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Bellator 272 predictions — Sergio Pettis vs. Kyoji Horiguchi: Fight card, start time, odds, live stream

After winning the Bellator bantamweight championship with a stellar performance against Juan Archuleta in May, Sergio Pettis appeared to have finally reached the potential many saw in him when he made his UFC debut in 2013. Now, in the main event of Bellator 272 on Friday night, Pettis will put his belt on the line against a former champion who never lost his title when he faces Kyoji Horiguchi.

Horiguchi earned the strap at Bellator 222 in June 2019, beating Darrion Caldwell by unanimous decision. That November, Horiguchi was forced to vacate the championship after suffering a knee injury that required surgery. The fight with Caldwell was Horiguchi’s first and only in the Bellator cage to date and a result of the relationship between Bellator MMA and Japanese promotion Rizin, where Horiguchi is now a two-time bantamweight champion.

Horiguchi’s standing as a top bantamweight who has held titles in two different promotions is not lost on Pettis. Pettis told CBS Sports that a win over Horiguchi would clearly raise his position as one of the division’s elite, as well as making a statement about his place at flyweight.

“I think that puts me up there in the conversation about being one of the best in the flyweight division and bantamweight division,” Pettis said. “We were both flyweights. Having a win over Horiguchi would do a lot for me and my career and just personally. I’m here to be one of the best martial artists that I can be. Fighting another great martial artist like Horiguchi and winning against him would mean a lot to me.”

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Since leaving the UFC after a win over Tyson Nam, and with a 9-5 record in the Octagon, Pettis has been perfect in the Bellator cage, rattling off three straight wins including his championship-winning performance against Archuleta.

A win over Horiguchi would be huge for Pettis, but there could be another big fight coming down the road, with some speculation that former Bellator featherweight and lightweight champion Patricio Pitbull could attempt to cut to 135 pounds to make a run at a title in a third division.

It’s a fight Pettis says he’d welcome in his pursuit to establish himself as the best in the world.

“I think he would make that cut,” Pettis said. “I think he’s about the same height as me. Maybe a little bit shorter but he definitely has a wide frame and a big body. If he can make that cut, I’m willing to take any challenge that they put in front of me. I’m never going to say no to a fight. I’m always willing to test my skills against some of the best fighters in the world. Pitbull is one of the best in the world. That would be awesome for my career.”

There’s a few more recognizable names further down the card as well. Veteran Emmanuel Sanchez is back in a featherweight contest against Jeremy Kennedy in the co-feature slot. Sanchez, a two-time title challenger at 145 pounds, is looking to end his year on a high note after struggling in his first two appearances in 2021. Kennedy, meanwhile, is set for his third appearance under the Bellator banner after fighting for both UFC and PFL from 2016 to 2019. He suffered a decision defeat at the hands of Adam Borics in April.

“Jeremy [Kennedy] is great at everything. He is a tough Canuck, man. He brings it and that is what makes this such an exciting fight. It is not like he is looking to just wrestle and control on the ground, or just strike, stand, and bang,” Sanchez said. “It is a little bit of everything. So that makes for an exciting fight, and we’re going to throw down.

“Jeremy brings so much to the table. He is on the top-10 list for a reason. I see a lot of the holes that I can capitalize on. I know how and why I am going to get my hand raised on Friday night.”

Plus, a bantamweight contest between rising contenders gets a featured slot when Josh Hill meets Jared Scoggins. And a middleweight bout opens the main card when rising prospect Johnny Eblen takes on Collin Huckbody. The preliminary card features an interesting name as former UFC fighter Spike Carlyle makes his promotional debut at 160 pounds against Dan Moret. And another former UFC brawler in Kai Kamaka III is back in action when he takes on John de Jesus at featherweight.

Here’s the fight card for Bellator 272 with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook.

Bellator 272 card, odds

Kyoji Horiguchi -170

Sergio Pettis (c) +145

Bantamweight title

Emmanuel Sanchez -195

Jeremy Kennedy +165

Featherweight

Josh Hill -110

Jared Scoggins -105

Bantamweight

Johnny Eblen -1000 Collin Huckbody +650 Middleweight

Bellator 272 viewing information

Date: Dec. 3 | Start time: 10 p.m. ET
Location: Mohegan Sun Arena — Uncasville, Connecticut
TV Channel: Showtime | Stream: Showtime.com and the Showtime app

Prediction

Sergio Pettis vs. Kyoji Horiguchi: Horiguchi is an undeniably talented fighter. He is, however, also a fighter who has had several major knee injuries and is fighting for just the second time since the most recent. Horiguchi returned to action in December 2020 to beat Kai Asakura and avenge a knockout loss suffered in Rizin after winning the Bellator title. That fight came nearly a year ago. Pettis has fought four times in the same stretch where Horiguchi has only had one between his injury and lone December 2020 fight. It doesn’t make a ton of sense that Pettis is the underdog heading in and this seems a prime opportunity for Pettis to pick up a big win in his first title defense. Pick: Sergio Pettis via UD




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