Bellator 238 will be the promotion’s first event of the year and its main event features a title fight and debut for Cris “Cyborg” Justino. She will be welcomed to Bellator by current featherweight champion Julia Budd this Saturday and while that is certainly a fight to watch, Bellator is bringing a lot of talent for their first event of 2020. From top to bottom Bellator 238 is stacked but here are six fights to watch that could set a tone for the rest of the year.
1Julia Budd (13-2) vs. Cris “Cyborg” (21-2, 1 NC)
Obviously the main event and a title fight. Cyborg returning to action is new for Bellator but she has fought everywhere and that is likely not an issue for her. However, Budd could be an issue since she is the current champion tasked to welcome one of the most feared women in MMA to the promotion. The only thing Budd stands to lose is her title but if she wins, she would certainly boost her own brand in MMA as well as the reputation of the promotion.
2Darrion Caldwell (14-3) vs. Adam Borics (14-0)
This is a quarterfinal bout in Bellator’s Featherweight Grand Prix and having the former bantamweight champion in Caldwell face the undefeated Borics will not only be categorized as a barn-burner but it could be one of those fights that has a finish in the final round. Borics has faced some tough competition but Caldwell probably feels better at 145 and probably wrestles a little stronger. This one should be interesting.
3Henry Corrales (17-4) vs. Juan Archuleta (23-2)
A more than honorable mention is the fight between Henry Corrales and Juan Archuleta which is sure to be a fight of the year contender and pretty hard to predict. Both men are high output and pretty much throw caution to the wind when they fight so they are sure to add to the highlight reel of Bellator 238.
4Sergio Pettis (18-5) vs. Alfred Khashakyan (11-4)
Another name from the UFC making their debut at Bellator 238, Pettis and his brother made quite a name for themselves but Sergio coming to a promotion away from his brother can give him a chance to shine on his own. Both men are making their Bellator debuts and both coming off of wins with something to prove.
5Aaron Pico (4-3) vs. Daniel Carey (7-3)
Pico’s had a lot of ups and downs in his short career with Bellator and the promotion certainly invested a lot in the world-class wrestler. It’s hard to say that their investment has not paid off since Pico has delivered some spectacular finishes, or been finished himself. If his seven fights have told fans anything is that win or lose, Pico and Carey will likely deliver a highlight reel for Bellator 238.
6Anthony Taylor (5-5) vs. Chris Avila (6-8)
Taylor made his professional debut in Bellator. He actually fought the likes of Borics and James Gallagher before stepping away to sharpen his skills and get back on their roster, if only for one more fight to show how he’s grown. He has some history with Avila too from a backstage event last fall so while there is no real bad-blood, Avila’s losses are mostly decision which means he’s hard to put away. It could be a rough welcome back for Taylor but a great fight for fans to watch.
This card has two former UFC fighters making their debut along with plenty of other fights worth watching. Bellator 238 airs on DAZN Saturday night from The Forum in Inglewood, California and being the first event of 2020 for Bellator, it should come with some announcements for the rest of the year.