Title: Juan Archuleta
File: 20-1 general; 2-Zero Bellator MMA
Crew: Treigning Lab
By way of general depth of expertise, featherweight is arguably one of the best division in Bellator, boasting an incredible mixture of elite rivals, established names making up the center tier and a bunch of up-and-coming fighters with championship aspirations working their means up the ranks.
A few of the greatest prospects in your entire firm compete within the 145-pound weight class, together with A.J. McKee, Adam Borics and Aaron Pico, who could be one of the best prospect in your entire sport, no matter group.
One other fighter to look at within the division is Juan Archuleta, who is simply too outdated (31) to actually be thought of a prospect, however is simply too good to easily be dismissed as one other member of the center class.
A two-division champion for King of the Cage, “The Spaniard” made his debut within the Bellator cage in March, incomes a unanimous choice win over William Joplin that prolonged his profitable streak to 14 straight. It was an anticipated consequence and a efficiency that wasn’t significantly instructive when it comes to the place Archuleta might match within the loaded featherweight class, however his second look below the Bellator MMA banner was way more substantial.
Again in June, the Hesperia, California resident scored a third-round TKO win over Robbie “Issues” Peralta, a 27-fight veteran who went 4-Four with one no contest within the UFC and has confronted a whole lot of robust competitors over time. It was the sort of matchup that provides one a greater understanding of the place the lesser recognized combatant stands and never solely did Archuleta come away with one other victory, however he introduced the struggle to a halt simply 14 seconds into the third spherical, leaving no query who was the higher man.
Friday evening, he’s scheduled to return towards Jeremy Spoon, a 33-year-old veteran with a 21-Four file that features a 2-2 mark in 4 earlier Bellator appearances and a bunch of fights with Midwest regional veterans.
Very like the struggle with Peralta, this seems like one other litmus take a look at for Archuleta — a second straight pairing with a strong, however unspectacular veteran with the expertise and savvy to get one of the best of issues if he’s taken too flippantly, however isn’t somebody who ought to simply roll into the cage and run by the relative newcomer.
Coaching alongside UFC bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw and a number of other different established fighters on the Treigning Lab in Orange County, Archuleta is at all times going to be in form and able to push the tempo. However now it’s about answering the lingering questions on his present run of success and general potential on this powerhouse division.
Scanning his resume, there aren’t a whole lot of acquainted names or massive information listed amongst the fighters he’s crushed throughout his present profitable streak. Exterior of Peralta, probably the most recognizable opponents he has confronted throughout that stretch are Chris Tickle, who was on TUF 15, and Alfred Khashakyan, greatest recognized for being the man “Sugar” Sean O’Malley lit up on the Contender Collection two summers in the past.
However right here’s the factor that I at all times get again to when taking a look at a fighter on a prolonged streak like this: if profitable 15 straight fights was straightforward, how come there aren’t extra folks on 15-fight profitable streaks?
Now, it’s actually tougher to do within the UFC than on the regional circuit, which is why guys akin to Khabib Nurmagomedov, Max Holloway and Tony Ferguson deserve much more recognition and respect for what they’ve been capable of accomplish. However you should have abilities, tenacity and toughness to place collectively a profitable streak of this size, no matter who you’ve been combating.
Including Peralta to that run of success final outing supplied just a little extra of an thought about the place Archuleta suits throughout the divisional hierarchy and maintaining issues going this weekend towards Spoon would assist refine that positioning even additional. From there, it’s all about who he fights subsequent and whether or not or not Bellator desires to provide him an opportunity to face one of many division’s younger upstarts (although he and Pico prepare collectively, in order that’s in all probability not occurring) or get him in there with one of many extra veteran names to see if he can grasp with a former champion like Pat Curran or Daniel Straus.
Bellator has achieved job of bringing fighters with upside alongside lately and whereas Archuleta is just a little older than the fighters the corporate normally gradual performs, I can see him getting the same prolonged run of matchups like this to be able to actually generate some traction and put him ready to enter the championship fray.
It won’t occur within the subsequent eight or 9 months, however by this time subsequent yr, it wouldn’t be in any respect stunning if “The Spaniard” had been dealing with a few of the prime names within the division and being mentioned as a potential title challenger.