While fans recover from last weekends MMA hangover with Bellator 138, the Viacom owned promotion is back this Friday with an action packed event for Bellator 139. With fighters like Cheick Kongo, David Rickels and Joe Shilling, this card has no shortage of name value. Here are five reasons to tune into Bellator 139 on Friday night. Fighting for Redemption A pair of heavyweight fighters look to get back to their winning ways in the main event as UFC veteran Cheick Kongo battles former Bellator heavyweight champion Alexander “Drago” Volkov. Kongo (22-10-2) is coming off a loss to King Mo at Bellator 134, where he struggled with the former Strikeforce champions’ wrestling in the three round affair. Volkov (24-5) is coming off a surprising defeat to Tony Johnston, where he was on the wrong side of a split decision at Bellator 136. Expect both fighters to come out with a sense of urgency in this fight, as they look to erase the memories of their last performances. The talent pool at heavyweight is very thin, so don’t be surprised if an impressive win for either fighter lands them a title shot in their next outing. With 29 career knockouts between the two of them, this contest shouldn’t head to the judges scorecards. Next in Line? “The Caveman” David Rickels returns to the Bellator cage to take on former UFC fighter John Alessio, in a matchup that could determine who faces lightweight champion Will Brooks next. Rickels (16-3) has gone 2-1 since his his championship loss to Michael Chandler and will be looking for his first two fight win streak since 2013. Alessio (35-17) snapped a three fight losing streak when he defeated Eric Wisley by unanimous decision last May at Bellator 119 in Canada. While Rickels is the younger fighter, Alessio has the clear edge in experiencing having 52-career bouts compared to Rickels’ 19. It’s possible we could see a jiu-jitsu clinic as both fighters hold a combined 21-career submission victories between the two of them. With a potential title shot at stake, this could end up taking ‘Fight of the Night” honors. Must Win Situation Former Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran is dire need of a victory as he battles late replacement Emmanuel Sanchez. Curran (20-7) has lost three of his last four bouts and while three of those were in championship matchups, he needs to emerge victorious to stay relevent. The 27-year old aims to find the form that saw him win six straight fights from 2011-2013, when he battles his 24-year old adversary. Sanchez (10-1) is a late replacement for the injured Goiti Yamauchi and will be looking for his seventh straight win. While he’s won two straight fights in Bellator, Curran marks a huge step up in competition for the RFA veteran. However should the rising prospect earn a win over a former champion in Curran, it could propel him into a contenders spot in the featherweight division. Schilling Returns Glory kickboxing star Joe Shilling looks to bounce back from his first loss in Bellator as he battles Japanese foe Hisaki Kato. Schilling (2-4) is coming off a split decision loss to Rafael Carvalho at Bellator 136, where he struggled with the Brazilians takedowns throughout the middleweight contest. Kato (4-1) is making his promotional debut and had his three fight win streak snapped last month at Heat 35, losing by knockout to Henrique Shigemoto. The 31-year old American is one of the most exciting fighters on the Bellator roster and if he can keep this fight standing, fans will get to witness another highlight reel knockout by the California native. Prospect Watch On the preliminary portion of the card, Bubba Jenkins battles Titan FC veteran Joe Wilk. The 27-year old Jenkins had his four fight win streak snapped by Georgi Karakhanyan, who defeated the American by first round submission at Bellator 132. Wilk (18-10) has gone 1-4 in his last five fights and is coming off a loss to Ricky Musgrave at Bellator 130 this past October. Make no mistake about it, this is Jenkins’ fight to lose and if he can live up to his nickname “The Highlight Kid” he could launch himself back up Bellator’s featherweight division. If the Empire Training Center product wants to be successful he’ll need to keep this fight on the feet, as Wilk boasts 15 submission victories in 28 career bouts. Considering these fighters have gone the distance a combined three times in their career, fans can expect a finish in this featherweight affair. Here’s the full Bellator 138 lineup Main Card Cheick Kongo (22-10-2) vs. Alexander Volkov (24-5) David Rickels (16-3) vs. John Alessio (35-17, 1NC) Pat Curran (20-7) vs. Emmanuel Sanchez (10-1) Joe Schilling (2-4) vs. Hisaki Kato (4-1) Preliminary Card Bubba Jenkins (8-2) vs. Joe Wilk (18-10) Jeimeson Saudino (8-4) vs. Aaron Ely (4-2) Bobby Cooper (12-5) vs. Pablo Villaseca (9-0) Daniel Gallemore (4-2) vs. Augusto Sakai (7-0) Iony Razafiarison (2-0) vs. Bryanna Fissori (1-0) Alex Huddleston (5-1) vs. Javy Ayala (8-3) Greg Scott (3-3) vs. Gaston Reyno (3-0) Derek Bohi (5-4) vs. Frederick Brown (2-1) Marcio Navarro (13-11) vs. Cody Carrillo (8-11)
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