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We have a scrap in the Bantamweight division, as Mario Bautista takes on Brian “Boom” Kelleher. A winner of three of the last four, including a recent victory over Jay Perrin, Bautista comes into this fight looking to knock off a veteran. Only five years into his professional career, as Bautista continues to evolve, he may be someone to keep an eye out for in the future. Meanwhile, Kelleher comes into this fight looking to rebound from a defeat to Umar Nurmagomedov. A fight that Kelleher would like to put in his rear mirror, as it wasn’t his finest performance. Prior to the loss, the Long Island native had rattled off two consecutive victories.
This should be a relatively tight contest, and could even see a split decision decide the victor. On the feet, Bautista has the edge. Backed by excellent cardio, Bautista is an active striker. Not one to settle for one strike at a time, Bautista has the ability to swarm opponents. He’s aggressive and a willing brawler too, which has seen him vulnerable to getting cracked. No slouch on the ground either, Bautista has a skill set worthy of making a run at Bantamweight. However, Kelleher is a solid grappler, who has utilized his wrestling more of late. Landing nine takedowns in the last three fights, it’s clear that Kelleher isn’t afraid to fight to his strengths. Not too shabby on the feet, Kelleher possess some good pop. He just isn’t technical nor active.
As for a prediction, I have Kelleher ever so slightly winning. While I believe that Bautista’s striking could carry him, Kelleher has the power to be disruptive. He also has the wrestling and grappling to land important takedowns. One’s in which may steal a round or two. With that said, I predict that Kelleher wins via decision.