Pettis picked up unanimous 30-27 scores by shutting down Bandejas’ striking attack and landing punishing calf kicks and punches that set the tone over 15 minutes.
Bellator 242 took place Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena with no fans and strict COVID-19 protocols in place. It was the ViacomCBS-owned promotion’s first event since the last-minute cancelation of Bellator 241 in March due to the pandemic.
Pettis stalked Bandejas from the opening bell, returning hard leg kicks and sneaking in shots that scored close to the cage. After getting tagged at distance, Bandejas worked inside and pulled off a big takedown. He didn’t get much chance to work, though, as Pettis righted himself and fired off another high kick.
A kicking war opened the second frame, and Pettis continued to press and land big punches. Calf kicks hobbled Bandejas’ balance, prompting him to shoot again. This time, Pettis quickly reversed and got back to his feet, where he continued to snipe at Bandejas’ calf.
Admonished by his corner to go after Pettis, Bandejas tried to get in his opponent’s face. In return, he took more calf kicks and looked increasingly hesitant to fire back. Pettis took full advantage, setting up big right hands punches to the cage. In the final minutes, Pettis got looser, throwing all manner of spin kicks and punches. A final push from Bandejas wasn’t enough to reverse momentum.
Pettis picked up his third straight win and second under the Bellator banner. He’s expected to meet the winner of an upcoming title fight between Patrick “Patchy” Mix and Juan Archuleta, who was forced to withdraw from a planned fight for the vacant belt after a bout with COVID-19.
After two years away from fighting, Jordan Mein sought to start fresh in Bellator. Instead, Jason Jackson sent him back to the drawing board.
Bouncing around like he was at a sparring session, Mein hoped to catch Jackson napping with quick attacks from distance. Jackson, however, brilliantly countered when Jordan got too close, landing a right hand that sent the UFC vet backpedaling to the fence.
Mein engaged more directly in the second, and he paid for it when he took a leg kick that forced him to switch stances. Mein looked for better luck with a takedown, but Jackson stayed upright and began to absorb more and more damage. Jackson’s combinations were faster and more accurate, and a late takedown put an exclamation point on the frame.
Jackson attacked his opponent’s hurt leg from the start of the final frame, making it more difficult than ever for Mein to generate power for his strikes. A takedown attempt was easily stuffed by Jackson, and a right hand put Mein down. Getting up slowly, Mein did his best to muster an offense, but his body struggled to cooperate. A last-ditch throw attempt ended with Jackson on top, smothering Mein to the final bell.
The final scores were all 30-27 in favor of Jackson, who picked up his second straight win. Mein goes back to the loss column after two wins in the UFC.
Jay Jay Wilson’s strong start and finish won the day over Tywan Claxton, even though the final scores wasn’t entirely reflective of what happened in the cage.
Willson came out with a very transparent goal in mind, and that was to take Claxton to the canvas, where he could work his submission skills. Eventually, he was able to create a scramble, and from there, he quickly capitalized. A move to mount forced Claxton to give up his back, and he was forced to defend his neck before a slick reversal gave him top position and time for a few shots from up top.
It was a strong start for Wilson. But apart from several kicks to the body and legs, he was smothered and outstruck for much of the second and third frame. Only in the final minute of the third round was he able to put Claxton in serious danger, jumping into a triangle that had Claxton scrambling to avoid a tap.
Claxton, who’s dropped to 1-2 in his past three outings, immediately protested two scores of 29-28 and 30-27 with one judge dissenting 30-27 in his favor. Wilson celebrated the extension of his unbeaten pro streak to six pro fights.
Bellator star Aaron Pico decided not to let Solo Hatley Jr. test his chin as promised. Within the first minute, Pico grounded his foe and pounded away with punches and elbows. Hatley Jr. turned to avoid the damage, and that was all she wrote. Flattened out, Hatley Jr. tapped out to a rear-naked choke seconds later.
With expert use of one of his primary skillsets, Pico extended his current winning streak to two fights and put more distance between him and a pair of knockouts that endangered his long-term viability as a Bellator star.
Full Bellator 242 results:
Sergio Pettis def. Ricky Bandejas via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jason Jackson def. Jordan Mein via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jay Jay Wilson def. Tywan Claxton via split decision (27-30, 29-28, 30-27)
Aaron Pico def. Solo Hatley Jr. via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:10