Preview: Bellator 241 ‘Pitbull vs. Carvalho’

Sanchez vs. Weichel

By Keith Shillan Mar 12, 2020

Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix Quarterfinal

Emmanuel Sanchez (19-4) vs. Daniel Weichel (40-11)

ODDS: Sanchez (-155), Weichel (+125)

Despite having an 9-3 record in the Bellator cage, few people have picked Weichel to win the tournament. The 35-year-old ended a two-fight skid with a unanimous decision over Saul Rodgers in the opening round of the grand prix. The German is a flat-footed, plodding striker who can be a little too patient with his output while looking to land the perfect blow. He does well at slipping his head off the centerline and following up with a crushing straight right hand. The former M-1 Global champion has displayed some nice power in the past, which was best displayed when he floored Patricio Freire in their first encounter. Weichel does well at mixing in leg kicks and then sneaking one quickly up towards his opponent’s head. Though he has not been knocked out in over four years, the veteran fighter’s chin is starting to show some deterioration, as he has been dropped in several recent fights. While “The Weasel” has all but abandoned his ground game in recent outings, he remains a dangerous grappler. Weichel is difficult to take down and has nice penetration on his own takedowns. He wields strong top control, constantly looks to advance his position and has proven himself as a serious submission threat, with 22 wins via tapout.

Sanchez has handled his business in six out of his past seven appearances, his one loss coming in a close decision against Freire in a failed bid to capture the featherweight crown at Bellator 209. The 29-year-old is a volume striker who overwhelms opponents with endless pressure. His formidable gas tank helps him sustain a high pace for the majority of the fight. Sanchez likes to stalk his prey by darting into the pocket to throw combinations. His straight right hand is his best strike, but he lacks true one-punch, fight-ending power. “El Matador” does well to defend strikes coming at him by keeping his hands high and darting his head off the centerline. He has a deep arsenal of kicks and uses them to attack every part of his opponent’s body. Sanchez is an underrated offensive wrester. He does well to find a way to get his adversary to the ground, where he flashes his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt skills. The Roufusport rep’s biggest weakness remains his defensive wrestling. He has been taken down in each of his last three fights. He does do well at finding submissions off his back, as he showed against Tywan Claxton in the opening round of the grand prix.

These two men fought at Bellator 159 in July 2016, when Weichel earned a split decision in a bout many believed Sanchez deserved to win. Since their first meeting, Sanchez has been red hot, while Weichel has had some mixed results. Weichel should have a wrestling advantage on Sanchez once again, but he will not be able to keep up with the pace the Duke Roufus protege sets. Look for Sanchez to outpoint the German fighter on the feet and cruise to the semifinals on the strength of a unanimous decision win.

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