The opening bout on the Bellator 102 main card from the Visalia Convention Center in California features a bout in the middleweight tournament semifinal between Joe Pacheco and Brennan Ward. This bout is a classic striker versus grappler and is sure to be a fun one. These two men have a total of 11 finishes in their 13 wins and this fight will hopefully end with a bang or a tap. So let’s get into my breakdown for this fight.
Joe Pacheco is mostly known as a submission grappler, with four of his six wins coming by way of submission. He has shown some decent striking in the past, knocking out Kyle Bolt back in February with elbows. Let’s be honest here, Pacheco isn’t going to want to stand long with Ward seeing as Ward’s one defeat comes by way of submission.
Brennan Ward is a scary dude on the feet, he has five of his seven wins coming by way of knockout including his last fight which ended Justin Torrey’s tournament run by way of TKO. Ward has shown he has the power to finish fights, but the question is whether or not he will be able to keep the fight standing.
Verdict: Edge goes to Ward.
Pacheco knows where his bread and butter is, and that’s on the mat. With four of his six wins coming by submission including his most recent key-lock victory over Pierry Pierre at Bellator 93, he’s going to want to get the fight down as fast as he can. He has shown that he is well versed in all areas of submissions with two armbars, a key-lock, and a rear naked choke in his submission column.
Ward is by no means an expert submission artist, though he did finish Yair Moguel by way of rear naked choke at Bellator 91, he’s probably not going to finish Pacheco in the same manner. His sole defeat has come by way of armbar at the hands of Aaron Johnson, so he’s going to want to keep the fight standing to avoid the same outcome.
Verdict: Edge Pacheco.
Pacheco is a great submission artist and on top of this he seems to find a way to get the fights to the mat in a quick manner, but will he be able to do so against the striker in Ward? We’ll have to find out Friday night!
Ward is by no means a bad grappler, he is a phenomenal wrestler he was an NCAA All American Wrestler and a Division III National Champion Runner Up while competing for Johnson and Wales University. This equates to great takedown defense and the ability to keep the fight standing.
Verdict: Edge Ward
This is a close matchup, both men have similar records and have been in Bellator for a similar amount of time; so this could be a close fight. With the little information available to us my pick is going to be Ward, he’s a great wrestler and has power everywhere, in his striking, and takedowns. I think he will get the knockout here and send Pacheco packing from the tournament.
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