On Friday, March 22nd, Bellator will hold their On Friday, March 29th, Bellator will be live from the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California, for Bellator 219: Awad vs Girtz. The main event of the night is a lightweight battle between Saad Awad and Brandon Girtz. It will headline a 4 fight main card that begins at 9 PM ET and can be seen on both Paramount and DAZN. There’s an 11 fight prelim card that begins at 8 PM ET and can be seen online.
In total, there are 15 fights scheduled for the night. However, only 4 fights have listed odds with MMA betting sites as of this writing: three on the main card and one of the prelim fights. Let’s take a look at these fights, identify any possible betting value, and KO our picks.
Janay Harding (4-4) vs Marina Mokhnatkina (4-1)
- Janay Harding (+280)
- Marina Mokhnatkina (-400)
Marina Mokhnatkina comes into this fight as the “chosen one” considering the promotion went out and signed her so she can one-day fight champion Julia Budd who really has no competition. She’s a former 6-time Russian sambo champ and a two-time European champ. If that wasn’t enough, she’s also a 4 time World Champ. After going 4-0 with four 1st round submission victories, she ended up losing her last fight via Majority Decision. It was a debatable outcome, but she hasn’t fought since that bout 13 months ago.
Janay Harding won her last fight which was in October over Kavanagh. It brought her Bellator record to 1-1. However, Harding has dropped 4 of her last 6 fights and is 0-3 when the fight goes to the judges. However, if she can prevent that from happening, she’s 4-0 with 4 KO/TKOs.
I believe this is Marina Mokhnatkina’s fight to lose. Bellator has set it up nicely in her promotional debut. I’m not sure if she will get the 1st round submission, but she’s going to stop Harday before it goes the distance. This fight is tailor made for Marina to get the win and so the Bellator hype train can get rollin’.
Shane Kruchten (12-4) vs Daniel Straus (24-8)
- Shane Kruchten (+350)
- Daniel Straus (-530)
Shane Krutchen comes into this fight as a big underdog. He last fought 14 months ago and lost via KO in 37 seconds to the rising prospect Aaron Pico. Apparently, the loss really set him back in his personal life as he ended up battling a deep depression in addition to his PTSD from the military:
“I was in a dark spot. I was too much limelight-hungry, if you would. I was all about me, me, me. And the loss pushed me into a dark place with my PTSD I already suffer from, from the military. It pushed me into a deep depression.”
Krutchen has lost two of his last three fights, which snapped an 11 fight win streak. 6 of his 12 professional victories have come via submission.
Daniel Strauss is a huge betting favorite according to Bellator betting sites. However, he hasn’t fought since October 2017. Unfortunately, Strauss sustained injuries from a motorcycle accident last year and missed all of 2018. Strauss lost his last two fights prior to his absence. Daniel is a former champ who’s fought on and off with Bellator since June 2010.
Kruchten believes that he’s overcome his loss to Pico and will send Strauss back into retirement. I’m going to have to disagree with Shane on this one. I think it will be a good fight, but Strauss is a better fighter than Kruchten and they’re both 34 years old. I believe Strauss will come out with a UD win as he’s already scored 14 Decision victories in his 24 pro fights. With that said, I believe Kruchten does have some value as these betting odds are just too high. Shane has a puncher’s chance and could be worth a flyer for the daredevil MMA bettors out there.
Mike Jasper (13-4) Andrey Koreshkov (21-3)
- Mike Jasper (+450)
- Andrey Koreshkov (-750)
Mike Jasper was a late addition to this fight as he’s replacing Lorenz Larkin who had to withdraw earlier this month. This will be Jasper’s debut with Bellator and he’s going up against the toughest opponent of his career. Jasper has won three straight fights and has 9 of his 13 pro victories come via KO/TKO.
Andrey Koreshkov is a former welterweight champ and looks to rebound from his loss to Douglas Lima in the welterweight Grand Prix last September. In fact, Andrey Koreshkov has lost twice now to Lima. His third professional loss was to Ben Askren in July 2013. Those are two high caliber fighters that have handed Andrey his only losses.
If you look back further, Andrey Koreshkov defeated Lima in their first encounter in 2015. He followed that up with a win over Henderson in 2016, before Lima got revenge in 2016. Despite these losses, Koreshkov is confident that he can take Lima again and wants a 4th fight:
“I would really want to rematch [Lima] because I feel like Douglas Lima is one of the strongest fighters at welterweight in Bellator right now. He beat me twice and I only beat him once, I want to change that, I want to beat him again.”
Before Andrey can even think about a 4th match, or criticize Askren from afar, he needs to win this fight on Friday night. And, I don’t really see how he doesn’t come away with the victory. Dubbed “Spartan,” Koreshkov will smash the newcomer and earn the 13th TKO/KO of his career. From there, I could see him fighting another big name that loses in the Grand Prix. I’m sure he will be angling for a title shot later at some point in 2020.
Brandon Girtz (15-8) vs Saad Awad (23-10)
- Brandon Girtz (+185)
- Saad Awad (-265)
Saad “The Assassin” Awad is coming off a loss to Benson Henderson in his last fight, which was this past October. Awad lost via UD. The defeat snapped a 4 fight win streak. Awad is a pretty balanced fighter, but he has stopped 17 of his 23 foes within the scheduled time limit. His 4-1 record since 2016 has moved him up in the division. However, he needs to win this Friday in order to stay in the upper half of his weight class.
Girtz hasn’t fared as well as Saad over the last few years. In his last 5 fights, Brandon has gone 1-4. He did lose to the lightweight champ Michael Chandler 11 months ago, which was his last fight. Girtz hasn’t won in 3 ½ years. He does have 8 wins via submission with the last one coming in October 2013.
It’s really hard imagining that Girtz will win this fight. These two combatants are on different trajectories and I don’t see that changing this week. Brandon should enjoy the top billing while it lasts because it won’t happen again. Awad gave his thoughts on what he believes will happen in this contest:
“I really believe he’s going to come out swinging, he’s going to come out to make a statement. So be it. So am I. So it’s going to be a short night for one of us. It’s going to be a short night for him.”
I agree with Awad on his predictions. I believe both fighters will come out swinging and looking for the KO/TKO. From there, one of them will be dropped and I expect that to be Girtz. I’m going with Awad to win via TKO in the 1st round, possibly the 2nd round if they don’t come out guns blazing.
Bellator 219 Final Thoughts
Compared to previous Bellator cards in 2019, and their next event featuring Fitch vs MacDonald, Bellator 219 is a weak card. There’s just not a lot of intrigue into the matchups and there’s very little on the line for the winners other than pride and victory. For the fans, that might not be enough to really enjoy it.
In addition to little entertainment value, there’s little betting value as well. The favorites should win as expected. The one fight I’m looking forward to the most is the Janay Harding vs Marina Mokhnatkina fight. I’m really curious to see how Marina looks in this fight. Other than that, there’s not much else that really gets me excited. I’m more excited for the UFC on ESPN 2 card this Saturday night.
Complete Bellator 219 Fight Card
- Saad Awad vs Brandon Girtz
- Shane Kruchten vs Daniel Straus
- Mike Jasper vs Andrey Koreshkov
- Keith Berry vs Joe Schilling
Bellator 291 Preliminary Fights
- Marcus Anthony vs Joey Davis
- Dalton Rosta vs Cody Vidal
- Shawn Bunch vs Dominic Mazzotta
- A.J. Matthews vs David Rickels
- Janay Harding vs Marina Mokhnatkina
- Weber Almeida vs Johnny Soto
- Joshua Jones vs Darren Smith Jr.
- Johnny Cisneros vs John Mercurio
- Ricky Furar vs Roman Puga
- Kelvin Gentapanan vs David Pacheco
- Eugene Correa vs Sunni Imhotep