left in the sport is limited, but he’s still an intimidating foe who can put lesser opponents to sleep. While he most definitely hit his ceiling in the UFC, he has done relatively well in Bellator thus far, losing to the Janitor, Vladimir Matyushenko, but winning against Matt Uhde and fighting to a draw with Zwicker — a fight in which Alexander was penalized for holding his opponent’s shorts.

Given the lost point made all the difference, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Alexander pull off the win this time out.

Prediction: Alexander by Unanimous Decision

 

Fernando Gonzalez vs. Marius Zaromskis

Marius Zaromskis (20–8 (1)) was actually the inaugural Dream welterweight champion, and has made stops in Cage Rage and Strikeforce throughout his career. The Lithuanian kickboxing and karate practitioner last entered the cage at Bellator 119 in May, winning a unanimous decision over Vaughn Anderson. Prior to that, he’d lost two straight under the Bellator banner.

Having a slightly better run of late, Fernando Gonzalez (22–13) has won two straight over Karo Parisyan and Karl Amoussou. He’s coming off a short suspension for THC, but that shouldn’t be a factor here. He’s on a bit more of a roll right now than Zaromskis, and look for him to take this one.

Prediction: Gonzalez by Unanimous Decision 

 

Bubba Jenkins vs. Georgi Karakhanyan

The co-main event for Bellator 132 features what may be their featherweight of the future, Bubba Jenkins, taking on former WSOF title holder Georgi Karakhanyan in what very well could be Jenkin’s breakout moment. The college wrestling star (an NCAA champion) is 8-1 as a pro, and has won five of six in Bellator. Dispatching a former champ from a rival promotion would be a nice feather in his cap, and you can expect him to be highly motivated for the bout.

Karakhanyan (23–4–1), meanwhile, is coming in straight off the loss of his WSOF title back at WSOF 10 in July to Rick Glenn. If there’s to be an upset on the Bellator 132 card, this could very well be it — Karakhanyan has a wealth of experience and has been in the game far longer than Jenkins. That said, these are two fighters at very different places in their respective careers, and while Jenkins is clearly on the way up, Karakhanyan may be on the downside of his.

Prediction: Jenkins by TKO, round two

 

Patricio Freire vs. Daniel Straus

Bellator’s featherweight championship is on the line in the main event of Bellator 132, and it’s Patricio Pitbull (22–2) defending against former champ Daniel Straus. It’s the first title defence for Pitbull, who actually defeated Straus the first time the two met back at Bellator 45, winning the promotion’s season four featherweight tournament in the process. After losing to Pat Curran in his first featherweight title shot, Pitbull has been on a tear, beating the best of Bellator’s featherweight division including wins over Diego Nunes and Justin Wilcox before defeating Curran at least in their second meeting.

Straus (23–5), meanwhile, was one-and-done as a champion after defeating Curran at Bellator 106 then dropping the belt right back to him in the immediate rematch that came at Bellator 112. Since then he took out Justin Wilcox at Bellator 127, and is hungry for a second reign as champion.

This is likely to be a fantastic fight, as both Freire and Straus are at the top of the division, and stack up well against just about any fighter inside and outside of the Bellator ranks. Expect fireworks no matter who takes the belt home at the end of the night.

Prediction: Patricio Freire by Unanimous Decision

 

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.