Bellator 274 Preview

Bellator’s second event of 2022 is headlined by their first ever non-title/non-tournament five-round main event between former Welterweight title challenger Neiman Gracie and standout collegiate wrestler Logan Storley. A former Bellator Welterweight champion, a UFC veteran, and a former WSOF Featherweight champion also highlight the main card.

Neiman Gracie vs. Logan Storley

Entering his twelfth bout with the Bellator promotion this Saturday, Neiman Gracie looks to put together another win streak in an effort to put himself in line for a second chance at the Bellator Welterweight title. With his family lineage, it should come as no surprise that Gracie currently has the second most submission victories in Bellator with seven and most in the Welterweight division at six. He holds notable submissions over the likes of former UFC and Bellator Welterweight title challenger and former WSOF Welterweight Champion Jon Fitch, former NCAA Division I Wrestling Champion Ed Ruth, and The Ultimate Fighter season 13 veteran Javier Torres. Despite his submission grappling credentials, it was actually Gracie’s striking that got him his most recent victory over Mark Lemminger in September at Bellator 266. Utilizing a well-timed uppercut and flurry of punches against the cage, Gracie achieved his first career victory by way of strikes and showed that at 33 years of age, he is still developing his overall MMA game. In his bout with Storley, Gracie may look to utilize his improving striking, but will undoubtedly oblige a grappling match if Storley attempts a takedown.

Former NCAA Division I All-American wrestler Logan Storley has demonstrated to be a top contender in the Welterweight division. In his four and half years with Bellator, Storley has racked up a 7-1 record in the promotion, with the lone loss being a split decision to current Bellator Welterweight champion Yaroslav Amosov. In his Bellator run, Storley has secured victories over the likes of current UFC Middleweight Joaquin Buckley, The Ultimate Fighter season 16 veteran Matt Secor, and Bellator Fight Master veteran A.J. Matthews.  Like Gracie, Storley will be looking to put together another win streak, having taken a narrow decision over Dante Schiro his last time out. Storley almost exclusively looks to attain top position in his fights, however, against a fighter with the submission capabilities that Gracie possesses, he may look to alter his usual strategy. Look for Storley to initially test the striking realm for any success. Should he find himself on the wrong end of a striking battle, Storley will look to get top position and thwart the submission offense from Gracie for the duration of the bout.

Andrey Koreshkov vs. Chance Rencountre

Former Bellator Welterweight Champion Andrey Koreshkov looks to extend his winning streak to three when he faces Chance Rencountre on Saturday. A staple of Bellator for almost a decade, Koreshkov has put together a 14-4 record with the promotion including seven victories by way of strikes. Koreshkov’s resume includes victories over the likes of former Bellator Welterweight Champion Douglas Lima, former UFC and WEC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson, and UFC veterans Derrick Krantz, Lyman Good, Nah-Shon Burrell, Sabah Homasi, and Chidi Njokuani. Renowned in Bellator for his striking prowess and underrated wrestling, it appears that Koreshkov may be looking to improve upon his submission hunting skills as last February he picked up an armbar victory over Adriano Rodrigues in a bout for the AMC promotion. This submission victory was his first in a decade. Perhaps Koreshkov will look to show off this emerging aspect of his game, however, the more likely scenario is that Koreshkov looks to utilize his dynamic striking style against the very short-notice replacement.

A four-fight veteran of the UFC, Chance Rencountre returns to Bellator for the first time since a 2017 split decision victory over fellow UFC veteran Jake Lindsey. He replaces the injured Mukhamed Berkhamov on extremely short-notice. In Rencountre’s UFC run from 2018 to 2019, he went 2-2 with the promotion picking up wins over Kyle Stewart and Ismail Naurdiev. Unfortunately for Rencountre, following a loss to Lyman Good at UFC 244 in 2019, the UFC elected not to renew his contract. Since his UFC run, Rencountre has fought twice for the FAC promotion in Missouri where he picked up a submission victory over Cliff Wright and a second victory over Jake Lindsey, this one via submission. Relatively well-rounded, Rencountre typically does his best work when he is bullying his opponents with his superior size and strength. Having taken this bout with Koreshkov on short-notice, Rencountre will likely look to come out firing on all cylinders to try and get the former Bellator Welterweight champion out of there quickly.

Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Adam Piccolotti

45-fight veteran Georgi Karakhanyan has been around the block. The 36-year-old has competed in numerous notable promotions including Bellator, WSOF, ACB, Legacy FC, Dream, Tachi Palace, BAMMA, and KOTC. Karakhanyan’s tenacity has led to victories over notable fighters such as former WSOF and PFL Featherweight Champion Lance Palmer, NCAA Division I All-American Bubba Jenkins (twice), and UFC veterans Daniel Pineda, Waylon Lowe, and Din Thomas. Since his return to Lightweight, Karakhanyan has gone 3-2 with submission victories over Paul Redmon and Kiefer Crosbie. Against Piccolotti, expect Karakhanyan look to close the distance with his striking in order to enter into a grappling exchange where he will look to latch onto the neck of his opponent. Karakhanyan has a particular penchant for the guillotine choke and has achieved six of his 16 submission victories via the method.

A veteran of Bellator since 2015, Adam Piccolotti will look to maximize his height and reach advantages over Karakhanyan in order to put himself back in the win column. In his seven-year tenure with the organization, Piccolotti has amassed an 8-4 record with the promotion including notable victories over Bellator hallmark Brandon Girtz and The Ultimate Fighter season 21 veteran Carrington Banks. While quite well-rounded, Piccolotti does his best work from top position, eventually working his opponents enough to secure a fight-ending rear naked choke – having notched all six of his submission victories and five of his eight Bellator victories via the method. Look for Piccolotti to utilize his physical advantages in order to attain top position against the smaller Karakhanyan.

Elsewhere on the card, Said Sowma looks to parlay his unexpected win over Vitaly Minakov via a broken finger last October with a victory over Davion Franklin in the main card opener; Canadian prospect Mandel Nallo looks for another highlight victory over Nick Browne; Bellator season 9 Middleweight tournament winner Brennan Ward returns to action after four and half years to face Brandon Bell; submission standout Aviv Gozali takes on the always-tough Bobby King; and UFC/The Ultimate Fighter veterans DeAnna Bennett and Justin Kish do battle.    

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