Bellator 136: Brooks vs Jensen Predictions

Like Josh Harper and Joe Caporale before them, the newest member of the Kamikaze Overdrive writing staff, Daniel Baker, will be posting his predictions for the second largest North American based Mixed Martial Arts Organization- Bellator FC. Unlike Josh and Joe, Daniel will be focusing just on Bellator, giving his full attention to breaking down all of the fights on Friday night both online and on Spike TV. Check in mid-week to see who Daniel is picking for each and every Bellator fight and see how he stacks up against our previous predictors!

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Daniel Baker

155lbs-Will Brooks (15-1-0) vs. Dave Jansen (20-2-0)

Reasoning: We have in Will Brooks an athletic, exciting fighter who has dynamic striking, good wrestling and some of the best ground positioning movement I have ever seen, meaning movement to improve his position when on the ground. Will Brooks only loss came to Saad Awad who won via TKO after wobbling Will and following it up with bunches of punches. It was very reminiscent of George St. Pierre having been knocked out by Matt Serra. Sometimes before a fighter has been hurt in a fight, they handle being hurt in an inappropriate way that leads to a loss. GSP did this against Matt Serra by trying to attack after being hurt instead of taking time to recover. Will Brooks did this against Saad by not going to his back but instead relying on his wrestling. Point being, I do not feel the fight against Saad is enough to convict him of a bad chin, in fact I actually feel that loss will only make him better in the future. Dave Jansen has only lost twice in his fight career, the level of competition he lost to was high level and in neither loss was he finished. Dave has good wrestling, a good chin, good cardio, and he does have some strong looping punches he throws but not much else to offer in the arena of striking. Will should have a noticeable speed, agility, mobility, and power advantage. Dave wins his fights by submission against low level competition and by decision against higher level competition. Against Will Brooks winning a decision is going to be tough, Will has been preparing for wrestlers for the better part of a year in fights against Michael Chandler. Dave poses no new threats outside of what Will has been seeing and preparing for in the past. The only thing I should mention here is that Dave does have a longer reach than Will is accustomed to and those powerful looping punches may be surprisingly longer than Will anticipates. Nonetheless the threat of that ending the fight here is relatively small but it is something to watch. The real challenge in this fight is defining at what line does betting on Will Brooks becomes unprofitable.

Pick: Will Brooks by TKO in the later rounds.

Bet Summary: Take Will Brooks at better than -650.


185lbs-Joe Schilling (2-3-0) vs. Rafael Carvalho (10-1-0)

Reasoning: In looking at the record of each fighter here it may at first appear to be a mismatch. However Joe Schilling took a hiatus from MMA in 2008 after a record of 1-3 and just recently made his MMA comeback defeating Melvin Manhoef, however he has been an active fighter the entire hiatus competing in kickboxing and boxing. Joe is very good on his feet, however in his last outing against Melvin we can see his stance is different than his Kickboxing stance and you can tell he is not quite as comfortable now that he has to be aware of clinching and takedowns. With that being said if he is uncomfortable standing in an MMA fight we can only imagine his level of uncertainty on the ground. After being hurt by Melvin, we see Joe on the ground and he is missing opportunities to improve his position. His thought process for the ground game is lacking. However that was his first MMA fight after a long hiatus and I’m sure he has been improving, but still something to consider. Another concern I have with Joe is his cardio. Kickboxing matches have more breaks with shorter rounds, and Joe has never gone past the second round in MMA. I assure you MMA is far more demanding on your cardiovascular system. Rafael Carvalho is not bad on his feet either and also has participated in kickboxing matches but not to the degree of Joe Schilling. We don’t see Rafael Carvalho attempt many takedowns in his fights because he enjoys a long reach and good stand up game, however in this match-up taking Joe to the ground is exactly what he should try to do, however this is going to require him to leave his comfort zone of stand-up fighting. This one is tough for betting purposes because there are important variables we cannot measure, such as either fighter’s ground attack, if Rafael will attempt takedowns and how effective these will be, and whether or not Joe does or does not have the gas to go the distance should it be required. Rafael has fewer unknowns. We know his standup is good and that he has a reach advantage and we know he can go all three rounds with his cardiovascular system, he has never been knocked out so he is less likely to be finished with glancing blows. I would be picking Rafael here, but I just cannot trust his ability to take this to the ground and Joe is a better on the feet.

Pick: Joe Schilling

Bet Summary: Take a pass 4 STARS

155lbs-Marcin Held (20-3-0) vs. Alexander Sarnavskiy (28-2-0)

Reasoning: What a fantastic matchup we have in this fight. I am pumped to see this one. Both fighters win predominantly by submission, are young hungry and primed for this bout. Marcin is a Polish fighter holding many accolades in both wrestling and Jiu Jitsu, but he is strongest in Jiu Jitsu. Marcin’s standup however is not so good. If the fight goes to the ground Alexander is going to be in Jeopardy of a submission loss. Alexander is no stranger to the ground game either but his ability there is just nowhere near Marcin’s. Alexander does have Marcin beat easily in his stand-up game. Alexander has very good judgment of space and distance, he hits hard and is smooth with his movement. In his fight with Dakota Cochran, despite winning the fight handedly we still see him using good fight IQ as he makes sure his back is to the cage after a grappling exchange. So his eagerness and excitement did not lead to poor decision making whereas in Marcin’s fights we do see him sometimes making eager, young fighter mistakes. Alexander’s body type is exactly what we look for in elite level fighters at that weight class. Alexander only has two loses, one to Will Brooks who is among the few fighters who can match Alexander’s athleticism and one loss to Rich Clementi, who he was absolutely torching on the feet but gave up positioning a number of times and lost a controversial split decision. It’s his loss to Clementi that is worrisome, if Rich could achieve favorable positions, then Marcin Held absolutely can as well! So Marcin has two clear paths to victory, Submission and Decision. Alexander’s most clear path is a KO/TKO win or a submission win that was set-up by striking. I don’t see Alexander winning by decision because I feel if Alexander is winning these exchanges he is going to hurt Marcin and finish, whereas if Alexander is losing these exchanges he will lose a decision or be submitted. In my opinion I believe Alexander has a more lethal skill set and his athleticism and ground experience should better allow him to avoid Marcin’s attack then the other way around. With that being said this is by far the most talented submission specialist Alexander has ever faced, but nonetheless my pick is Alexander.

Pick: Alexander Sarnavskiy by Submission

Bet Summary: Take Alexander at better than -115 4 STARS

265lbs-Alexander Volkov (22-4-0) vs. Tony Johnson (8-2-0)

Reasoning: Alexander Volkov is a young talented heavyweight approaching his prime fighting years. He has faced world champion strikers and has come out victorious. By sight he appears too small for the heavyweight division and he appears less fluid and less coordinated than we would like to see, but in the heavyweight division being less coordinated and less smooth comes with the territory. He does have good countering ability and good footwork, we can see him baiting opponents to strike only to maneuver and counter off. Tony Johnson is a big strong aggressive heavyweight fighter also approaching prime fighting years. Tony has the power and aggression to pose a serious threat to other heavyweights. I see him coming out against Alexander and pushing the pace to try for an early finish. If Tony cannot get this early finish I do not feel he can win this fight. Tony will tire out first, and Tony is going to have difficulty keeping pace with and finding Alexander later on in the fight once his explosiveness starts to wane. There is little question that Alexander is technically more sound and has the better gas tank. So it is difficult seeing a Victory for Tony here past a first or early second round flurry which catches Alexander. Also on the ground Alexander has access to some outstanding teachers at Gracie Barra and Black House, camps which have some of the most talented BJJ practitioners in the world. So if the fight hits the mat Alexander will have the submission advantage here and really only needs to avoid flurries of ground and pound from Tony.

Pick: Alexander Volkov

Bet Summary: Take Alexander Volkov at better than -360



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