Preview: Bellator 231 ‘Mir vs. Nelson 2’ - Davis vs. Albrektsson

By: Keith Shillan
Oct 24, 2019

Phil Davis vs. Karl Albrektsson

At 35-years-old, Davis likely has only one more chance to make a run at the Bellator light heavyweight title. His journey continues Friday, when he takes on promotional newcomer Karl Albrektsson in the evening’s co-main event. “Mr. Wonderful” uses a kick-heavy approach to his striking game, where he attacks the legs and can check the chin with a quick one; he knocked out Linton Vassell with a high kick back in May 2018 at Bellator 220. He will attack with long straight punches, but lacks power and tends to ignore combinations, throwing a single strike at a time. The former Bellator champion’s standup has come a long way over the years, but his wrestling remains the cornerstone of his game. The former NCAA Division 1 champion has great timing on his shots and quickly turns a corner on his attacks to get his opponent to the canvas. While his shots are not as good as it once was due to declining athleticism, his top control is still at an elite level. The Alliance MMA team member is great at grabbing a wrist and forcing his opponent flat on his back. From on top, the San Diego native dispatches a heavy ground-and-pound game. If a sub attempt presents itself, the former Nittany Lion will use his long arms to sink one in; his favorites submissions are anacondas and kimuras.

Albrektsson will be making his Bellator debut after a stint in Rizin Fighting Federation. The Swedish fighter holds a 9-2 record, with wins over UFC veteran Josh Stansbury and top Bellator contender, Vadim Nemkov. His two losses came at the hands of very talented competition in Jiri Prochazka and Valentin Moldavsky. The 26-year-old is considered a true blue-chip prospect by many prognosticators. He is a well-rounded fighter, who trained under the tutelage of Josh Barnett. On the feet, “King” is a slow-plodding pocket boxer. He can be a little too patient at times trying to end the fight with a single blow, but makes up for it with some serious power. His left hook is his most accurate and deadly strike. He also mixes in his punches with chopping leg kicks. The Pancrase Sweden gym team member will attack with drop-step entries and get several takedowns but often gets caught underneath his foe due to his lack of explosiveness. Once on top, the Swedish fighter pounds his competition with ground-and-pound and has three submission victories. Albrektsson has been taken down in the past, but does well to sweep his opponents from his butterfly guard.

Davis is nearing the end of his career and his days of being an elite fighter are numbered. However, I still believe Mr. Wonderful finds a way to get his hand raised in this contest. Albrektsson fights in a way the former Nittany Lion desires. His doesn’t press the action and will be looking to wrestle. He won’t win a battle with the Alliance MMA team member that way. I expect Davis to have his way over the duration of the 15-minute affair to earn a unanimous decision victory.

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