Patricio “Pitbull” Freire will be taking on Juan Archuleta in the main event for Bellator 228 on Saturday, and I’m intrigued in the fight from a betting perspective. Interestingly, Archuleta will be coming up from bantamweight whereas Patricio will be moving down from lightweight – although Archuleta is the man with a 2-inch height and 3-inch reach advantage.

Another win for Patricio?

After starching Michael Chandler in the very first round, it seems Patricio is in the prime of his career right now. The Brazilian has always possessed devastating knockout power, which is not that common for fighters at the lighter weight classes. Knowing he can end the fight with one strike, he likes to sit down on everything he throws. Because he’s quite flat-footed with a short reach, he does his best work when opponents are standing right in front of him. This might be an issue against an agile fighter like Archuleta.

I’m not sure we’ll see too much grappling from the Brazilian in this one, but he does have good offensive wrestling, a high level ground game and one of the tightest guillotines you’ve ever seen. You can’t relax for a second in the cage with Patricio, because he can end the fight in an instant – both on the feet and on the ground.

Can Archuleta cause the upset?

Juan Archuleta has been progressively fighting better opposition, and he’s up against the test of his career this weekend. Stylistically, I think Archuleta can cause some problems. If you were to think about some of the fighters with the best footwork in MMA, TJ Dillashaw probably comes to mind. The man is a main training partner of Archuleta and has defeated a comparable opponent to Patricio in Renan Barao. I believe the game plan for Archuleta will be to stay in perpetual motion so Patricio is unable to set his feet and throw offense. By staying agile, blitzing in with flurries of punches and threatening with takedowns – this will give Patricio a lot to think about.

Archuleta is a lifelong wrestler, but even if he can’t get the fight to the mat – he can rack up control time against the fence, scoring points with knees and foot stomps. The one place Archuleta doesn’t want to be is in the pocket, swinging bombs.

Who Wins?

Both fighters are brilliant and you can make an argument for either, but the goal is to make long-term profits – not win arguments! While Patricio might be the more potent finisher, I think Archuleta has the better skill set for winning rounds. I feel like Archuleta’s movement and unpredictable attacks will be key to him emerging victorious.

Pick: Juan Archuleta +130

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