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Teixeira Injured; Corrales to Face Pitbull at Bellator 153?

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When it comes to finding replacements for injured fighters, Bellator MMA is usually on the ball.

Saturday afternoon former featherweight champion Patricio Freire tweeted that Henry Corrales would replace John Teixeira da Conceicao at Bellator 153 due to a rib injury:

“Thank you [Henry Corrales] for stepping up,” Freire tweeted. “Much respect. Everyone was saying no but you. I know you’ll come to war, and I welcome the challenge…That said, I”m a man on a mission,” Freire went on to write. “When the cage door is closed nothing is going to stop me.””

Teixeira’s injury was just reported on Friday. How is that for quick? It was so fast that no Bellator officials have yet been available to confirm the change in opponent. Bellator, like many major promotions, prefers to break news such as this within their own time table. Most fighter know who they will fight long before they are allowed to announce it to the public. So, while is hasn’t been confirmed by Scott Coker and company, it appears that Freire may have let the cat out of the bag a little early on this one.

Freire spoke to MMAFighting.com’s Guilherme Cruz about how he questions the legitimacy of Teixeira’s injury:

“I know he’s a tough fighter and won’t run away from a fight, but there are a lot of fighters pulling out of fights recently and I don’t know the reason why, if it’s because of injuries or if the fight is too tough,” Freire openly said. “But I have my doubts if he’s really hurt. I’m that type of guy that needs to see to believe. Last night he posted a picture of him training and this morning I get a text saying that he was out with a rib injury.”

Before coming to Bellator, Corrales’ stock was white hot as he started his career with 12 wins in a row and captured both the King of The Cage Featherweight and Bantamweight title. However, upon arriving to the promotion he has suffered back-to-back losses to Emmanuel Sanchez and the now Featherweight Champion Daniel Straus in his only two Bellator appearances.

Now he that he is potentially slated to mix it up with the “Pitbull” it doesn’t look like the brass at Bellator is taking it any easier on him. This is Freire first fight since losing the title to Straus and with a record of 24-3, he has never suffered two defeats in a row. Before losing the belt he was on a seven-fight win streak that included two title defenses. Only Pat Curran, Joe Warren and Daniel Straus have defeated him. A win in this fight for Corrales would immediately put him back in the title contender talk and make a lot of people forget about those two losses. I would not say that it is a no loss situation for him but it is pretty close to it.

As with anything in the fight game, nothing is set in stone until the fighters are walking to the cage. Even then something that seems out of the realm of possibility can happen (just google fan man). If Freire’s new opponent turns out not to be not Corrales, there is another fighter that Freire mentioned he would be keen on fighting and that is Lightweight Champion Will Brooks.

For those of you that follow the “Pitbull” Brothers on Twitter, you know that there is certainly no love loss between the Brazilians and the current 155 lb Champion. If you are a skeptic that may think all of those posts are just a fabricated twitter beef designed to move the needle on social media just ask any fighter on the Bellator roster and they will tell you that their dislike for one another is absolutely genuine. Just last week Bellator Lightweight Derek Campos laughed when I mentioned it to him before interviewing him ahead of his April 16th fight against Patricio’s older brother Patricky. Campos said “oh, they hate Will Brooks,” and anyone within ear shot will hear about it “every time they are in the same room” as the Champion.

That animosity would certainly make for fireworks inside the cage, not mention a very entertaining stare down at the weigh-ins. It would make sense for Bellator to give a fight like that the promotion it deserves and that would be hard to do in less than two weeks. On the other hand if it would ever make sense for a champion to step in on such short notice, this would be the time. Brooks hasn’t fought since defeating Marcin Held in November and Freire is certainly on board with that match up even if it would be at or outside of a catch weight and for or not for the title.

Per MMAFighting.com:

“I think a fight with Will Brooks would be nice…he doesn’t have a fight, is asking for one, and I would fight him. I would love to slap him.” Freire continued “He’s a tough guy, but his style is boring…I’m the worst fight possible for him. I’m faster, I move better. He wouldn’t be able to take me down and I would beat him up a lot. He’d get hurt a lot in this fight.”

Bellator 153 goes down April 22nd at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The main event features Welterweight Champion Andrey Koreshkov defending his title against former WEC and UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson who is making his Bellator Debut. The main card airs on Spike TV at 9 PM EST.

Interesting side note: Want to impress your friends and make them think you are more in the know than the announcers who are constantly referring to the “Putbull” Brothers by their nickname? Casually mention that the name “Freire” is actually pronounced “Fryer.” No need to thank me for that information, but I do accept gratuities in the form of hard currency and/or cold beer.

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Watch: Bellator 185 Prelims

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Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Complete Bellator 185: Mousasi vs. Shlemenko Fight Card:

Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)

Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)

Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)

Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)

Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)

Preliminary Card:

Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)

Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)

Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)

Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)

Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)

150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)

150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)

Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)

Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez

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*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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Bellator 185 Fight to Watch: Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams

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Heather Hardy will compete in MMA for the second time at Bellator 185 on Friday night, as she faces Kristina Williams in a strawweight contest. The fight takes place on the main card at the Mohican Sun Arena in Connecticut.

Potentially, what Bellator have in Heather ‘The Heat’ Hardy is a major draw that they can build their 125 pound division around. While relatively new to the organisation she is fast becoming one of the more popular names on the roster. Her career is in the early stages, but many have already started to draw comparisons with former boxer turned MMA star, Holly Holm. Holm’s UFC success partly inspired the native New Yorker to make the switch from boxing.

Hardy is already an established world champion in the land of the ‘sweet science’, holding a 21 fight undefeated professional record. She made her MMA debut in June this year with a victory over Alice Yauger, at Bellator 180. At 35, Hardy is a late starter in the sport, but proved at Madison Square Garden against the credible Yauger that she has a bright future.

Hardy’s first outing in the cage was disciplined and composed. Despite a slow start in round one, Hardy grew in confidence as the fight progressed and her cardio never faltered. She mixed in plenty of kicks that complimented her boxing and looked at ease in the clinch, even defending a couple of takedown attempts in the process.

Despite looking on course for a decision win, Hardy forced the TKO stoppage with just thirteen seconds remaining in round three. Even a large cut that required seven stitches from an accidental head clash could not deny her victory.

Hardy was fighting an experienced professional, competing for the tenth time in MMA, which makes the win over Yauger more impressive. However, her upcoming opponent Kristina Williams will be making her professional debut.

There is little known about Williams except that she is 3-0 at amateur level. One of those wins came by way of submission so there may well be a threat to Hardy if the fight goes to the ground. More importantly for Williams is how she copes on the big stage against a popular opponent, who is more familiar competing in high pressure combat situations. If Williams can produce an upset it will be a huge boost in her young career.

But in all honesty, this fight is about Hardy. It’s about getting the win and gaining valuable experience. The boxing career is on hold while MMA takes centre stage. Beating Williams will mean she likely continues fighting inside a cage rather than a boxing ring.

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