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!
|Interview: Kamaru Usman||Interview: Frankie Saenz||Interview: Geane Herrera|
|Interview: Scott Holtzman||Interview: Sirwan Kakai||Interview: Chris Dempsey|
|Interview: Anthony Christodoulou||Interview: Jonathan Wilson||Interview: Sam Alvey|
|Interview: Steven Siler||Interview: Clint Hester||Interview: Neil Magny|
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.
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
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
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
Reasoning: These two fighters fought back in 2011 and the outcome then was exactly what we expect to happen most often when these two fight. Joe Warren winning by decision. When it comes to wrestling Joe Warren is on another level and has better striking defense than Marcos. If we look at Joe Warren as a fighter, the guy is a gamer, he always comes to fight and always comes to win. Their match in 2011 was controversial in that many believe that Marcos Galvao actually won and I do see how this fight could have been called the other way. However when these two fought the first time Joe had only two years of MMA experience. We see him ducking into flying knees and uppercuts like the true wrestler he is. Marcos Galvao had eight years’ experience at that time and knew what strikes and techniques best to use to catch a wrestler like Warren. In my opinion there is much more room in this fight for experience to have helped Joe Warren more than for it to have helped Marcos Galvao. Its unlikely Joe will be making the same type of mistakes this time around. Marcos is a hard punching athletic fighter who has good wrestling and BJJ (even though he has no wins by submission). His strikes are wild, looping, and can come from unpredictable angles. Both guys have about average chins and neither fighter is much known for knockout power so this one has a good chance to see a decision.
Pick: Joe Warren by Dec
Bet Summary: Take Joe Warren at better than -160.
Reasoning: Both Davis and Tokoro are veterans of the sport. With both fighters we pretty much know what to expect and we can pretty safely assume neither fighter is going to be displaying massive improvements. Davis, (a former college wrestler who currently trains at a Jiu Jitsu Academy) has good wrestling, very good hands, above average Jiu Jitsu, a very good chin, and has good judgement of distance and space. The only reason Davis isn’t a major name in the UFC is that he has both, had some bad luck, and isn’t quite elite at any specific skill set. Tokoro is a specialist fighter who is pretty reliant on submissions for a victory. Tokoro has very good Jiu Jitsu, poor hands, average wrestling but with some creative and effective takedown attempts, and a below average chin. So how can Tokoro win? Just like any fighter Tokoro has a punchers chance, also Tokoro could conceivably maintain some time in top control and possibly win an unlikely decision, and of course Tokoro is very dangerous on the ground and could also catch Davis in a submission which is by FAR his most likely path to victory. With that being said Davis is going to be practicing submission defense all the way leading up to this fight with some high level Jiu Jitsu practitioners knowing this is what he really has to look out for. Davis is difficult to take down and I don’t see Davis wanting to take Tokoro to the ground. Although in the past Davis has shown low fight I.Q. in this capacity, he has taken down guys he was dominating on the feet who are dangerous off their back. But nonetheless Davis should be better able to dictate where this fight takes place. Look for him to keep it on the feet and hurt Tokoro with his hands.
Pick: Davis via KO/TKO
Bet Summary: Take Davis at better than -240.
Reasoning: We have a veteran in Francis Carmont against a relative newbie in Guilherme Viana. Carmont is a Muay Thai based fighter who trains with George St. Pierre and the Canadian French team. Francis Carmont when in his Muay Thai stance looks extremely intimidating. However if we look closer at his record we see that most his wins come from submission. Carmont is going to have difficulty submitting the bigger more powerful Viana who is no novice in Jiu Jitsu. Carmont is also going to have trouble taking down and controlling Viana. Francis although scary in stature and posture is somewhat lacking in striking implementation. Carmont lacks a fluidity of motion and is rigid in his striking attack, characteristics we don’t like to see in fighters. Carmont does hit hard with leg and body kicks and has ok head kicks. His hands are ok, but most of the punches he lands come during scrambles and has trouble setting up his boxing attacks. Viana is going to be the bigger fighter on fight night and he hits very hard. Viana is usually the bully in his fights. He will have the size advantage here and has the power of belief. For Carmont this fight represents a step down in competition and this could be de-motivating, however for Viana this is BY FAR the biggest fight and opportunity of his career. Viana really wants this one. Viana will be the bigger fighter as he is a natural 205 pounder where Carmont fought in the UFC at 185 lbs. There are a couple concerns however when betting on Viana. Viana has unknown cardio and chin variables. We also don’t know how Viana will handle this step up in competition. He is facing in Carmont the best striking opponent of his career. I don’t like this one for Carmont however. He is probably de-motivated having been removed from the UFC and is now facing a younger, bigger, hungrier fighter, lacking the type of holes that Carmont likes to capitalize on.
Pick: Guilherme Viana by Dec.
Bet Summary: Take Viana at better than -120.
Reasoning: We have the son of a UFC Hall of Famer against a Pornstar in this matchup….outstanding. Ryan Couture has a very peculiar style to prepare for, he has unpredictable movements and striking techniques and has good wrestling and submission skills as well. Despite Dakota’s superior athletic ability and physical gifts sometimes an awkward style can trump athletic superiority. I expect this matchup to be closely contested either fighter could take the other down or either fighter could land a big shot on the other and put them away. Dakota has more powerful striking, with good wrestling ability. Dakota’s most recent two losses came to some high level fighters whose names have not yet caught up with their abilities. Before those two losses we see 4 submission losses and 1 decision loss. He was 26 and under in age at the time of those earlier losses and it is a statistical fact that younger fighters get submitted at a proportionally higher rate than older fighters due to lack of experience and unbridled testosterone driven actions that were not well thought out. At 28 years old now and having faced some good opposition I expect to see a very good version of Dakota. More often than not I believe Dakota will be able to control the Octagon and avoid the submission attempts to capture a Decision victory or even a KO/TKO.
Pick: Dakota Cochrane by Dec
Bet Summary: Take Dakota Cochran at better than -110
BELLATOR 134: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville Connecticut, February 27th, 2015
An exciting night awaits us with the British Invasion of Bellator 134 this Friday February 27th, 2015 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Bellator 134, which airs live on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. features Liam McGeary who leads the invasion focused on the 205lb belt, followed by striking sensation Paul Daley, who continues to win and impress. British transplant Cheick Kongo rounds out the invasion in an intriguing heavyweight tilt that sees King Mo Lawal step up to heavyweight on short notice.
Emanuel Newton, ‘The Hardcore Kid’, is the Bellator 205lb champion and he defends against British Invader and highly touted Liam McGeary. Newton is as crafty and dangerous as he is intelligent and free-thinking, with a natural athleticism that speaks of spinning back fist knockouts and a unique rawness that makes him exciting.
Liam McGeary stands a towering 6’6” to the 6’1” Newton. A Team Renzo Gracie product, McGeary has finished all 5 of his Bellator fights in the first round. McGeary has been described as Jon Jones-like in that his height, range and athleticism are used to kick, punch and elbow his opponents from distance and he also has a solid ground control and submission game. McGeary has people talking, his strikes are powerful and his confidence is high.
Champion Newton may be considered the underdog in this match but his belief in himself is unbridled and his well roundedness will make him a difficult matchup for anyone hoping to take his belt. Newton has Championship rounds under his belt whereas McGeary hasn’t had to go past the first round in his last 6 fights.
Emmanuel Newton is such a force of nature that it will be difficult to take his Championship belt. Liam McGeary packs power, is well rounded and is on a mission to win the title but Emanuel Newton will again find a way to hold onto his belt.
Emanuel ‘Hardcore Kid’ Newton defeats Liam McGeary
Andre Santos replaces injured Douglas Lima against Paul “Semtex” Daley, who was supposed to face off for Douglas Lima’s welterweight title.
Although he is a late replacement, Santos could have the kryptonite needed to derail Paul Daley’s superman-like striking ability. Santos has 22 wins by way of submission in a remarkably high 37 wins to Daley’s 26 knockouts in 35 victories. Santos has a superior submission skillset along with some striking proficiency to make him look like a potential upset threat in this one.
On a two fight winning streak, Daley is 8-2 in his last ten fights. The 5ft 9 inch Daley who has held Championship belts in the Cage Rage Promotion will give up 3 inches of height to the Brazilian Santos. Daley’s style is engaging and his striking prowess is a thing of violent beauty. Power and technique combined with a smooth stalking style make his fights fun to watch and Daley is highly motivated to start a serious and successful run the powerful Bellator promotion.
Santos would like to play spoiler to the surging Daley, and the stylistic matchup of a high level submission artist versus high level striking is very intriguing. It is worth noting that the unheralded and relatively unknown Santos is unbeaten in his last 6 fights, and was impressive in his October Bellator debut where he defeated James Terry in convincing fashion.
Daley is very strong for a welterweight and has the advantage of having a full training camp. As the heavy favorite, Daley will be hoping to knockout the late replacement Santos to ignite some hype into his Bellator return.
Andre Santos has decent striking to go along with his expert Jiu-Jitsu, and also is highly experienced. Daley was to fight Douglas Lima for the Welterweight title making this opponent a possible trap fight for Daley. This fight may be closer than most people anticipate.
Paul Daley defeats Andre Santos by decision.
King Mo steps up on short notice to battle the highly experienced Cheick Kongo in a heavyweight matchup. King Mo Lawal is a full size light-heavyweight but it remains to be seen how that translates to this foray into the heavyweight division. Standing 6 feet four inches tall to King Mo’s 6 foot frame, Kongo will have a size advantage, but not as sizeable an advantage as one might think. Kongo usually weighs in around 235 pounds and Lawal is a big light-heavyweight who could weigh in around the 220lbs mark.
Check Congo has fought some of the best heavyweights in the world, including a decision loss to current UFC Heavyweight wrecking ball, Cain Velasquez. Most recently, Kongo choked out Lavar Johnson and knocked out Eric Smith. Kongo’s lone loss in his last five is to unbeaten Vitaly Minakov, a 14-0 killer who took a decision over Kongo last April.
King Mo Lawal is 34 years of age to Cheick’s 39 and it would seem that King Mo’s best strategy to win this fight would be based around his wrestling pedigree. Kongo has oft been criticized as susceptible to a wresting heavy attack and it makes sense that Lawal may try and wear down the bigger Kongo with takedowns and ground control. Kongo is better-rounded than many give him credit for and his size advantage may help with fending off the takedown. This fight is an intriguing matchup of size, skills and two fighters who are known commodities in the sport.
King Mo Lawal is the slight betting favourite at this time but Cheick Kongo has the height, reach and experience advantage in this battle of light-heavyweight versus heavyweight. King Mo will try to take Kongo down but look for Kongo to press Lawal against the cage and work knees and strikes.
Cheick Kongo defeats King Mo Lawal by decision.
Reasoning: Emanuel Newton is a good striker using spinning attacks, lead leg headkicks, and frequent stance switches. Emanuel’s wrestling is ok, but it’s mostly defensive. He brings a pretty good gas tank to his fights and has a good chin as well. Liam McGeary, like Emanuel Newton, uses his wrestling mostly for defensive purposes. Liam has displayed some impressive submission wins and his coach Renzo Gracie is as good as they get so we know his BJJ and submission threat is real. Liam McGeary doesn’t quite have elite level striking or elite level striking coordination, but it is close. Liam McGeary(s) cardio, and chin is a bit of a question mark as we haven’t really seen him eat any big shots or go deep into many fights, but in looking at his hands, he has a tendency to extend his arms when an opponent comes in swinging, this is a novice habit and exposes him to overhand punches. Looking at Liam’s body type, and considering this is a title fight we can assume he’ll come with a full tank of gas. Emanuel Newton to win has a couple paths, land a big shot such as one of his overhand rights, outpace Liam and throw in a couple takedowns to get a decision. Liam McGeary I see winning the standup with his large reach advantage, and his unusually tall frame making it awkward for Emanuel to close the distance or connect with spinning or traditional attacks. Although Emanuel can probably take Liam down to the mat Liam is dangerous there and should be able to get back up, I certainly don’t see Emanuel being able to keep it there the entire fight. I see Liam capitalizing on his reach and height advantage and wearing on Emmanuel as the fight progresses. Liam may be able to capture a TKO win here but Emanuel is tough to finish. Nonetheless my pick is Liam McGeary via TKO.
Pick: Liam McGeary
Bet Summary: Take Liam McGeary at better than -160, consider taking the over, do not bet on how Liam will win.
Reasoning: Andre Santos is a late replacement for injured Douglas Lima. Andre Santos has high level BJJ (Which is why he has so many wins), with poor to OK wrestling, good cardio, and poor striking. Andre Santos seemingly always has his hands down, he doesn’t throw with very much power, his feet are flat on the ground making it relatively obvious where he’ll be throwing from or where he will be should you wish to counter, and his kicking game is not intimidating. A few good things about Andre’s striking is that he does have a high volume output of strikes, and his shots are from peculiar angles so that may surprise an opponent, and he will be coming to win not just to collect a paycheque. Paul Daley in this matchup obviously is the more talented fighter, better footwork, more punching power, more technical striking, nonetheless Andre Santos has something I like to call the power of belief, meaning he’s really going to try hard, and this belief can lengthen fights and cause openings, whereas Daley, we have to question his heart and desire to win, he is far more talented but this will be something to watch during the fight and adds risk premium to betting Daley. All in all, Daley should be able to dictate where the fight takes place and sooner or later should catch Andre with something hard and put him out.
Pick: Paul Daley via KO/TKO
Bet Summary: There’s probably going to be value betting the underdog here but I don’t like trying to capture value against deep odds, so look to bet Paul Daley to win for better than -700.
Reasoning: Cheick Kongo, is a massive man, full of fast twitch muscle and quite the spectacle physically. Primarily a stand-up fighter who likes to use traditional Karate and Kickboxing techniques. Cheick Kongo has poor footwork, he also lacks a fluidity which more lethal fighters possess. Cheick has trouble accurately judging space & distance in his striking or in trying to avoid strikes, all this combined with his lack of head movement makes him vulnerable to being hit or knocked out. That being said this is an in shape, large powerful fighter and when he hits opponents he can hurt them, and he also has good conditioning despite his fast twitch muscular physique. If I could hand pick an opponent to go against Cheick with the intention of beating him it would be an elite level wrestler who could ground Cheick, tire and pound him out. That’s pretty much what we have in King Mo, except King Mo is giving up a lot of size to Cheick. King Mo usually fights at Light Heavyweight and Cheick usually fights at Heavyweight. This means some of what King Mo’s experience tells him he can do in the cage to opponents, he won’t be able to do to Cheick. It also means that King Mo will have a harder time getting and keeping Cheick on the ground. It is also possible to see Cheick take King Mo down and if he gets dominant position of the smaller King Mo, that could be a wrap. Nonetheless I believe more often than not King Mo can better control where the fight takes place giving him a slight edge should it go to a decision, and I believe King Mo’s superior speed, agility, and chin gives him a slightly better chance to win via KO/TKO than Cheick. But make no mistake, Cheick is a dangerous opponent.
Pick: King Mo by KO/TKO
Bet Summary: Take King Mo at better than even.
Reasoning: Linton is one of the larger 205 pounders in the division, and also one of the slower. He uses his length and reach advantages well, and he will have that advantage in this fight too. On his feet he likes to use range establishing strikes, like leg kicks, jabs, front kicks etc. He’s actually not a very good striker, but the strikes he uses to establish range we can tell he has practiced over and over and these strikes he can throw effectively. On the ground he has shown some really impressive submission attempts and controls opponents and maintains dominant position well. If only Linton wasn’t so hittable this would be an easier pick, Linton is slow, hittable, and has a questionable chin. Sokoudjou will be much faster on fight night, so we must factor in this risk. Soko is one of the most inconsistent fighters in the history of MMA. I mean he really has a ton of talent, but Soko again and again doesn’t live up to his potential. He comes to fights out of shape and must hold the record for the most come from behind losses….as in he was winning earlier on but ended up losing. Soko has an under rated ground game but it would be in his best interest to avoid going there with Linton who will probably tire last and has displayed better capabilities on the ground. It’s hard seeing Soko winning a decision here because of his tendency to gas later on and we know Linton is going to want to push the pace. We know Linton is going to establish range and more than likely try to get the fight to the ground. Soko landing big shots early on in the fight I feel is his best chance at victory here, but Linton has additional paths to victory, he can win by Dec, Sub, or KO/TKO. If Linton can push the pace and establish range early on, I feel he will win.
Pick: Linton Vassell by Dec
Bet Summary: Take Linton Vassell at better than -180, Live bet Linton to win at end of round one, and again at end of round two if possible.
Breakdown: In looking at this matchup we see a high probability of it taking place primarily on the feet. Both athletes consider themselves to be stand-up fighters.
Manhoef is a compact fighter with a lot of power and white twitch muscle making him extremely dangerous in the first round and beginning of the second. Manhoef’s leg kicks are devastating especially to south paws such as Shlemenko. Manhoef’s chin however is a tad light and he is coming off a KO loss in a fight he was winning up to that point. Manhoef also has some conditioning issues and does poorly in later rounds.
Contrary to Manhoef, Shlemenko has a more even distribution of white and red twitch muscle fiber making his fight activity much more even as a fight progresses into later rounds. Shlemenko is not dependent on explosively capitalizing on early openings for a win whereas Manhoef is. Also contrary to Manhoef, Shlemenko has a good chin but poor striking defense so he is likely to eat a few from Manhoef early on. My main concern betting Shlemenko is that he leaves his right leg out there giftwrapped for leg kicks and Manhoef is going to attack this possibly damaging the leg or allowing openings for head strikes.
Shlemenko should try to press or grapple Manhoef early on sucking energy out of Manhoef’s explosive power while protecting himself. I believe that more often than not Shlemenko’s own striking will keep Manhoeff halfway honest and Shlemenko’s chin will hold up early on so that Shlemenko can make it into deeper rounds where he may capitalize on Manhoef’s fatigue and reach disadvantage.
Bet Summary: Take Shlemenko at better than -260. Should it go to the second round look to live bet Shlemenko at that point to win, and again should the fight continue to round three.
Breakdown: Daniel Weichel has shown very good BJJ, average wrestling ability, and poor striking ability in previous matchups. Weichel’s striking ability pretty much consists of a decent jab, leg kicks and knees from the clinch. Weichel is all about the ground game. To put some perspective on how Daniel relies on the ground game, in previous fights I’ve seen Daniel literally choose to hop into someone’s guard rather than attempt to get side control, strike, or obtain any of the better positions offered to a standing fighter with an opponent on their back. So Daniel literally chose not to try to do damage to his opponent because he could capture time on the clock in a dominant position on the ground.
Pat Curran is more athletic enjoying superior striking ability and versatility and his ground game is decent so it won’t be easy to slip a submission on him. With all this being said you may wonder why my betting line is so close. Well, Daniel will probably be able to land a takedown or two on Pat during the matchup which will expose Pat to some submission risk, also if Pat cannot finish Daniel we are relying on judges to give Pat Curran the decision despite what will probably be a takedown deficit for Pat, and the judging these days has been all over the place so you never know what they are going to do.
Bet Summary: Take Pat Curran at better than -150.
Breakdowns: In looking at this matchup we have a very good Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athlete against a good Muay Thai fighter. Julia Budd although a talented Muay Thai fighter does not hit with a lot of power and she is giving up reach to Nog. Julia lacks elite level power and striking coordination making it possible to see Talita stand with her in this fight without being pieced apart. Julia likes to take opponents down and utilize her superior athleticism or ground game to mount and/or ground and pound opponents.
In this matchup however Julia may want to avoid the ground altogether as Talita is on another level on the ground. So Julia will probably want to keep this fight standing and outpoint Talita to a decision (this goes against her normal fight strategy).
There is a lot of tape on Talita in BJJ but not so much in MMA. I can however say the following about Nogueira. She will be the bigger fighter and she does have power in her strikes. Her straight right is a long strike and powerful, Budd will have to respect this on the feet. Since some of the only MMA tape on Nogueira is from her first couple MMA fights it is safe to assume she has improved since then so in betting this fight we are attempting to capture value in betting Talita Nogueira.
I see Talita with a good chance of being able to use her size and BJJ and take down Budd and possibly get a submission, capture a Decision or even a possible KO, whereas Budd will likely only be able to win via Decision on the feet.
Bet Summary: Take Talita Nogueira at better than +160.
Breakdown: Chris Honeycutt is a fantastic wrestler who is very big for the 170 lb. division. He has had success in his past five fights with 3 KO/TKO wins a rear naked choke and a Decision. With this being said in his fight video’s we can see him making mistakes and giving opportunities to his opponents. Some of these mistakes come from having so much wrestling experience where you never want to go on your back and where in clinches you do not throw knees. Chris has had many times in his MMA fights where clear knee strike opportunities present themselves and nope….not a single strike thrown. Other times we can see him mistakenly trying to put his opponent on their back, again not really what you want to do in MMA. However any given fight here Chris could put things together in a better more sophisticated attack and he will be quite the handful at Welterweight.
Clayton Macfarlane is also a good wrestler with a better overall MMA game. He has legit submission skills, boxing and wrestling. Under similar circumstances I would be betting on Clayton to take the win, however there are a couple factors which to me makes this a fight I do not want to bet on. Clayton has fought at 155lbs before and some of his opponents have fought at 145lbs. Chris Honeycutt will walk into the cage on fight night close to 195 lbs., Chris is incredibly strong with a good gas tank too.
I neither want to bet on the underdeveloped fighter nor the potentially undersized fighter in this instance. To my mind it’s better to simply relax and watch this fight as a fan. I’m very excited to see how this one shakes out, but I’d take Clayton by Submission.
Bet Summary: Take a pass.
Bellator 133 happens this Friday, February 13 from beautiful Fresno, California. Excellent matchmaking with promised explosive excitement headlines the night with Melvin “No Mercy” Manhoef (29-12-1) and former Bellator MMA champ Alexander “Storm” Shlemenko (51-9) squaring off in an exciting and important middleweight tilt. We also get a great featherweight matchup between two of the world’s top featherweights in (20-6) Pat Curran versus (34-8) submission machine Daniel Weichel.
Shlemenko held the Bellator Middleweight title for 18 months and lost it in shocking fashion back in September in a 35 second fight where Shlemenko succumbed to a Brandon Halsey rear naked choke. Other than the Tito Ortiz matchup fiasco, Alexander Shlemenko had fought for 5 and half years without a loss since a 5 round decision loss to Hector Lombard in 2010. Shlemenko has an astounding 60 professional fights with 51 wins, 29 by KO, 8 submissions and 14 decisions.
Melvin Manhoef is a thrilling fighter in his own right, with an electrifying aggressive style that has earned him 27 knockout victories in 29 wins. Opponents who have been victim to Melvin’s extreme striking ferocity must still have nightmares about him. Just ask recent first round knockout casualties Doug Marshall and Evangelista Santos.
Melvin Manhoef is part of the dying breed of high level one dimensional fighter that once made up a large part of MMA talent. Yet it is still exhilarating to watch the pure focused aggression that radiates from Manhoef as he stalks opponents with malicious intent. It is fascinating and fearsome to watch the determined effort with which Melvin Manhoef stalks his prey, looking to violently finish them off with every strike he throws. This one dimensional throwback to an earlier time in |MMA isn’t irrelevant though. He possesses dangerous fight ending explosiveness that changes fortunes.
Alexander Shlemenko is not a one dimensional fighter by any means, but he shares Melvin Manhoef’s love of finishing fights by violent knockout. “Storm” Shlemenko packs some thunder and has 29 of his wins by KO. Shlemenko has a good chin and also has an extensive Russian Sambo base that will serve him well against the single-dimensional Manhoef.
This is a fantastic fight to see and the electricity will be intense between these two highly driven finishers! Melvin Manhoef will be looking to knockout Shlemenko from the opening bell and although many combatants have fallen to his onslaught, Shlemenko won’t be one of them. Shlemenko will use his well-rounded skillset to evade big strikes and will use his ground game to take away his opponents weapons. Shlemenko wins via ground strikes or submission.
Two top of the food chain Featherweights battle in Bellator’s co-main event Friday night. Both these fighters are highly skilled, blue chip fighters, with deep experience and skillsets that are on par with the best Featherweights in the world. These two mixed martial artists are both riding the apex of the evolutionary wave we see transpiring in MMA. Top fighters now carry an array of world class depth and expert proficiency in multiple fight skill sets along with elite level strength, conditioning and mental preparation. Curran and Weichel are great examples of exciting high level fighters possessing well rounded skills and championship heart.
(20-6) Pat Curran has fought in the Bellator promotion since 2010 and in 13 fights has amassed an impressive 10-3 record. He’s the two-time former Bellator MMA featherweight champion, having successfully defended the title twice and interestingly, Curran’s last 6 fights have all been championship fights A well balanced 5 K0s, 7 submissions and 8 decisions rounds off Curran’s 20 professional victories. With two losses in his last three fights Curran hopes to right the ship but knows he has a daunting task in front of him.
Daniel Weichel is a submission specialist with 21 wins by submission, 5 by way of knockout and 8 decisions in his 34 victories. Weichel fought numerous times in the respected M-1 promotion before transitioning to Bellator Fight Promotion a year ago. He has won all three fights but faces a tough out in Pat Curran.
Very exciting stylistic matchup here with Weichel the submission machine against Curran who has 7 submission victories himself including a guillotine choke over Shahbulat Shamhalaev . Curran also carries some knockout power, just ask current Bantamweight Champion Joe Warren. Having never lost by KO may be Curran’s main advantage here. Weichel has been KO’d 4 times so Curran will be trying to test the chin of his opponent whilst also being fully prepared to grapple with his submission machine opponent Weichel.
Curran knows his opponent is well-rounded with highly dangerous Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a deep gas tank. Weichel commits fully when he has a submission opportunity and can end a fight in stunning submission fashion but so can Curran. Both combatants in this evenly matched contest know how to go the distance, can submit their opponents, or can score the KO if given the right opportunity
Pat Curran is on a mission to get the trilogy fight with Patricio Freire and avenge his title fight loss last September. Weichel is a very dangerous submission artist but Curran has only been submitted once and is not going to let that appen. Curran looks for a knockout victory to raise his stock and wins by KO or hard fought decision.
135 lbs. – Sergio da Silva (1-4) vs. Rob Sullivan (2-1) – Silva via TKO
145 lbs. – Ryan Cafaro (0-0) vs. Dan Matala (0-0) – Matala via decision
155 lbs. – Kenny Foster (10-7) vs. Anthony Morrison (17-10) – Morrison via decision
205 lbs. – Liam McGeary (5-0) vs. Najim Wali (3-1) – McGeary via TKO
145 lbs. – Will Martinez (7-2) vs. Kevin Roddy (13-14) – Martinez via submission
205 lbs. – Tom DeBlass (8-2) vs. Jason Lambert (26-12) – DeBlass via decision
170 lbs. – Chip Moraza Pollard (7-4) vs. Sam Oropeza (8-2) – Oropeza via submission
170 lbs. – Nah-Shon Burrell (10-3) vs. Jesus Martinez Jr. (8-4) – Burrell via TKO
135 lbs. – Marcos Galvao (14-6-1) vs. Tom McKenna (7-3)
Galvao has been at the top of Bellator’s Bantamweight division for years now with his aggressive striking and strong grappling. McKenna will be making his Bellator debut coming in with a solid record of 7-3 with 6 of those wins coming via submission. On the feet Galvao will have a big advantage with his fast and powerful punches, while McKenna doesn’t possess much striking ability at all. McKenna will be looking to take this fight to the ground, but Galvao is a black belt in BJJ and has never been submitted. I believe Galvao will keep the fight standing and punish McKenna on the feet. Pick Galvao via TKO.
145 lbs. – Patricio Freire (20-2) vs. Justin Wilcox (13-5-1)
This fight is the finals of the season 9 Featherweight Tournament. Freire got to the finals by KO’ing Diego Nunes and winning a decision over a tough Fabricio Guerreiro. Wilcox advanced through the tournament with a submission win over Akop Stepanyan and a decision win over Joe Taimanglo. On the feet Freire should enjoy a slight advantage with his speed and use of kicks, but Wilcox is no slouch and uses good footwork and boxing. Wilcox may try to use his wrestling skill and take Freire down, but expect Freire to attack with submissions/sweeps if taken down. I believe Wilcox has a chance to grind out a win, but Freire will be the more effective striker and more active grappler. Pick Freire via decision.
265 lbs. – Alexander Volkov (19-3) vs. Vitaly Minakov (12-0)
Volkov will be making his first title defense since winning the vacant title in a fight against Richard Hale at Bellator 84. Minakov earned his title show by winning the 2013 summer series Heavyweight tournament. Volkov is a range striker as he stands at 6’7 and will have an 11 inch reach adv. Minakov is more of a brawler on the feet, but his power is enough to worry Volkov. If Minakov takes this fight to the ground he’ll have a significant advantage with his Sambo background and will likely be able to submit Volkov as well as control him. I believe Minakov will get through the long reach of Volkov, take him down, and finish him on the ground with a submission. Pick Minakov via submission.
205 lbs. – Quinton Jackson (32-11) vs. Joey Beltran (14-9-1)
Rampage Jackson is making his Bellator debut after his departure from the UFC. Jackson was originally expected to face Tito Ortiz in the main event but Ortiz suffered an injury and was replaced by fellow UFC veteran Joey Beltran who is also making his Bellator debut. On the feet Jackson will have a significant advantage with his power, technique and aggressiveness, but Beltran has made a career of being a tough striker so expect him to throw back as long as he’s standing. If this fight goes to the ground expect Jackson to be in top control landing ground and pound, but it should stay standing. I believe Jackson is a much better striker then Beltran and he should find a way to finish him. Pick Jackson via TKO.
155 lbs. – Darren Smith (4-3) vs. Josh Smith (8-5) – J. Smith via TKO
155 lbs. – Mike Guymon (14-6-1) vs. Aaron Miller (14-8) – Guymon via submission
205 lbs. – Brandon Halsey (3-0) vs. Hector Ramirez (9-5) – Halsey via submission
145 lbs. – Joe Camacho (13-18) vs. Cleber Luciano (8-5) – Luciano via decision
170 lbs. – Jesse Juarez (19-8) vs. Joe Williams (8-1) – Juarez via decision
170 lbs. – Alejandro Garcia (14-5) vs. Cristiano Souza (6-0) – Souza via TKO
145 lbs. – Mike Richman (15-3) vs. Akop Stepanyan (13-6)
Richman has compiled a 4-2 record (3 TKO’s) with Bellator, but suffered a tough decision loss in the season 8 tournament final. Stepanyan is on thin ice with Bellator as he’s lost 3 of 4 fights, and his only win was in the Lightweight division. On the feet Stepanyan will have a striking advantage with his power, speed and technique. If Richman uses his wrestling skill to take Stepanyan down and work for submissions then he could win this fight. I believe Richman’s wrestling won’t be good enough to keep Stepanyan down, and Stepanyan will light Richman up on the feet. Pick Stepanyan via TKO.
170 lbs. – Joe Riggs (39-14) vs. Mike Bronzoulis (15-5-1)
This fight will be for the finals of the Fight Master Tournament, as both Riggs and Bronzoulis defeated multiple opponents to get to this fight. Riggs is a long time veteran of the sport, but at only 31 years of age he still has the power and speed to knockout almost any man he fights. Bronzoulis also has heavy hands, good kicks and enough toughness to not be intimidated by Riggs during striking exchanges. On the feet Riggs should have a slight advantage with his aggression and power, but Bronzoulis will be throwing back as long as he’s standing. If Riggs decides to take this fight to the ground he could easily work for a ground and pound finish. I believe Riggs wants to win this tournament badly and will stop at nothing to get that title. Pick Riggs via TKO.
205 lbs. – Muhammed Lawal (11-2) vs. Emanuel Newton (21-7)
This is a rematch fight from Bellator 90 in which Newton was able to avoid the wrestling of King Mo and deliver a spinning back fist for the KO finish. Lawal has some serious wrestling skill and heavy hands, but it’s become clear that his chin isn’t punch proof and he can be KO’d. Newton has shown more complete skills with his dynamic striking, hard kicks and great grappling. On the feet Newton should have an advantage as Lawal will be hesitant to throw, but expect Lawal to take this fight to the ground. On the ground Newton may be able to create scrambles and get back to his feet, but King Mo should be able to keep Newton on the ground for most of the fight and possibly get the TKO finish. Pick Lawal via TKO.
145 lbs. – Pat Curran (19-4) vs. Daniel Straus (21-4)
Curran will be defending his Featherweight Title for the 3rd time against season 6 tournament winner Daniel Straus. Straus had some back luck after winning the tournament as he broke his hand and then had trouble with the law, so he hasn’t fought for Bellator in 1 year. These men actually faced each other earlier in their careers (2009) and Curran won via KO. On the feet Curran will have a significant advantage with his power and boxing technique. Straus will try to put Curran on his back, but that will prove very difficult as Curran is expected to have the better wrestling game for this fight. I believe Straus has had much to long a layoff to come right back and face a champion like Curran. Pick Curran via TKO.
155 lbs. – Michael Chandler (12-0) vs. Eddie Alvarez (24-3)
Chandler and Alvarez put on the fight of the year in 2011 when they met at Bellator 58. Chandler was able to win the majority of the striking exchanges while also controlling Alavarez on the ground until he locked in a rear naked choke for the 4th round finish. Chandler has gone on to successfully defend his title 2 times and finished both opponents. Alvarez bounced back from his loss to Chandler with two 1st round TKO’s over tough opponents. On the feet expect both men to land significant strikes, but Chandler’s fast punches will likely do more damage. On the ground Chandler should again have no little trouble in controlling Alvarez and landing g&p or taking his back. I believe Alvarez will have a better fight then the first match, but Chandler is the champion for a reason. Pick Chandler via decision.
145 lbs. – Desmond Green (8-2) vs. Angelo Sanchez (12-3) – Green via decision
Sanchez will have a definite edge in striking with his punches and kicks, but Green’s game plan will be to land takedowns and ground and pound while avoiding Sanchez’s submission attempts.
265 lbs. – Raphael Butler (6-0) vs. Joseph Bryant (4-2) – Butler via TKO
Bryant is a scrappy fighter with not much technique and Butler is a former pro boxer with a ton of KO power. Butler has enough takedown defence to keep it standing against Bryant and get the finish.
265 lbs. – Josh Lanier (3-7) vs. Volkan Oezdemir (9-0) – Oezdemir via TKO
Lanier will have a height advantage, but expect Oezdemir to have no trouble finding his chin during striking exchanges. Lanier has some slick grappling, but Oezdemir has excellent takedown defense.
135 lbs. – Frank Baca (16-3) vs. Luis Nogueira (15-3) – Nogueira via decision
Both men have great striking and grappling, but Nogueira seems to have harder punches and a better kicking arsenal. If this fight goes to the ground expect scrambles and sub attempts from both fighters.
135 lbs. – Jesse Brock (15-7) vs. Adrian Cruz (5-0) – Cruz via submission
Brock has good striking skill, takedowns and grappling, but Cruz will seemingly have an edge in all those areas. Brock will likely force this into a grappling match and Cruz will find a way to finish with a sub.
170 lbs. – Eddie Larrea (17-23) vs. Rocky Ramirez (4-4) – Ramirez via TKO
Larrea has a ton of experience, good striking and decent grappling, but Ramirez will be the much stronger man, as he typically fights at higher weight classes, and he’ll use that power to get the finish.
135 lbs. – Shawn Bunch (2-0) vs. Steve Garcia (0-0) – Bunch via decision
Bunch is a very talented wrestler, but he hasn’t developed much striking skill, finishing ability or cardio. Garcia is a striker with KO power and may be able to clip Bunch, but expect Bunch to wrestle out a win.
185 lbs. – Eugene Fadiora (12-1) vs. Andreas Spang (8-3)
Fadiora will be making his Bellator debut after building a solid record fighting in the U.K. Spang will be fighting for the 4th time in Bellator and looking to bounce back after a 1st round KO loss to Doug Marshall. Fadiora is primarily a striker with power and speed, but his grappling isn’t amazing although it should be better than Spang’s. Spang is also a striker with good power and he’ll look to keep the fight standing and throw his counter punches. I believe Fadiora will win enough striking exchanges while also getting this fight to the ground and putting Spang in bad positions. Pick Eugene Fadiora via decision.
265 lbs. – Siala-Mou Siliga (4-2) vs. Ron Sparks (8-2)
Siliga won his comeback fight after a 3 year lay-off at Bellator 100 with an impressive 3rd round TKO finish. Sparks has been in a slump losing 2 straight fights via 1st round (1st minute) KO, so as much power as the big man has his chin has become very questionable. On the feet Siliga will have a distinct advantage with his accuracy and speed as he’s previously fought in K-1, and Sparks is more of a brawler. If Sparks gets this fight to the ground he should be able to keep Siliga there and g&p or work for a submission. I believe this fight will stay standing long enough for Siliga to get the finish with his striking. Pick Siala-Mou Siliga via TKO.
155 lbs. – Alexander Sarnavskiy (24-1) vs. Ricardo Tirloni (16-4)
Sarnavskiy has gone 3-0 in Bellator since losing his debut, and showcased his great striking and grappling every match. Tirloni has gone 3-3 in Bellator and proved his grappling is fantastic, but he lacks striking technique which has cost him decision wins. On the feet Sarnavskiy will have an advantage with his technique and height/reach advantage. The ground battles should be fairly even with a lot of scrambles and both men going for submissions. I believe Sarnavskiy will be the more complete fighter for 3 rounds and get the decision win. Pick Alexander Sarnavskiy via decision.
155 lbs. – Saad Awad (15-5) vs. Will Brooks (11-1)
These two men fought before at Bellator 91 and Awad was able to land his hard punches very quickly and finished Brooks via KO. Awad went on to lose the Lightweight tournament final against David Rickels via TKO, but bounced back in his last fight getting a first round submission win. Brooks has gone 2-0 since losing his fight to Awad and looked great in both with his wrestling and striking while proving his chin isn’t made of glass. On the feet Awad will still have an advantage with his speed and power. Brooks will be looking to land takedowns and control Awad on the ground. I believe Awad will get the TKO finish again in this fight, but it should last longer than 43 seconds. Pick Saad Awad via TKO.
170 lbs. – Mike Estus (5-0) vs. Cole Williams (6-1) – Williams via decision
145 lbs. – Derek Loffer (4-1) vs. Cliff Wright Jr. (7-5) – Wright Jr. via submission
155 lbs. – Rod Montoya (15-15) vs. Paul Sass (13-2) – Sass via submission
145 lbs. – Jared Downing (9-3) vs. Rob Emerson (12-10-1) – Emerson via TKO
170 lbs. – Karl Amoussou (16-5) vs. Paul Bradley (20-5) – Amoussou via decision
265 lbs. – Eric Prindle (9-3) vs. Peter Graham (8-5)
Graham will be making his Bellator debut after fighting all over the world in not only MMA but also professional boxing and kickboxing. After losing 2 straight fights Prindle got back on track in his last fight by winning via TKO just 12 seconds into round 1. This fight should stay standing as both men like to keep it standing and trade punches, but if Prindle decides to use his strength he could put Graham in some bad positions on the ground. On the feet Graham should weather any storm from Prindle and pick him apart with his superior striking technique. I believe this fight will mostly be fought on the feet and Graham will go hard for the knockout finish. Pick Peter Graham via TKO.
185 lbs. – Kendall Grove (18-13-1) vs. Joe Vedepo (14-6)
Ex UFC veteran Kendall Grove will be making his Bellator debut against another ex UFC fighter Joe Vedepo. Grove has gone 7-4 since he left the UFC and has looked great with 5 finishes (3 TKO/2 Sub). Vedepo has a lot to prove as he was KO’d by some rather weak ground and pound in his last fight, but that being said Vedepo will walk forward trading punches and has great grappling skill. On the feet Grove will have an advantage with his long reach advantage and he has the power to finish Vedepo. On the ground Grove should again have an advantage with his long limbs and submission attacks. I believe Vedepo will make this a grappling match and Grove will oblige. Pick Kendall Grove via submission.
170 lbs. – War Machine (14-4) vs. Ron Keslar (10-3)
War Machine has gone 2-0 since joining Bellator and finished both of his opponents in great fashion. WM has finished every opponent he’s ever defeated as he’s a very aggressive striker and doesn’t hesitate to lock up a submission. Keslar did well in his Bellator debut against a veteran in Luis Melo Jr. and earned a split decision victory, but his striking and wrestling were very basic. On the feet WM should have a serious advantage with his power and aggressiveness. Keslar will try to take WM to the ground and even if he succeeds once or twice, WM will quickly get back to his feet or put Keslar on his back and work his ground and pound. I believe WM will continue his streak of finishing opponents and get the TKO finish either via G&P or on the feet. Pick War Machine via TKO.
170 lbs. – Brent Weedman (22-8-1) vs. Rick Hawn (16-2)
These two men first fought at Bellator 70 in a bout that went the distance and ended with Hawn’s hand being raised. Weedman attacked with good kicks, but Hawn was able to land more powerful punches and landed a few takedowns plus solid ground and pound to win a unanimous decision. Hawn went on to lose his Lightweight title shot against Michael Chandler, but rebounded with a pair of great wins in the Welterweight division. Weedman also bounced back from his loss to Hawn with a pair of wins, but didn’t look as dominant as Hawn. I believe Hawn is still the better fighter and the fight will go similarly to how the first went with Hawn landing power punches and takedowns.Pick Rick Hawn via decision.
265 lbs. – Brandon Cash (7-3) vs. William Richey (10-1) – Cash via TKO
155 lbs. – Scott Cleve (13-3) vs. Isaac DeJesus (9-5) – Cleve via TKO
265 lbs. – Javy Ayala (5-3) vs. Thiago Santos (11-2) – Santos via TKO
155 lbs. – Brandon Girtz (9-2) vs. Poppies Martinez (26-8) – Martinez via submission
155 lbs. – Jonny Carson (10-6) vs. Bryan Travers (14-3) – Travers via submission
155 lbs. – Cain Carrizosa (4-0) vs. Juan Quesada (2-1) – Quesada via decision
185 lbs. – Joe Pacheco (6-0) vs. Brennan Ward (7-1)
Ward has gone 3-1 in Bellator finishing all his opponents, but also losing his only fight via 1st minute armbar. Pacheco has gone 2-0 in Bellator and has also finished both his opponents. Both men have good striking, but they’re both grapplers at heart and this fight will likely take place on the ground. Ward is a former NCAA division 3 wrestler and it’s translated nicely into MMA so expect him to land takedowns and be on top most of the fight. I believe Pacheco is a tough fighter that will stay there till the end, but Ward should be able to grind out a victory. Pick Brennan Ward via decision.
185 lbs. – Jason Butcher (7-0) vs. Mikkel Parlo (10-1)
Butcher is 4-0 in Bellator with 3 first round submission victories and he won his last fight via TKO. Parlo is 2-1 in Bellator, but his last victory over a very tough Brian Rogers shows his potential. Parlo is very patient on the feet using good foot movement to set up his powerful punches so expect Parlo to have the edge in striking. Butcher does have a brown belt, but he likely won’t get to use it as Parlo will work to keep this fight standing. I believe Parlo is much more talented than Butcher and can beat him anywhere the fight goes. Pick Mikkel Parlo via TKO.
135 lbs. – Rafael Silva (17-3) vs. Anthony Leone (12-5)
Silva is just 1-0 in Bellator, but he’s on a 12 fight win streak with multiple TKO and submission finishes seven of which in the first round. Leone is 3-2 in Bellator and won his fights with decent striking and solid grappling from on top and the bottom. Silva should have an edge in striking with his speed and power, and if this fight goes to the ground Silva will look for sweeps/submissions to maintain control. I believe Silva could TKO Leone, but he’ll likely find a submission first. Pick Rafael Silva via submission.
265 lbs. – Lavar Johnson (17-7) vs. Vinicius Queiroz (6-3)
Johnson was just signed by Bellator after being cut by the UFC after 2 straight losses. Querioz also fought for the UFC, but lost via submission and was cut after testing positive for a banned substance. Both men are heavy handed strikers, but the big difference will be the chin of Queiroz as Johnson can take a punch but Queiroz has shown vulnerability in that area. Queiroz has good submissions and long limbs so if Johnson gets sloppy Queiroz could lock in a submission, but this fight should stay standing. I believe Johnson will simply overpower Queiroz and get a knockout. Pick Lavar Johnson via KO.
265 lbs. – Cheick Kongo (18-8-2) vs. Mark Godbeer (8-1)
Kongo was also just signed by Bellator after deciding to leave the UFC and follow his teammate Rampage Jackson. Godbeer compiled a record of 8-1 with 6 TKO finishes over in the UK before signing with Bellator to face Kongo. Kongo is an excellent technical striker with speed and power, but he started to show signs of a good evolving wrestling game during his later UFC days. Godbeer is also a striker with heavy hands, good kicks and a good chin, but he hasn’t fought anyone near as good as Kongo. I believe Kongo will look to get the TKO finish, but if Godbeer is able to land some good strikes Kongo will look for the takedown and ground and pound. Pick Cheick Kongo via TKO.
155 lbs. – Zack Surdyka (5-1) vs. Efrain Escudero (19-7) – Escudero via submission
Surdyka has some power in his hands and shows real toughness when he fights, but he lacks much of a wrestling game and Escudero will exploit that in this fight and finish Surdyka with g&p or a submission.
135 lbs. – Brandon Bender (11-0) vs. Travis Marx (20-4) – Marx via decision
Bender is a submission happy black belt, but he’ll spend too much time and energy on bottom while Marx defends. Marx isn’t the best striker either, but he should have an advantage over Bender.
170 lbs. – Johnny Buck (12-8) vs. Adam McDonough (8-0) – McDonough via TKO
Buck has good striking, knockout power and good grappling skills, but McDonough is a power house wrestler with good submissions from top. McDonough will likely get the takedown and finish with g&p.
205 lbs. – Clifford Starks (8-2) vs. Joe Yager (5-2) – Starks via TKO
Yager is a tough guy, but Starks is a former NCAA division 1 wrestler and Yager isn’t known for his grappling. Starks will get his takedown and finish Yager with heavy g&p for the TKO finish.
205 lbs. – Liam McGeary (4-0) vs. Beau Tribolet (7-2) – McGeary via TKO
McGeary is a devastating striker with a long reach, power and a ground game to complement his striking skills. Tribolet will be nothing more than a stepping stone for McGeary and likely won’t go the distance.
265 lbs. – Dan Charles (6-0) vs. Siala Mou Siliga (3-2) – Charles via submission
Siliga has an extensive K1 kickboxing background, but he rarely beat tough competition. Charles is a good all-around fighter, but he’ll need to get this fight to the ground where he’ll have a big edge.
145 lbs. – LaRue Burley (2-0) vs. Bubba Jenkins (4-0) – Jenkins via submission
Burley seems to be a striker with knockout power, but Jenkins is a former NCAA division 1 wrestler with enough striking knowledge to not get hurt and still implement his strong wrestling attack.
170 lbs. – Luis Melo Jr. (29-11-3) vs. Ron Keslar (9-3)
Keslar is stepping in on short notice for the injured Matt Riddle and taking on a well-rounded veteran in Luis Melo Jr. Melo has great striking with power, a solid chin, and good takedowns and once on the ground he can finish with g&p or submissions. Keslar has good grappling skills as well, but he hasn’t done well against tough competition in the past and Melo looks to be the better grappler in this fight. I believe Melo will pressure Keslar on the feet until he gets a knockout or until Keslar forces a grappling match in which Melo will find a way to gain dominant positions. Pick Luis Melo Jr. via submission
170 lbs. – Rick Hawn (15-2) vs. Herman Terrado (11-2)
Both fighters are extremely explosive athletes with power, strength and speed. Hawn is a decorated Olympian and a black belt in the sport of Judo, but he 10 KO’s on his record so he’ll trade strikes with opponents too. Terrado is like a bull when he fights just going forward and using his power to overwhelm opponents either on the feet or the ground, but he’ll struggle to get any takedowns in this fight. On the feet it’s very even and either fighter could land a strike and get the finish. I believe Hawn will win enough striking exchanges while also landing nice trip takedowns. Pick Rick Hawn via decision.
170 lbs. – War Machine (13-4) vs. Vaughn Anderson (16-1-1)
Anderson has spent his entire MMA career in Asia fighting lesser competition, but still showcasing good striking with power and decent grappling. War Machine looked great last fight in his Bellator debut after a long layoff and showed no rust as his striking and grappling were on point. On the feet War Machine will have an edge in boxing, speed and power. War Machine will also be able to get takedowns if he wants and land solid ground and pound, but he’ll likely decide to stand and trade. I believe War Machine is a much more talented fighter than Anderson and will welcome him to North America with a beating. Pick War Machine via TKO.
170 lbs. – Brent Weedman (21-8-1) vs. Justin Baesman (14-3)
Weedman is a Bellator veteran now with 10 fights under the promotion and always brings a good fight with his striking, takedowns and grappling. Baesman is making his Bellator debut on a 4 fight win streak and has showed very powerful striking and a good chin, but his technique isn’t very fluid nor is his head movement which Weedman could capitalize on. Weedman will mix in takedown attempts and likely secure at least 1 per round, and once on the ground Baesman will have a hard time getting back to his feet. I believe Baesman has the power to win this fight, but Weedman will be the better all-around fighter. Pick Brent Weedman via decision.
170 lbs. – Ben Saunders (16-5-2) vs. Douglas Lima (24-5)
This fight will be a rematch from Bellator 57 in which Lima won via KO in the 2nd round. Saunders threatened early with hard kicks, knees and a scramble that turned into mount position for Saunders. Lima then found his range in the 2nd and quickly put away Saunders with a hard right hand and g&p. Since that fight Saunders has gone 4-1 with 2 finishes and Lima has gone 3-1 with 3 finishes and his only loss was to champion Ben Askren. This fight should stay standing for the most part and go similarly to how the first fight went with Saunders throwing hard kicks and Lima looking to counter with a big punch or kick of his own. If Saunders can get this fight to the ground multiple times and land his heavy g&p then he could steal a judge’s decision. I believe Saunders will put up a good fight again, but Lima will ultimately get the TKO finish during a striking exchange. Pick Douglas Lima via TKO.
145 lbs. – Patricio Freire (5-2 BFC) vs. Jared Downing (2-0 BFC)
Downing is coming in as a late replacement for Rob Emerson due to an injury. Downing hasn’t fought in Bellator since 2010, but he’s gone 4-2 in other organizations and was more than willing to step up and take on Freire. Freire last fought in January for the BFC Featherweight Championship against Pat Curran, but came up short losing a 5 round split decision. Downing is a good striker with fast hands and a decent amount of power, but he also has good takedowns which he’ll need to use in this fight. Freire is a much better striker with more techniques, speed and power. Freire is also a very dangerous BJJ black belt so Downing will likely be in trouble on the ground too. I believe Freire will keep it standing and overwhelm Downing with his striking eventually getting the TKO finish. Pick Patricio Freire via TKO.
265 lbs. – Ryan Martinez (3-1 BFC) vs. Vitaly Minakov (2-0 BFC)
Martinez has been a surprise for Bellator after going 1-1 in his first two fights, both going the distance, he has gone 2-0 with 2 KO’s. Minakov didn’t need as much time as he was able to get his 2 KO’s in his first two BFC fights. Martinez has good wrestling skills as he was a former 2-time All-American in high school before having personal problems. He also has very powerful punches and a great chin making Martinez a tough match-up for any BFC Heavyweight. Minakov also has a lot of power in punches, likely more than Martinez, and he also has great striking technique along with a tough chin. Minakov’s best weapon is his grappling skills as he is of Olympic caliber in both Sambo and Judo. I believe Minakov’s striking will be too much for Martinez, and if this fight does go to the ground Minakov will be on top landing huge punches. Pick Vitaly Minakov via TKO.
205 lbs. – Muhammed Lawal (2-1 BFC) vs. Jacob Noe (3-1 BFC)
King Mo was able to get back on track in his last fight against Seth Petruzelli with a 1st round KO finish. Noe last fought Renato Sobral and was also able to get back in the win column with a 3rd round TKO finish. Lawal will have confidence in his striking, but his top notch wrestling skills would really help him in this fight. Noe is also a good boxer with a lot of power, but his wrestling isn’t nearly as good as Lawal’s and he likely doesn’t have the grappling skills to submit Lawal. I believe Lawal should easily win this fight by taking Noe down and working his ground and pound, but Lawal may decide to stand and trade strikes after a 1st round KO in his last BFC fight. Pick Muhammed Lawal via TKO.
170 lbs. – Ben Askren (8-0 BFC) vs. Andrey Koreshkov (5-0 BFC)
This fight is a BFC Welterweight Championship Match between tournament winner Andrey Koreshkov and Champion Ben Askren. Koreshkov is a very talented and undefeated fighter with amazing boxing skills, heavy hands and very good grappling skills. Askren is also a very talented and undefeated fighter, but his striking skills aren’t as polished as Koreshkov’s so he’ll rely on his unstoppable wrestling ability to put Koreshkov on his back. This fight will likely go as Askren plans it too with multiple takedowns, transitions and ground and pound. Koreshkov still has a great chance to get the knockout while they’re standing, but he’ll need to find a way to stuff takedowns or get off his back in order to really unload with his striking. I believe Askren will get his takedowns and defend his belt. Pick Ben Askren via decision.
155 lbs. – Michael Chandler (8-0 BFC) vs. David Rickels (8-1 BFC)
The main event is a BFC Lightweight Championship Match between tournament winner David Rickels and Champion Michael Chandler. Chandler is an NCAA division 1 wrestler with explosive speed and power in his takedowns and ground and pound. Chandler has also worked hard to improve his striking and it’s paid off. Rickels also has good wrestling and striking, but Chandler will have a definite edge in wrestling and a serious advantage with speed. Both fighters have KO power on the feet, but Rickels doesn’t have the best head movement and Chandler will take advantage of it. If Chandler decides to take this fight to the ground Rickels likely won’t be able to stuff his takedowns or stop his ground and pound. I believe Chandler will decisively defend his belt against Rickels. Pick Michael Chandler via TKO.
185 lbs. – Keith Berry (14-10) vs. Cortez Coleman (9-3) – Berry via submission
If this fight stays standing either man could get the TKO finish, but if Berry uses his grappling in this fight he should be able to get the submission finish over Coleman.
145 lbs. – Jarrod Card (13-6-1) vs. Chas Skelly (10-0) – Skelly via decision
Skelly is a very strong wrestler with submission skills, but his striking is very raw which gives Card a huge punchers chance in this fight. Skelly should still be able to use his wrestling to grind out a win.
135 lbs. – Mike Maldonado (4-0) vs. Chavous Smith (2-3) – Maldonado via submission
Smith has good striking and good submissions, but his grappling defense is weak. Maldonado may be able to win this with his striking, but if he takes Smith down he should be able to lock in a submission.
155 lbs. – Damon Jackson (5-0) vs. Keith Miner (5-4) –Jackson via submission
Both fighters are similar in style, but Jackson hits harder and will likely be on top if this fight goes to the ground. From top control he’ll rain down punches until he gets the TKO or Miner gives up a submission.
135 lbs. – Steven Artoff (5-1) vs. Justin McNally (1-1) – Artoff via submission
McNally is a strong kid with good wrestling skills, but Artoff although roughly the same age has shown more overall skill. McNally will likely get his takedown, but Artoff will eventually lock in a submission.
205 lbs. – Brandon Halsey (3-0) vs. Joe Yager (5-1) – Halsey via decision
Yager will try to push the action with his grinding style, but he lacks cardio and Halsey will take advantage of that plus Yager’s weak striking.
Catch weight (155) – Brandon Girtz (8-2) vs. Derek Campos (10-3) – Girtz via decision
Girtz will likely have an advantage in the striking, but this fight will probably go to the ground where Girtz will use his ground and pound or submissions to try and finish Campos.
265 lbs. – Raphael Butler (5-0) vs. Jeremiah O’Neil (12-21) – O’Neil via submission
Butler is a former pro boxer with a ton of power, but he hasn’t been tested by a true grappler and O’Neil will definitely force this into a grappling match if he doesn’t get KO’d first.
265 lbs. – Ryan Martinez (9-2) vs. Richard Hale (21-5-1)
Martinez is a late replacement for this fight as Vinicius Queiroz had to pull out of the fight due to injury. Hale is a great boxer with heavy hands and he has great submission/grappling skills that most heavyweights don’t have. Martinez is a heavy handed brawler with good wrestling, but if he goes to the ground with Hale it won’t be long before he gets submitted. On the feet Martinez definitely has a chance to get the KO, but Hale could also get the finish. I believe Hale will come out willing to trade punches, but he’ll eventually look for the takedown so he can expose Martinez’s grappling defense. Pick Richard Hale to win via submission.
265 lbs. – Ron Sparks (8-1) vs. Vitaly Minakov (10-0)
Sparks is a true heavyweight with a thick frame that provides him with power, but also hurts him in terms of conditioning. Minakov fights at around 245lbs. as opposed to 265lbs. for Sparks, but Minakov seems like the real deal with his heavy hands and grappling skills so the weight difference shouldn’t matter. On the feet Minakov will be too fast for Sparks and will have to easy a time finding his target. Sparks, although a decent striker himself lacks good striking defense and Minakov will finish him likely how Eric Prindle did. If this fight goes to the ground Minakov will be doing damage from top control or looking for sweeps/submissions from the bottom. I believe Minakov is a much better all-around fighter then Sparks, but he’ll try to beat him at his own game. Pick Vitaly Minakov to win via TKO.
170 lbs. – War Machine (12-4) vs. Blas Avena (8-6)
Jon Koppenhaver (War Machine) is a true finisher with all his wins either coming via KO or submission, but 3 of his losses came via submission. Avena is also a duel threat with good striking and even better submission skills. War Machine last fought in Nov. 2011 so ring rust will be huge for him while Avena is fresh off a KO win in Feb. On the feet either man could get the KO finish, but Avena would be smart to take War Machine to the ground and work for a submission so he can test War Machines cardio. I believe Avena has the tools to win this fight in any area, but his grappling is his best weapon. Pick Blas Avena to win via submission.
205 lbs. – Renato Sobral (37-10) vs. Jacob Noe (11-2)
Noe had a 2-0 Bellator record with 2 first round TKO’s before he ran into the submission skills of Mikhail Zayats, so now he’s being tested again by another experienced grappler. Sobral fought in the UFC for a while, but has mostly bounced around organizations tapping out his opponents with his BJJ skill. Noe has some very heavy hands and good wrestling skills so he’ll look to keep this fight on the feet where he can land power punches. Sobral has some striking ability himself, but his chin can’t take a punch anymore and he’s never really had good takedowns so this seems like a bad matchup for him. I believe Sobral will fight a smart fight and give Noe some problems, but Noe has good enough wrestling to keep it standing and the striking skill to finish Sobral. Pick Jacob Noe to win via TKO.
205 lbs. – Muhammed Lawal (9-2) vs. Seth Petruzelli (14-7)
King Mo had another set-back in his last fight against Emanuel Newton where he lost via TKO. Petruzelli is also coming off a TKO loss to Jacob Noe, but it’s clear that Petruzelli will have the advantage in striking against King Mo. Lawal does have big power in his punches, but he lacks really good technique and defense so he should look to use his wrestling skills. Petruzelli is a really good kickboxer with a black belt in BJJ so he should be comfortable wherever the fight goes. I believe Petruzelli could get the KO finish, but Lawal will likely use his wrestling in this fight to either get the finish or grind out a victory. Pick Muhammed Lawal to win via decision.
205 lbs. – Liam McGeary (3-0) vs. Anton Talamantes (5-3) – McGeary via TKO
145 lbs. – Brylan van Artsdalen (7-5) vs. Kevin Roddy (12-14-1) – Artsdalen via submission
Catchweight 173 lbs. – Sam Oropeza (7-2) vs. Shedrick Goodridge (3-4) – Oropeza via submission
Catchweight 188 lbs. – Tom DeBlass (7-2) vs. Carlos Brooks (4-2) – Deblass via submission
Catchweight 140 lbs. – Jimmie Rivera (11-1) vs. Brian Kelleher (8-3) – Rivera via decision
170 lbs. – Lyman Good (14-3) vs. Dante Rivera (15-6) – Good via TKO
145 lbs. – Michael Brent Hess (3-1) vs. Will Martinez (5-2-1) – Martinez via submission
155 lbs. – Phillipe Nover (6-4) vs. Darrell Horcher (7-0) – Horcher via TKO
170 lbs. – Karo Parisyan (22-9-1) vs. Rick Hawn (14-2)
Parisyan is better known for his time with the UFC, but he has since lost a step. Hawn and Parysian both have black belts in Judo so the grappling exchanges should be fairly even. On the feet both men again have similar styles with their winging punches so either fighter could get caught with a punch, but it’s more likely that Hawn will land a power punch. I believe Hawn is a younger version of Parisyan and he’ll just be too fast and explosive for Parisyan. Pick Rick Hawn to win via TKO.
145 lbs. – Frodo Khasbulaev (20-5) vs. Mike Richman (15-2)
Frodo has bursted onto the Bellator scene going 4-0 and finishing all of his opponents. Richman has also had a lot of success in Bellator going 4-1, but it’s clear that his style doesn’t match-up well with Frodo. Frodo is a champion at Sambo and will be too much too much for Richman to handle on the ground. On the feet Richman stands more of a chance, but again Frodo is a very fast and tricky striker so I expect him to have the advantage there as well. Pick Frodo Khasbulaev to win via submission.
185 lbs. – Doug Marshall (17-6) vs. Brett Cooper (19-7)
Marshall has done very well to advance this far by taking out two opponents when he was seemingly the underdog. Cooper has done even better in my opinion by beating up two tougher fighters to advance to this spot. On the feet Marshall definitely has a chance to TKO Cooper, but Cooper has shown that all he needs sometimes is to get hit and then he fires back with his own power punches. In my opinion if you can go the distance with Alexander Shlemenko, then Doug Marshall shouldn’t be a problem. Pick Brett Cooper to win via decision.
145 lbs. – Pat Curran (18-4) vs. Shahbulat Shamhalaev (12-1-1)
Curran is a very talented champion with tons of heart, but styles make fights and Shamhalaev’s style will definitely cause Curran problems. Curran likes to use his technical boxing, but he’s a slow starter and even if he heats up it will still likely be Shamhalaev who lands better strikes. If Curran decides to wrestle for this fight he stands a better chance, but Shamhalaev is well versed in many disciplines that he has likely also picked up wrestling just as fast and his quick footwork will help as well. I believe we will all see something of an upset at Bellator 95 when Curran loses. Pick Shahbulat Shamhalaev to win via TKO.
170 lbs. – Kenny Moss (5-3) vs. Julien Williams (3-1) – Williams via decision
155 lbs. – Patrick Cenoble (9-2) vs. Tony Fryklund (14-9) – Cenoble via TKO
155 lbs. – James Edson Berto (16-10-1) vs. Bruno Carvalho (8-2) – Carvalho via decision
265 lbs. – Rob Horton (0-0) vs. Augusto Sakai (3-0) – Sakai via TKO
115 lbs. – Jessica Aguilar (14-4) vs. Patricia Vidonic (7-4) – Aguilar via decision
115 lbs. – Heather Clark (5-3) vs. Felice Herrig (8-4) – Herrig via decision
135 lbs. – Ronnie Rogers vs. Joe Taimanglo (17-4-1) – Taimanglo via submission
135 lbs. – Rodrigo Lima (10-1) vs. Ronnie Mann (21-5-1)
This will be an exciting match-up between two highly skilled Jiu-Jitsu artists. Mann will likely have an edge in the striking against Lima with his experience and speed. If or when this fight goes to the ground it will again be Mann who should have the advantage, but if Lima is going to win this fight anywhere it’s off his back with a submission. Mann should be able to control Lima for the majority of the fight with solid striking and dominant positions. I believe Mann will win this fight on the scorecards as this particular match-up will be hard for him to finish. Pick Ronnie Mann to win via decision.
185 lbs. – Trey Houston (10-1) vs. Luis Melo (28-11-3)
Houston will be fighting in Bellator for the second time and looking to bounce back after his first career loss. Melo will be making his Bellator debut, but don’t expect to see him worried as he has a ton of experience in MMA. Unfortunately that experience doesn’t make your chin KO proof and Melo will likely suffer that fate against Houston. If this fight goes to the ground Melo might be able to submit Houston, but Houston is strong enough that he can control where this fight goes. I believe both fighters will keep it standing just long enough for Houston to connect with a heavy punch that finishes Melo. Pick Trey Houston to win via TKO.
205 lbs. – Emanuel Newton (20-7-1) vs. Mikhail Zayats (21-6)
This fight determines the Champion of the season 8 Light Heavyweight Tournament Final. Newton has been very impressive with Bellator earning 2 submissions and a spinning back fist KO over King Mo Lawal to reach the finals. Zayats is enjoying his first run with Bellator and has earned himself a submission and TKO stoppage to get to the finals, but Newton will be the best fighter he’s faced thus far. Newton will be able to take Zayats down at will during this fight and that should end up being the main factor in the fight. Pick Emanuel Newton to win via submission.
155 lbs. – Saad Awad (14-4) vs. David Rickels (13-1)
This fight determines the Champion of the season 8 Lightweight Tournament Final. Rickels has found much success as a Lightweight by being able to bully his opponents around and basically beat them up. Awad has reach the finals by KO’ing both opponents he’s faced in this tournament, and he’s also finished all 6 of his last opponents. This is a tricky fight to predict because Rickels can take a punch and answer with one of his own or a takedown, but Awad has looked so great his last two fights. I believe the lack of head movement on Rickels part will be his downfall and Awad will get another stoppage victory. Pick Saad Awad to win via TKO.
155 lbs. – Jesse Erickson (1-0) vs. Jon Lemke (0-0) – Lemke via TKO
185 lbs. – Dave Vitkay (11-12-1) vs. Jesse Peterson (7-2) – Peterson via TKO
185 lbs. – Jason Butcher (5-0) vs. Jack Hermansson (5-1) – Butcher via decision
185 lbs. – Pierre Pierry (3-2) vs. Joe Pacheco (5-0) – Pacheco via submission
205 lbs. – Brent Dillingham (0-0) vs. Mike Mucitelli (4-0) – Mucitelli via submission
170 lbs. – Ryan Sanders (4-3) vs. Michael Page (3-0) – Page via TKO
145 lbs. – Vince Murdock (1-0) vs. Joe Raio (0-1) – Murdock via TKO
170 lbs. – Marcus Davis (21-9) vs. Waachiim Spiritwolf (9-11-1)
Davis is known for his boxing skills that he showcased during his time with the UFC, but he also possesses a strong grappling game. Spiritwolf is more of a brawler but he’ll have just as much power as Davis. Davis will have an advantage on the ground, whether it be getting back to his feet or controlling Spiritwolf and attacking with submissions. I believe Spiritwolf will make it a fight and has a chance to win, but Davis is the more well-rounded fighter. Pick Marcus Davis to win via decision.
265 lbs. – Ryan Martinez (8-2) vs. Travis Wiuff (68-16)
Wiuff clearly brings a lot of experience into this fight with 22 wins via knockout, 23 wins via submission (however 15 were submission via punches) and 23 wins via decision. Martinez isn’t as seasoned in the sport, but he does have a lot of power and decent grappling, so if he can catch Wiuff and maintain top control he has a chance. Wiuff likes to use his wrestling and go for ground and pound, but he also has a brown belt in BJJ which he’ll be able to use on the weaker grappling of Martinez. I believe Wiuff will put Martinez on his back every round until he finishes him with strikes. Pick Travis Wiuff to win via TKO.
155 lbs. – Dave Jansen (18-2) vs. Marcin Held (15-2)
This fight is the Finals of the Season 7 Lightweight Tournament. Jansen is undefeated inside the Bellator octagon and for good reason with his boxing skills and strong wrestling base. Held is nearly undefeated inside Bellator with his only loss coming against Champion Michael Chandler back in season 4. Held is a highly decorated grappler and he’s shown that his submission game has a variety of attacks. This is a tricky fight to predict, but I believe Jansen’s wrestling is good enough to keep this fight on the feet where he can beat up Held and test his striking. Pick Dave Jansen to win via decision.
145 lbs. – Cleber Luciano (8-4) vs. Eric Uresk (7-5) – Luciano via submission
170 lbs. – Sabah Homasi (5-3) vs. Ricky Legere Jr. (15-4) – Legere Jr. via submission
185 lbs. – Keith Berry (13-10) vs. Richard Rigmaden (2-3) – Berry via TKO
265 lbs. – Maurice Jackson (3-2) vs. Manny Lara (4-2) – Jackson via TKO
145 lbs. – Aaron Miller (13-8) vs. Shad Smith (12-16) – Miller via decision
205 lbs. – Brandon Halsey (2-0) vs. Rocky Ramierz (4-3) – Halsey via submission
145 lbs. – Alexandre Bezerra (15-2) vs. Mike Richman (14-2)
This is a Featherweight tournament semi-final bout to determine who goes to the finals to face the winner of the Sandro/Khasbulaev fight. Bezerra is a top level fighter with his only losses coming via submission to Charles Oliveira and via split decision to Marlon Sandro. Bezerra has mostly finished his opponents by submission but he also has KO power on the feet. Richman has gone 3-1 in Bellator winning all his fights via (T)KO, but he also lost to top contender Shahbulat Shamhalaev via KO, so expect the striking exchanges in this fight to be even. On the ground Bezerra will have a definite advantage to the point where he’ll be able to control or submit Richman. I believe Richman has a small chance to win this fight, but Bezerra will do enough on the feet, win the grappling battles and likely submit Richman. Pick Alexandre Bezerra to win via submission.
145 lbs. – Marlon Sandro (24-4) vs. Frodo Khasbulaev (19-5)
This is a Featherweight tournament semi-final bout to determine who goes to the finals to face the winner of the Bezerra/Richman fight. Sandro is known for his high level BJJ, but he bring many weapons into fights including powerful striking, cardio and solid defense as he’s only been finished once in his career. Khasbulaev is a very active fighter that uses footwork very well to set up his striking. Khasbulaev is also known for his Sambo style grappling which may provide him with an edge in this fight if Sandro spends too much time on the bottom. I believe Sandro has a good chance to win this fight, but Khasbulaev has never been finished on the feet and should spend more time in top control. Pick Frodo Khasbulaev to win via decision.
185 lbs. – Doug Marshall (16-6) vs. Sultan Aliev (9-0)
This is a Middleweight tournament semi-final bout to determine who goes to the finals to face the winner of the Cooper/Cramer fight. Marshall is now 2-0 in Bellator and has showcased his power and striking in both fights, but that’s where it ends with Marshall’s abilities as he doesn’t have the best grappling game. Aliev has an undefeated record for a reason as he’s been able to implement his raw power style on every fighter he’s faced. Aliev is a decorated Sambo fighter, but has never submitted an opponent rather just use his style to hold opponents down and beat on them until the refs jumps in. Aliev also has striking skills, but he’ll most likely just take Marshall down where it will be a miss-match. I believe Aliev will easily finish Marshall in this fight with ground and pound and advance to the finals. Pick Sultan Aliev to win via TKO.
185 lbs. – Brett Cooper (18-7) vs. Dan Cramer (10-3)
This is a Middleweight tournament semi-final bout to determine who goes to the finals to face the winner of the Marshall/Aliev fight. Both men are on win streaks and will enter the octagon with almost identical styles. Cooper and Cramer both have solid grappling games and neither should be able to gain an advantage over, although it will likely be Cooper who attempts the takedowns. On the feet both men can brawl and take a punch, but they have both been TKO’d before as well so either fighter could get caught with a punch and finished. I believe Cramer will be able to stuff the majority of Cooper’s takedowns and get the better of the striking exchanges. Pick Dan Cramer to win via decision.
185 lbs. – Brennan Ward (5-1) vs. Vadiano La Luz (1-2) – Ward via TKO
135 lbs. – Holly Holm (2-0) vs. Katie Merrill (1-0) – Holm via TKO
155 lbs. – Blas Avena (7-6) vs. Lenny Lovato (8-1) – Avena via submission
135 lbs. – Felipe Chavez (5-3) vs. Russell Wilson (1-1) – Chavez via submission
265 lbs. – Josh Appelt (8-2) vs. Josh Lanier (3-6) – Appelt via TKO
205 lbs. – Anton Talamantes (5-3) vs. Liam McGeary (3-0) – McGeary via TKO
135 lbs. – Adrian Cruz (3-0) vs. Nick Gonzalez (3-0) – Gonzalez via submission
135 lbs. – Ed West (17-7) vs. Josh Montoya (10-7)
Montoya is making his Bellator debut against the very dangerous Ed West. West is a very slick grappler and showed those skills off when he put Champion Eduardo Dantas into tight submissions and swept from the bottom position. West fought top contender Marcos Galvao in his last fight and showed off much improved striking, while also nearly submitting Galvao. Montoya also has a grappling base with 7 of his 10 wins coming via submission, but he’s also lost twice via submission so he can be beat on the ground. West has never been submitted in his career so I don’t expect Montoya to catch him with any submission in this fight. I believe West will get the better of the striking and the grappling exchanges and once Montoya makes a mistake West will finish him. Pick Ed West to win via submission.
155 lbs. – David Rickels (12-1) vs. Jason Fischer (6-1)
This will be a rematch from Bellator 82 in a fight that saw Rickels win via unanimous decision. That fight was in late Nov. of last year, so neither fighter has had much time to develop their skills. The first fight was back and forth for the entire 3 rounds with both fighters seeing success in their striking and grappling. Fischer frustrated Rickels with his speed, but every time Rickels landed it would hurt Fischer. Both fighters attacked with submissions and swept from the bottom, but Rickels did enough to impress the judges and won the second and third rounds. I believe the striking exchanges will be similar to the first fight, but the difference this time will be Rickels not allowing Fischer to escape from bad positions while on the ground. Pick David Rickels to win via decision.
155 lbs. – Will Brooks (9-0) vs. Saad Awad (13-4)
In another Lightweight tournament semi-final bout the undefeated Will Brooks will face the always dangerous Saad Awad. Brooks has faced a lot of grappling based fighters during his pro career and has always come out on top by escaping tight submissions and replying with solid ground and pound. Brook’s striking is also very solid, but Awad’s reckless style could cause Brooks problems if he’s able to connect on Brook’s chin. That same reckless style could cause Awad problems if Brooks is able to duck under and secure takedowns. If this fight does go to the ground, which it likely will, expect Brook’s to maintain top control and escape submissions. I believe both fighters have a chance to win this fight, but Brooks should be able to take advantage of Awad’s mistakes. Pick Will Brooks to win via decision.
205 lbs. – Christian M’Pumbu (18-4-1) vs. Attila Vegh (28-4-2)
M’Pumbu will be defending his Light Heavyweight title against a very game Attila Vegh. M’Pumbu hasn’t fought in over a year since he lost a non-title fight to Travis Wiuff. Prior to that M’Pumbu ran through every Bellator fighter he faced with superior striking and solid grappling. It was clear in M’Pumbu’s last fight that he struggled with the size of Wiuff, but M’Pumbu is capable of grappling with most Light Heavyweights including Vegh. Vegh was able to KO Wiuff early in his last fight, but prior to that fight Vegh had a less impressive performance winning a split decision over Emmanuel Newton. Vegh also got rocked against Zelg Galesic before he returned fire and submitted him. I believe the year long layoff for M’Pumbu won’t be a factor and M’Pumbu will be able to control the striking while also countering any of Vegh grappling attacks. Pick Christian M’Pumbu to win via decision.
Bellator 90: Shamhalaev vs. Martinez
135lbs – Chase Beebe (24-8-1) vs. Travis Marx (19-4) – Beebe via decision
170lbs – Jesse Juarez (18-8) vs. Jordan Smith (17-4-1) – Juarez via decision
170lbs – Dave Allred (11-4) vs. Sean Powers (6-3) – Allred via submission
185lbs – Lionel Lanham (4-1) vs. Joe Rodriguez (0-0) *No Prediction*
205lbs – Jacob Noe (11-1) vs. Mikhail Zayats (20-6)
This fight will be a semi-final matchup in the season 8 Light Heavyweight tournament. Noe is a big brawler with a 2 for 2 record in Bellator both coming by TKO. Zayats is a very experienced fighter with a black belt in BJJ, a high level Sambo game and great striking with power. Zayats is 1-0 in Bellator with a TKO victory over Renato Sobral, but it is usually his submission game that wins him fights. The power advantage might go to Noe, but Zayats will likely hit Noe more which will easily swing the advantage. Noe has shown a lack of good head movement and there are holes in his takedown defense which are two things that Zayats will be able to capitalize on. I believe Zayats will have the advantage on the feet, and once Noe starts to initiate clinches/takedowns Zayats will use his grappling game to get a submission. Pick Mikhail Zayats to win via submission.
170lbs – Raul Amaya (11-1) vs. Ben Saunders (15-5-2)
This fight will be a semi-final matchup in the season 8 Welterweight tournament. These two men already fought once before at Bellator 63 and it resulted in Ben Saunders winning via unanimous decision. The fight was back and forth with Amaya landing good punches and securing some takedowns, but Saunders countered the whole night by taking the stand-up into the clinch and working his knees while seemingly allowing takedowns so he could work his submission game. Saunders did an amazing job of using his BJJ and long limbs to put Amaya in bad positions throughout the fight which likely won him the decision. Neither fighter has changed much as that fight was less than a year ago, so I believe Saunders will put on another great performance. Pick Ben Saunders to win via submission.
170lbs – Bryan Baker (18-4) vs. Douglas Lima (23-5)
This fight will be a semi-final matchup in the season 8 Welterweight tournament. Baker is a Bellator veteran and former Middleweight that had some success in the weight class. As a Welterweight Baker has defeated Carlos Pereira via split decision and Ben Saunders via unanimous decision, but lost via submission to Karl Amoussou in under a minute. Baker is a very tough striker with power in his kicks and punches, but has also been KO’d and even though those KO losses were at Middleweight it’s a sign that Baker’s chin isn’t rock solid. Lima is also a Bellator veteran that has spent his time with the organization at Welterweight, but did compete at Middleweight in the past so the size of Baker shouldn’t be a factor. Lima is known for his multiple KO/TKO victories, but he also has a lot of skill on the ground and should this fight go to the mat Lima will have the advantage. I believe both men will come out striking and look to keep it standing until only one man is left standing, and you can expect that man to be Lima. Pick Douglas Lima to win via TKO.
205lbs – Muhammed Lawal (9-1) vs. Emanuel Newton (19-7-1)
This fight will be a semi-final matchup in the season 8 Light Heavyweight tournament. King Mo is still a very raw fighter, but it’s hard to dispute his talent the way he uses his wrestling and ground and pound. Newton is also a good wrestler, but he will likely still get taken down and beaten up. Newton will look to keep this fight standing where he might be able to take advantage of Lawal’s less technical striking. I believe King Mo will steam roll past Newton with superior wrestling and heavy ground and pound on route to the tournament finals. Pick Muhammed Lawal to win via TKO.
145lbs – Shahbulat Shamhalaev (11-1-1) vs. Rad Martinez (14-2) – Martinez via decision
This fight is the season 7 Featherweight tournament final. Shamhalaev has had a very good start with Bellator winning both fights via TKO against tough competition. Martinez is a very strong wrestler with good boxing, but he’ll definitely want to take this fight to the ground. Martinez has used his wrestling in reverse for his last couple of fights and now that he is facing a striker Martinez will be looking to show off that NCAA Division 1 wrestling skill. Shamhalaev should be able to stuff a few takedowns and make Martinez pay for it, but I believe Martinez will push the pace and make this a complete wrestling match. Shamhalaev has a huge punchers chance in this fight because it’s still unclear whether or not Martinez will strike with him, but he’s a wrestler for a reason. Pick Rad Martinez to win via decision.
Bellator 89: Dantas vs. Galvao
265lbs – Mont McCullens (2-3) vs. David Mejia (4-0) – McCullens via TKO
205lbs – Aaron Johnson (11-10) vs. Brennan Ward (5-0) – Ward via TKO
185lbs – Sultan Aliev (8-0) vs. Mikkel Parlo (9-0) – Aliev via decision
205lbs – Kyle Bolt (6-2) vs. Joe Pacheco (4-0) – Pacheco via TKO
170lbs – Johnny Buck (11-8) vs. Chris Mierzwiak (4-2) – Buck via decision
145lbs – Nathan Davis (4-0) vs. Tim Goodwin (7-3) – Goodwin via TKO
185lbs – Doug Marshall (15-6) vs. Andreas Spang (8-2)
Spang and Marshall are both back and ready to put on a good show for Bellator. Both men love to strike, although if the fight goes to the ground, they both have skills there as well. Spang will have an advantage in the striking department as he has experience at the K-1 level and went the distance with a vicious Maiquel Falcao. Marshall is a tough brawler but he has also been knocked out 5 times in his career and Spang has only lost via submission and decision. Marshall likely won’t have the skills to submit Spang, but Spang may be able to submit Marshall. I believe Spang has the skills to win this fight wherever the fight goes, it just depends on Marshalls game plan. Pick Andreas Spang to win via TKO.
185lbs – Brett Cooper (17-7) vs. Norman Paraisy (10-2-1)
Cooper is typically on the undercard for Bellator events but his last victories over tough fighters like Jared Hess and Darryl Cobb have earned him a spot in the season 8 Middleweight tournament. Paraisy has only ever lost 2 fights, but they’ve both been when he fought with Bellator, which likely means his brawling style doesn’t work against top tier fighters. Paraisy has wild punches, good kicks and a decent grappling game, but he’s usually in top control when he goes for submissions. Cooper will not only be able to stuff Paraisy’s takedowns, but he’ll probably put Paraisy on his back multiple times this fight. On the feet Paraisy definitely has the ability to land big shots against Cooper, but Cooper will throw back strong strikes as well. I believe Cooper will use some striking but mostly wrestling and ground and pound to beat up Paraisy and advance to round 2. Pick Brett Cooper to win via decision.
185lbs – Dan Cramer (9-3) vs. Brian Rogers (10-4)
Cramer got his start in the Ultimate Fighter house but left the competition due to injury and has since had a great MMA career. Cramer has good boxing and grappling, but doesn’t really bring the explosiveness or speed needed to strike with Rogers. Rogers will be taking his 3rd crack at the Bellator Middleweight tournament championship and has yet to have a problem in the opening round, winning both fights via KO. Rogers is a very talented striker so expect him to land several power strikes to the head of Cramer. Cramer will probably look to take Rogers down, but that won’t be easy as Rogers has shown impressive takedown defence in the past. Pick Brian Rogers to win via KO.
135lbs – Eduardo Dantas (14-3) vs. Marcos Galvão (13-5-1)
Dantas will be defending his Bantamweight Title against challenger Marcos Galvao in the main event. Both Dantas and Galvao have black belts in BJJ, but it doesn’t look like they’re going to show off any fancy submissions. Galvao always comes to brawl and has always shown great takedown defense as well as being able to get back to his feet. Dantas likes to strike with his opponents too, but is more willing to go to the ground to finish his opponent. On the feet I expect the fight to be very even between Galvao pressuring and Dantas countering, but the difference will be Dantas getting this fight to the ground where he can likely get to dominant positions. Pick Eduardo Dantas to win via decision.
Bellator 88: Shlemenko vs. Falcão
Spike.com Preliminary Card
155lbs –Jerrid Burke (5-2) vs. Joe Elmore (6-5) – Burke via decision
155lbs – Shane Crenshaw (6-1) vs. Ronnie Rogers (15-10) – Crenshaw via decision
170lbs – Clay Harvison (9-5) vs. Ururahy Rodrigues (5-3) – Harvison via decision
145lbs – George Hickman (3-1) vs. Stephen Upchurch (2-1) – Upchurch via TKO
145lbs – Alexandre Bezerra (14-2) vs. Genair da Silva (13-4) – Bezarra via decision
Spike TV Main Card
145lbs – Mitch Jackson (19-2) vs. Mike Richman (13-2)
Jackson is making his Bellator debut against a very tough Mike Richman who has a Bellator record of 2-1. Richman has speed and power for his strikes and solid wrestling skills that he can use offensively and defensively. Jackson is more one dimensional with the majority of his wins coming via submission. Jackson has a good style of walking down fighters with punches, getting a takedown, and working for the submission finish, but Richman should be able to stuff his takedowns. Richman has never lost via submission so don’t expect him to give up an easy one to Jackson if the fight does go to the ground. I believe Richman will stuff Jackson’s takedowns and make him pay with punches to the point where Jackson is too tired and gets TKO’d by Richman late in the fight. Pick Mike Richman to win via TKO.
145lbs – Fabricio Guerreiro (17-1) vs. Magomedrasul Khasbulaev (18-5)
Both men have great grappling backgrounds but are completely different. Guerreiro uses Jiu Jitsu to defeat his opponents and Khasbulaev uses a Sambo style to muscle his submissions. On the feet Khasbulaev seems to have the striking and power advantage, but this seems like a fight that will go to the ground. Guerreiro will have to be careful not to spend too much time on his back which is exactly what I think will happen. Khasbulaev will be the stronger fighter so expect him to have top control on the ground and even though Guerreiro has 12 submission victories I believe Khasbulaev will be able to posture out of every sub attempt from Guerreiro. Khasbulaev has a chance to get a TKO finish, but this should go the distance. Pick Magomedrasul Khasbulaev to win via decision.
145lbs – Marlon Sandro(23-4) vs. Akop Stepanyan (12-4)
Sandro is making his 3rd run at the Featherweight Tournament Championship and hoping to not just reach the finals but actually win this time. Stepanyan has spent most of his career over in Russia, but fought his first Bellator fight back on the 76th card against Wagney Fabiano losing via 1st round submission. Stepanyan has some lethal kicks and punches, his striking defense is great and he’s shown the ability to stuff takedowns or get back to his feet. Fabiano had to work very hard for that submission, but Sandro seems fully capable of doing the same thing. This fight is tricky to call as Sandro likes to strike which may not end well for him in this fight, but if Sandro sticks to a game plan of taking Stepanyan down and working for submissions then he should get the finish. I believe Stepanyan has a chance to win this fight as Sandro isn’t as good as Fabiano on the ground, but Sandro should still have an advantage when it comes to grappling. Pick Marlon Sandro to win via submission.
185lbs – Alexander Shlemenko (46-7) vs. Maiquel Falcão (31-4-1)
Shlemenko is on a 9 fight win streak since losing to Hector Lombard via decision back at Bellator 34. Shlemenko is a beast on the feet who throws a variety of kicks, punches and spinning attacks that are all thrown with speed and knockout power. Falcao is the same style of fighter that prefers to strike with his opponents and his training at Chute Box surely gives him an edge over most fighters. Shlemenko will not be impressed by the striking of Falcao though and will surely be able to hurt him on the feet. On the ground Falcao has a black belt in BJJ, but Shlemenko will grapple well enough to not get submitted and get back to his feet. I believe both men will come out looking for the knock out, but Shlemenko will be the one to land that finishing punch, kick or knee. Pick Alexander Shlemenko to win via TKO.
Spike.com Preliminary Card
Catchweight 139lbs – Nick Kirk (9-1) vs. Tony Zelinski (3-2) – Kirk via decision
Catchweight 165lbs – John Schulz (4-0) vs. Amir Khillah (10-5) – Schulz via decision
265lbs – Jason Fish (2-2) vs. Karl Etherington (7-0) – Etherington via submission
155lbs – James Reese (8-4) vs. David Shepherd (5-2) – Reese via decision
170lbs – Sam Quito (11-4) vs. Ben Lagman (6-2) – Lagman via TKO
155lbs – Sevak Magakian (12-3) vs. Jason Fischer (5-1) – Fisher via submission
Spike TV Main Card
155lbs – Will Brooks (8-0) vs. Ricardo Tirloni (15-3)
Brooks is making his Bellator debut in this fight against a very dangerous Tirloni. Brook’s last fight was with Dream so he shouldn’t get rattled by the big crowd or TV cameras. Tirloni is now on his 3rd run at winning the Bellator Lightweight Tournament. Brooks has explosive striking, great grappling and some very solid defence. Tirloni is a 1st degree BJJ black belt and has some good striking, but he did suffer a KO loss to Rick Hawn back at Bellator 62. I believe both men will come out striking and once Brooks starts to get the better of the exchanges, Tirloni will go for a takedown and that’d where this fight becomes tricky. Tirloni has great BJJ, but Brooks has recently fought some very good grapplers and came out on top every time so I believe Brooks will do the same in this fight. Pick Will Brooks to win via decision.
155lbs – Thiago Michel (11-3) vs. Alexander Sarnavskiy (21-1)
Sarnavskiy came to Bellator with an undefeated record only to have that taken away by a dominant grappling performance from Rich Clementi. After that fight Sarnavskiy put on a much better performance against the striker Tony Hervey winning a unanimous decision. Michel is a dynamic striker with a lot of speed, but he hasn’t had much success in Bellator winning and losing by spilt decision. Michel has 3 career losses, 2 of which are by submission, and Sarnavskiy has 11 of 21 wins via submission. That will be a factor for this fight as Sarnavskiy should be able to get takedowns and work for a submission. On the feet Sarnavskiy should be able to hold his own enough that he doesn’t get knocked out and even lands strikes of his own. Pick Alexander Sarnavskiy to win via submission.
155lbs – Saad Awad (12-4) vs. Guillaume DeLorenzi (10-1)
Patricky Freire was originally expected to take on DeLorenzi in this fight but he had to pull out due to an undisclosed injury. Awad who was expected to face Jason Fischer on the undercard stepped up and filled in for Freire against a very dangerous DeLorenzi. Both men have terrific stand-up, but Awad tends to use his hands more and DeLorenzi likes his leg kicks. If this fight stays on the feet I expect DeLorenzi to gain an advantage early, but if Awad is able to get this fight to the ground and keep it there he might be able to sink in a submission. DeLorenzi only career loss was via 1st round submission to Jon “War Machine” Koppenhaver, so Awad should definitely try to get this fight to the ground. I believe DeLorenzi will be able to stuff Awad’s takedowns and blast him on the feet with leg kicks. Pick Guillaume DeLorenzi to win via TKO.
155lbs – Lloyd Woodard (12-2) vs. David Rickels (11-1)
Rickels is dropping down from Welterweight to fight at 155lbs for the first time to take on the equally impressive Woodard. Both men like to use their strength and power to overwhelm opponents while also looking for submissions. Rickels has only lost 1 career fight and that was at 170lbs via split decision to Karl Amoussou. Woodard has only ever lost to top competition with his career losses coming against Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler via unanimous decision, and Rick Hawn via KO. Woodard did struggle at times getting back to his feet when he fought Patricky Freire, which should be a huge factor as he’s going up against a bigger man who’s also better at wrestling. I believe this is will be a back and forth battle but Rickels should have the strength advantage and I don’t expect the drop in weight to affect him. Rickels will trade punches with Woodard, but he’ll also make sure he spends more time in top control. Pick David Rickels to win via decision.
Bellator 86: Askren vs. Amoussou
170lbs – Marius Zaromskis (19-7-1) vs. Brent Weedman (20-8-1)
Zaromskis is coming off a big KO loss to Welterweight Tournament winner Andrey Koreshkov, and Weedman is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Rick Hawn while competing at 155lbs. Zaromskis is a talented striker with a lot of experience and a decent grappling game, so he will really have to work hard to keep this fight on the feet. Weedman has some good technical striking but his defense isn’t great and that could be a problem against a fighter like Zaromskis. I believe Weedman will come willing to strike with Zaromskis just like he did with the powerful Rick Hawn, but he’ll get picked apart on the feet. On the ground Weedman has a definite chance to grind out top control, but Zaromskis has shown the ability to stop takedowns and get back to his feet. Pick Marius Zaromskis to win via decision.
170lbs – Ben Saunders (14-5-2) vs. Koffi Adzitso (18-9)
Saunders has had his ups and downs with Bellator, but he always comes to fight and has a unique style that gives a lot of fighters fits. Saunders is a tall, lanky guy for 170lbs and he uses that height to work his knees on the feet and his long limbs help with submissions. Adzitso will be much shorter in this fight so his striking, which is his best weapon, won’t be nearly as effective and that will be a huge factor in this fight. Saunders will likely be able to bring the fight into the clinch and either get the TKO or force Adzitso into taking Saunders down. If this fight does go to the ground you can expect Saunders to lock in some sort of submission as many options will be available to him. I believe Saunders will cause problems for Adzitso wherever the fight goes and eventually get the finish. Pick Ben Saunders to win via submission.
170lbs – Douglas Lima (22-5) vs. Michail Tsarev (24-3)
Lima is one of the toughest Welterweights under the Bellator banner with his fast punches, strong kicks and his resilient Jiu-Jitsu. Tsarev has now fought twice for Bellator since being signed out of Russia with a 23-2 record. His first fight was with a decent, but not great, fighter in Tim Welch and Tsarev was able to secure the rear naked choke in round 2. His second fight was against a top contender in Lyman Good and Tsarev was simply overpowered in that fight with ground and pound until he was finished via TKO in round 2. Tsarev has also never fought a 3 round fight in his life so his cardio his suspect and that fact is magnified even more against a work horse like Lima. I believe Tsarev and Lima will come out striking with Lima winning the vast majority of the exchanges. If this fight goes to the ground Lima will have an advantage so this seems like a big miss-match. Pick Douglas Lima to win via submission.
205lbs – Muhammed Lawal (8-1-1) vs. Przemyslaw Mysiala (16-7)
King Mo is fighting in his Bellator debut against a tough submission grappler in Mysiala who is also making his Bellator debut. Lawal is known for his strong wrestling and powerful punches, while Mysiala is known for his submissions however Mysiala usually gains top control before making his opponents tap. That’s a strong sign that his submission game off his back isn’t as good so a fight with such a strong wrestler like Lawal will be a very tough test. Mysiala does have some power in his striking, but he’ll have no more than a punchers chance against Lawal in the striking department. I believe Lawal will look to keep this fight on the feet for the most part and look for the TKO finish. If this fight goes to the ground it will be because Lawal wants it there and I don’t expect Lawal to be in any danger of submissions. Pick Muhammed Lawal to win via TKO.
170lbs – Ben Askren (10-0) vs. Karl Amoussou (16-4-2)
Ben Askren is the undefeated Welterweight Champion and with his relentless wrestling you have to wonder who outside of the UFC could beat this man. Askren has already defeated strong grapplers like Douglas Lima and Lyman Good who also happen to be top contenders. Amoussou is a very intense striker, but that won’t work against Askren as he will just counter those wild strikes with a takedown. Amoussou does have some good submission skills off his back, but Askren proved his BJJ defense is just as strong as his wrestling in his last fight with Lima. I believe Amoussou will come out as intense as he always is looking for the KO, and feeling that even if he gets taken down he’ll just work his BJJ. Askren will be looking for the takedown like always, and once this fight gets to the ground Amoussou may be able to work for a submission of some sort but Askren will easily be able to maintain top control and throw down some ground and pound. Pick Ben Askren to win via decision.
Bellator 85: Chandler vs. Hawn
145lbs – Joe Camacho (13-17) vs. Aaron Miller (12-8) – Miller via decision
155lbs – Cleber Luciano (7-4) vs. Mario Navarro (4-2) – Luciano via submission
170lbs – Joe Williams (7-1) vs. Jamie Yager (6-3) – Williams via submission
155lbs – Mike Guyman (14-5-1) vs. Savant Young (10-9) – Mike Guyman via submission
155lbs – J.J. Ambrose (18-4) vs. Brian Warren (18-16-1) – J.J. Ambrose via decision
205lbs – Jason Lambert (25-12) vs. Hector Ramirez (9-4-1) – Lambert via decision
205lbs – Emanuel Newton (18-7) vs. Atanas Djambazov (17-2) – Djambazov via decision
205lbs – Seth Petruzelli (14-6) vs. Jacob Noe (8-1) – Petruzelli via TKO
145lbs – Pat Curran (champion) (17-4) vs. Patricio Freire (17-1)
This will be a 5 round Championship match for the Featherweight Title between two fighters that are on impressive win streaks. Ever since losing to Eddie Alvarez, Pat Curran has dropped 145lbs and has gone 4-0 and KO’ing Joe Warren to win the title. Freire lost a split decision to Joe Warren in the finals of the season 2 tournament, only to come back and win season 4 by taking a unanimous decision over Daniel Straus. That fight was back in May of 2011 though, so Freire may have a touch of the ring rust which Curran could easily capitalize on. On the feet this will be a very even fight as both men are fast, technical and have great defense. Curran will clearly have the wrestling advantage, but he’ll have to be careful on the ground as Freire is a BJJ black belt and is just as explosive on the ground as on the feet. I believe Freire will win a round or 2, but the strength of Curran will be too much for Freire and he’ll lose on the judges’ scorecards. Pick Pat Curran to defend his championship via decision.
205lbs – Renato Sobral (37-19) vs. Mikhail Zayats (19-6)
Zayats is a Sambo style fighter with a black belt in BJJ and has mostly built his impressive record in the very tough M-1 Global. Zayats also has very solid stand up skills and has shown them off during his 5 fight win streak. Sobral is a UFC veteran with a ton of experience, but since his loss to Dan Henderson via KO back in December 2010, Sobral has only fought once and although he won with a quick submission his opponent wasn’t near as good as past opponents or Zayats. Sobral is still a tough fight for anyone at 205lbs but I expect him to be a step behind during the striking exchanges. Both fighters have high level ground games as well so I believe Zayats will be able to stay out of danger on the ground while keeping top control. Zayats will likely have to beat on Sobral for 3 rounds as he never gives up in fights, but that won’t be a problem for Zayats. Pick Mikhail Zayats to win via decision.
155lbs – Michael Chandler (champion) (10-0) vs. Rick Hawn (14-1)
Chandler will be looking to defend his Lightweight title for the first time against the very dangerous Rick Hawn. Chandler has an NCAA division 1 wrestling background that has transitioned extremely well into the octagon. He also brings endless cardio, great striking and solid defense to the table in every fight. Hawn is very explosive striker with a black belt in Judo and brown belt in BJJ. On the feet I expect Hawn to have a slight advantage and if either fighter will land a huge power punch it will be Hawn. Hawn’s Judo likely won’t play a part in this fight as Chandler has terrific balance and the same will probably go for Chandler and his wrestling. This is a really tough fight to pick a winner as it will definitely be a back and forth battle, but I believe the explosiveness and power of Hawn will play a big part in this fight and even though Chandler will put up a great fight Hawn will land a power punch and finish off the champ to take the belt. Pick Rick Hawn to win via TKO.
265lbs – Alexander Volkov (18-3) vs. Richard Hale (21-4-1)
Volkov and Hale have looked great in this Heavyweight tournament, showcasing their striking skills and finishing ability. Volkov will be the more technical striker, and Hale’s lack of head movement will only help Volkov find his target quicker. Hale is powerful, but also stiff, with his boxing so Volkov will be able to see almost every punch coming and even if one connects Volkov has a great chin. Hale will likely be able to take Volkov down at will during this fight, but Volkov has shown a good shut down grappling game and has great foot movement which may make it hard for Hale to land that takedown. I believe Hale will come out striking, but once Volkov gets the better of him he’ll change his gameplan to wrestling. If Volkov can keep this fight standing for long enough he should be able to get a TKO finish against the questionable chin of Richard Hale but it may go to the judges. Pick Alexander Volkov to win via TKO.
155lbs – Marcin Held (15-2) vs. Dave Jansen (19-2)
Marcin Held has shown his skills over and over again, especially during his time in the Lightweight tournament. Dave Jansen has done just the same though while facing tougher competition. Held is something of a submission expert, but he may be in for a tough fight against a man who has never been submitted and who also has better wrestling. Jansen will surely try to use his wrestling in reverse so he can test the chin of this 20 year old kid who was dropped by a punch from Derrick Kennington. Jansen’s striking skills have developed quite a bit during his time with Bellator as seen in his last fight with Ricardo Tirloni. I believe Held will try over and over again to pull guard and work his submission game, but Jansen will be able to stay on his feet and escape any submission attempts. On the feet Jansen will be able to connect with good power shots, probably being able to drop Held once or twice and maybe even getting the finish. Pick Dave Jansen to win via decision.
185lbs – Louis Taylor (7-3) vs. Joe Vedepo (13-6)
Taylor is a good striker, but hasn’t fought in over a year and won’t get to show off his skills much in this fight with Joe Vedepo. Vedepo is a much stronger wrestler and will be able to take Taylor down and work his ground and pound, then most likely go for a submission finish. Taylor of course has a punchers chance, but as long as Vedepo sticks to a good wrestling game plan he should be able to get the finish. Pick Joe Vedepo to win via submission.
185lbs – Jack Hermansson (5-0) vs. Daniel Vizcaya (6-2)
Vizcaya is in for a very tough fight on Friday night against the undefeated wrecking ball Jack Hermansson. Hermansson hits like a truck, has a great chin and seems to also have a solid wrestling game. Vizcaya will be in trouble on the feet with Hermansson, and I don’t expect him to be able to get this fight to the ground. Even if Vizcaya manages to get this fight to the ground, Hermansson will be able to get back to his feet and finish off Vizcaya with powerful strikes. Pick Jack Hermansson to win via KO.
135lbs – Zach Makovsky (14-3) vs. Anthony Leone (11-5)
Zach Makovsky was definitely exposed in his last fight with Eduardo Dantas, as Dantas was able to out-strike Makovsky and put him on his back eventually securing an arm triangle choke. The good news for Makovsky is Leone is not nearly as skilled as Dantas, and Makovsky should be able to get back to his winning ways on Friday night. Leone is best off his back, with 5 career wins via submission and the other 6 via decision, he’s recently spent time in Thailand but those Muay Thai skills are still pretty raw. Makovsky is a former division 1 wrestler and has had his way with most ground based fighters he’s gone up against. Makovsky’s striking is also pretty basic but his footwork and defense will shut down any offence from Leone. I believe Makovsky will stick to wrestling in this fight and maybe even secure a submission of his own, either way it should be an easy win. Pick Zach Makovsky to win via decision.
125lbs – Jessica Eye (8-1) vs. Zoila Gurgel (12-1)
Jessica Eye is a talented up and comer with fast hands and good grappling skills, but she hasn’t faced the same level of competition as Zoila Gurgel. Eye has tons of potential, but since this will be her first fight against an elite opponent, I expect Eye to run into problems she hasn’t seen before. Gurgel seems to have put her ACL injury behind her and I don’t expect it to be a problem since she had a tune up fight back in late October. This should be a pure striking battle because both fighters have solid takedown defense and shut down grappling games. On the feet it seems like an even matchup but Gurgel did very well against Megumi Fujii and Eye isn’t as good a striker as Fujii, although she does have a longer reach. I believe Gurgel will be first to the punch for most of the fight, and if it goes to the ground Gurgel should be the one in top control. Pick Zoila Gurgel to win via decision.
145lbs – Shahbulat Shamhalaev (11-1-1) vs. Rad Martinez (14-2)
This is a bit of a tricky matchup to call with a striker (Shamhalaev) taking on a wrestler (Martinez). Martinez is a former division 1 wrestler, just like Zach Makovsky, but has yet to really show his full wrestling skills in this Featherweight tournament. Shamhalaev is a devastating striker with only 1 career loss to current UFC prospect Khabib Nurmagomedov, but has yet to face a top wrestler like Martinez. Martinez last 2 opponents have been BJJ black belts which is why he didn’t wrestle and stuck to his game plan, so it’s very possible Martinez is fully capable of taking down Shamhalaev at will. On the feet Shamhalaev will have a huge advantage and may even be able to stuff all Martinez’s takedown attempts, so this really is a toss –up. I believe Martinez will showcase his wrestling in this fight, and even though Shamhalaev should win all the striking battles, the wrestling of Martinez should be the story of this fight. Pick Rad Martinez to win via decision.
Catchweight 160lbs – David Rickels (10-1) vs. Jason Fischer (4-0)
Rickels will be the bigger man as he normally fights at 170lbs, whereas Fischer fights at 155lbs. That should be a very important factor in this fight as both fights seem to have similar styles, with solid striking and ground games. However Rickels will be the bigger man so I expect him to gain top control should the fight go to the ground. On the feet it looks to be even, but Rickels can take a punch and even if he starts to lose the stand-up battle I believe he will use his wrestling/grappling to grind out a decision victory. On the ground I believe Rickels will get off some good ground and pound, while maybe even opening up Fishcer for a submission. –David Rickels via decision
185lbs – Kala Hose (7-5) vs. Doug Marshall (14-6)
Hose is a natural born brawler with his stocky build and huge power, unfortunately that stockiness has translated to a weak ground game. Marshall is also a power puncher but is a bit more mixed with his martial arts since he has some submission victories. Hose has won all 7 of his fights via (T)KO and has only lost once via TKO to MMA veteran Edwin Aguilar. Marshall has won 9 of his fights via (T)KO but has lost 5 fights via the same method. On the feet I believe Hose will have an advantage with his haymaker style, but if Marshall can mix in some takedowns he should be able to overwhelm Hose. I believe Marshall will come ready to stand with Hose because that is his style, but before Marshall can adjust his game plan Hose will catch him with a barrage of punches. –Kala Hose via TKO
155lbs – Alexander Sarnavskiy (20-1) vs. Tony Hervey (15-12)
This fight has the potential to be one of the best in 2012 for Bellator with two very dynamic strikers. Sarnavskiy will be the more powerful striker, but the speed advantage should go to Hervey. Both fighters have very dynamic stand-up by utilizing punches and kicks to their opponent’s chins and bodies whenever they get the chance. Both fighters also have decent ground games, but just like in the Hose/Marshall fight, I believe these men were born to strike so that’s what they’ll do. Sarnavskiy is also fast so the speed of Hervey shouldn’t be a problem, plus Sarnavskiy has the power and chin advantage. Should the fight go to the ground Sarnavskiy will most likely have a definite advantage there as well.– Sarnavskiy via TKO
170lbs – Lyman Good (14-2) vs. Andrey Koreshkov (12-0)
Koreshkov is a very game fighter and has earned that undefeated record, but Good is also a great fighter so this fight isn’t as clear cut as the rest of the main card. Good has fought some of the best fighters in Bellator and has fared well against tough strikers like Chris Lozano and Rick Hawn. Koreshkov has made a name for himself ever since entering Bellator going 4-0 with 3 TKO’s, but unfortunately none of those opponents were fighters like Lyman Good, so Koreshkov will be tested again. On the feet Koreshkov should be able to get off some strikes, but Good is no pushover and will throw back. Good may not even bother risking getting rocked with a punch and just decide to take Koreshkov to the ground and beat him up there. I give Koreshkov a punchers chance but I believe Good will be too strong for the Russian. – Good via decision
185lbs – Jonas Billstein (10-2) vs. Perry Filkins (6-1)
These are two young tough fighters with a lot of TKO finishes on their records. Billstein hits very hard and has shown an all-around game with takedowns, clinch work, and grappling. Filkins also hits hard but his chin hasn’t been tested like Billstein’s, and his ground work seems limited to simply overpowering opponents which won’t happen with Jonas Billstein. Both fighters should come out swinging with Billstein gaining an edge, and once Filkins initiates the clinch he’ll get taken down and either get tapped out or beaten up.– Jonas Billstein via TKO
145lbs – Marlon Sandro (22-4) vs. Dustin Neace (23-18-1)
This fight seems like a very easy matchup for Sandro as Neace doesn’t possess a good enough ground game or stand-up to handle a strong fighter. On the feet Sandro won’t have a huge advantage, but once this fight goes to the ground it should only be a matter of time before Neace gets tapped out like he has before in 12 of his 18 career losses. Expect this fight to mostly be fought on the ground and for Sandro to be on top the entire time until he gets his submission victory.– Marlon Sandro via submission
155lbs – Dave Jansen (17-2) vs. Ricardo Tirloni (15-2)
This fight will definitely be a back and forth battle as both men have solid striking, good chins and great ground games. Tirloni will be the bigger man going into the fight so he should have an edge with takedowns and power. Jansen does have very good submissions but Tirloni is a BJJ black belt, so don’t expect him to get submitted easily. Tirloni has just as good a chance to pull off a submission victory, but again Jansen knows how to defend, so this fight should come down to top control or striking. Tirloni will most likely gain an advantage wherever the fight goes. – Ricardo Tirloni via decision
155lbs – Rich Clementi (45-21-1) vs. Marcin Held (14-2)
Clementi will have a huge experience advantage in this fight, which really seemed to be the difference in his last fight with the talented prospect Alexander Sarnavskiy. Clementi was able to out grapple Sarnavskiy on route to a spilt decision victory, and that fight is relevant because Sarnavskiy is a much better fighter than Marcin Held. Held does have a great ground game but so does Clementi, and the size of Clementi should allow him to keep this on the feet where Held is less experience. Expect Clementi to stuff takedowns and get off good strikes, while probably looking to get takedowns late in rounds in order to win on the score cards. –Clementi via decision
Brett Cooper (16-7-0) vs. Darryl Cobb (5-5-0)
Brett Cooper (16-7) will be taking on Darryl Cobb (5-5) in a Middleweight fight to start the main card. Cooper hasn’t fought in 2012 but is coming off 3 straight wins; meanwhile Cobb fought in August but has lost his last 4 fights via submission. Cooper is a complete mixed martial artist even though every fight he’s in seems to be a stand-up war with Cooper coming out on top. Cobb has amazing Maui Thai striking skills with lots of power, but his grappling/submission defense is weak. Cobb has shown some good defensive wrestling but I believe the constant pressure of Cooper’s takedowns and striking will get the fight to the ground. Cobb has a definite punchers chance in this fight but Cooper has a great chin, and I believe Cooper will look to take Cobb down, secure his back, and choke him out. Pick Brett Cooper to win via submission.
Vinicius Queiroz (6-2) will be taking on Alexander Volkov (17-3) in a Bellator Heavyweight Tournament semi-final matchup. Queiroz is a prospect from the Chute Box camp, and his resume of KO’s would definitely make his coaches proud. Volkov is also very experienced on the feet and I expect him to have an advantage in striking. I also question Queiroz’s head movement and chin ever since his last fight with Mark Holata. Queiroz did show off a slick armbar in that same fight with Holata, but if this fight with Volkov goes to the ground I expect neither fighter to pull off any submissions. I believe both fighters will stand and strike in order to establish dominance, resulting in Volkov landing more punches and kicks and really testing Queiroz’s chin. Pick Alexander Volkov to win via TKO.
Wagnney Fabiano (15-3) will be taking on Rad Martinez (13-2) in a Bellator Featherweight Tournament semi-final matchup. Fabiano is a 3rd degree black with 1 fight in Bellator, defeating Akop Stepanyan by 1st round submission. Martinez is a pure power wrestler with some striking, although Fabiano has shown good striking skills as well. Martinez is 3-0 in Bellator with two of those going the distance and one ending by TKO. This classic matchup of Jiu Jitsu vs. wrestling usually goes to the wrestler, but Martinez isn’t as quick or smart as Fabiano when it comes to grappling. I believe Martinez will get his takedowns but Fabiano will work hard for submissions, eventually securing a choke of some kind. Pick Wagnney Fabiano to win via submission.
Joe Warren (7-3) will be taking on Owen Evinger (7-3) in the Main Event for Bellator 80. Warren is coming off two KO losses in his last two fights, but those fights were against top competition and nobody should doubt Warren’s skill. Evinger is also coming off two losses, but those were via submission, and since Evinger is supposed to be a submission expert this fight doesn’t bode well for him. Evinger does have some striking but he’s not at the same level as Pat Curran or Alexis Vila, so Warren shouldn’t have to worry about getting KO’d in this fight. I believe Warren will work his striking and grappling game on route to overwhelming Evinger with raw power. Pick Joe Warren to win via submission.
Ryan Ford (18-4-0) vs. Kyle Baker (11-3-0)
Ryan Ford (18-4) will be taking on Kyle Baker (11-3) in a Welterweight showdown and Baker’s Bellator debut. Ford will definitely be a tough test for Baker as it looks like Ford will have an edge on the feet, and if the fight goes to the ground it will be because Ford wants it there. Baker isn’t known for submitting his opponents so even if he does start to win the striking battle I’m sure Ford will just get the takedown and beat up Baker on the ground. I believe Ford will eventually get the TKO victory, but Baker is a tough hombre, so don’t be surprised if it goes the distance. Pick Ryan Ford to win via TKO.
Douglas Lima (21-5) will be taking on Jacob Ortiz (13-3) in another Welterweight clash of contenders. Lima is coming off his decision loss to Ben Askren for the Bellator Welterweight Championship. Ortiz is 1-0 in Bellator after defeating Edgar Garcia back at BFC 55, but has since fought elsewhere going 2-1. Lima will certainly be the favourite in this fight as he’s showed he’s a beast during his time in Bellator. Ortiz will put up a fight but I believe Lima will be able to get the finish whether on the feet or on the ground. Pick Douglas Lima to win via TKO.
Mike Richman (13-1) will be taking on Shahbulat Shamhalaev (10-1-1) in a Bellator Featherweight Tournament semi-final matchup. Richman is 2-0 in Bellator winning both via first round knockout; however he has more career victories by submission. Shamhalaev is 1-0 in Bellator after defeating Cody Bollinger via first round TKO, and unlike Richman he has 0 career victories by submission. Both fighters will be exchanging in this fight but Richman should have an advantage wherever the fight goes. I believe Richman could get a finish, but Shamhalaev will come to fight. Pick Mike Richman to win via Decision.
Richard Hale (20-4-1) vs. Thiago Santos (11-1-1)
Richard Hale (20-4-1) will be taking on Thiago Santos (11-1-1) in a Bellator Heavyweight Tournament semi-final matchup and the main event of the evening. Hale has been dominant during his time with Bellator, the majority of which has been spent at Light Heavyweight. I don’t expect the jump in weight to be a problem for Hale as he’s still lean and he looked very crisp in his fight against Mike Wessel at Heavyweight getting a first round TKO. Santos got off to a great start with Bellator going 2-0 with 2 first round submissions, but has since had bad luck with Eric Prindle and groin kicks. Prindle managed to land a perfect groin kick on Santos in each fight causing them both to stop early. It looked like Santos was going on to win that fight so he deserves to be in the octagon with Hale, but I don’t think this is fight will go his way. I believe Santos could use his size advantage to get this fight to the ground, but his submission game should be matched by Hale. On the feet I believe Hale will be able to out box Santos and land solid power shots. Pick Richard Hale to win via TKO.
Alvin Robinson (12-6-0) vs. Daniel Straus (20-4-0) – 145 lbs.
Alvin Robinson (12-6) will be taking on Daniel Straus (20-4) in a fight where Straus has the home field advantage. Robinson is a UFC veteran with a black belt in BJJ under Royce Gracie, but he hasn’t fought in over a year and I expect the octagon rust to affect Robinson. His stand up is limited but he sets up his takedowns well and his strength allows him to get those takedowns. Once on the ground Robinson can be very crafty with his submission attacks, but I don’t expect him to get Straus on his back and Robinson, although a black belt, shouldn’t be able to submit a strong wrestler like Straus. Straus is a very well rounded striker so he may choose to keep this fight on the feet and avoid any submissions. I believe Robinson will push the action with clinches and takedown attempts while Straus defends and out strikes his opponent. Pick Daniel Straus to win via Decision.
Brian Rogers (9-4-0) vs. Dominique Steele (6-2-0) – 185 lbs.
Brian Rogers (9-4) will be taking on Dominique Steele (6-2) in the battle of Ohio natives. Rogers has been eliminated from two of Bellators Middleweight Tournaments now, so perhaps a bout with a little less on the line will be good for Rogers. Steele has turned himself into a mixed martial artist with a good wrestling base and improving boxing skills. Rogers will have the upper hand if this fight stays on the feet as he has more weapons, speed and power than Steele. Steele has shown his ability to out wrestle his opponents and he does have the tools to do so in this fight, however I question his cardio and chin. I believe Rogers will scramble well enough to stay on his feet and eventually TKO Steele. Pick Brian Rogers to win via TKO.
Marius Zaromskis (19-6-1) vs. Andrey Koreshkov (11-0-0) – 170 lbs.
Marius Zaromskis (19-6-1) will be taking on Andrey Koreshkov (11-0) in a Welterweight Tournament semi-final bout. Zaromskis is a very talented kick boxer with a long list of spectacular knockouts on his resume. Koreshkov was a talented prospect coming out of Russia but has since earned his spot in Bellator going 3-0 with 2 TKO victories. I expect this fight to stay standing as both fighters like to strike, and if it goes to the ground both fighters are capable of getting back to their feet. I believe Zaromskis will have a slight edge on the feet and be able to take Koreshkov into deep waters. Pick Marius Zaromskis to win via Decision.
Michail Tsarev (24-2-0) vs. Lyman Good (13-2-0)– 170 lbs.
Michail Tsarev (24-2) will be taking on Lyman Good (13-2) in another Welterweight Tournament semi-final bout and the main event of Bellator 78. Tsarev is known for his strong BJJ and rarely going the distance. He has a knack for pulling out submissions even in fights he’s losing, as seen in his Bellator debut victory over Tim Welch. Good is the former Bellator Welterweight champion, but he’s still at the top of his game and this fight should just be another step on the road back to a title fight for Good. Good is a very powerful and explosive striker with solid wrestling, and I fully expect him to overwhelm Tsarev on the feet and not allow him to get a takedown. Pick Lyman Good to win via TKO.
Bellator 77 Predictions
Dave Jansen (17-2-0) vs. Magomed Saadulaev (14-1-0)
Dave Jansen (17-2) will be taking on Magomed Saadulaev (14-1) to start the main card for Bellator 77. Jansen will be the veteran in this fight with a 3-0 record in Bellator, meanwhile Saadulaev will not only be making his Bellator debut but this will be his first fight in North America. Jansen will be the taller fighter, with a reach advantage, and loves to swing bombs on his opponents with no regards for takedowns. Jansen fights in a wild style hoping to either KO his opponent or lure them into taking him down, and that is where Jansen really shines with tremendous grappling and submission skills. Saadulaev has minimal stand up but constantly looks for takedowns so he can overwhelm his opponents on the ground, which he has been very successful at. I believe Jansen has a chance to TKO his opponent in this fight but Saadulaev will most likely secure a takedown, which Jansen won’t argue, and Jansen will look to finish his opponent before the same happens to him. Pick Dave Jansen to win via Submission.
Marcin Held (13-2-0_ vs. Murad Machaev (9-0-0)
Marcin Held (13-2) will be taking on Murad Machaev (9-0) to see who advances in this Lightweight tournament. Held is only 20 years old but has plenty of experience with 25 amateur fights to go along with his 2-1 record in Bellator. Machaev, similar to his countrymen Magomed Saadulaev, will be making his Bellator debut and fighting in North America for the first time. Machaev is a well-rounded Sambo style fighter with some power but I think this will be a bad match up for him. Held is a tough kid that will give Machaev fits in the striking game, and once this fight hits the ground Held should have the advantage. I see potential for Machaev to squeak out a decision win simply via top control, but Held is just too crafty on the ground with his submission attempts. Pick Marcin Held to win via Submission.
Rene Nazare (10-2-0) vs. Ricardo Tirloni (14-2-0)
Rene Nazare (10-2) will be taking on Ricardo Tirloni (14-2) in a battle of Brazilians. Nazare is mostly known for his successful Jiu Jitsu career, but he also has good stand up and has developed his wrestling skills as seen in his last fight against Thiago Michel. Tirloni also has a black belt in BJJ but he doesn’t have the same skill as Nazare, so I expect Nazare to have the advantage and might even submit his fellow black belt. Tirloni’s striking skills should be at the same level as Nazare, however Nazare has better cardio so I expect him to throw/land more strikes than Tirloni. I believe Nazare will have the edge on the feet, but Tirloni will work to get this fight to the ground thus sinking even deeper into the quicksand. Pick Rene Nazare to win via Decision.
Rich Clementi (44-21-1) vs. Alexander Sarnavskiy (20-0-0)
Rich Clementi (44-21-1) will be taking on Alexander Sarnavskiy (20-0) in the Bellator 77 main event. Clementi is a UFC veteran and with over 60 career fights he has developed into something of a gatekeeper for the Lightweight division. Clementi’s niche is his ground game and submission techniques, but he can sometimes struggle to get his fights to the ground. His boxing, kicks and defense are all solid and Clementi uses his experience to always fight the smartest fight for him. Sarnavskiy is a very tough top prospect coming out of Russia and has earned his undefeated record. He has TKO, submission, and decision victories during his career which shows his well roundedness inside the octagon. Sarnavskiy has shown very solid takedown defense in his fights and I believe he will be able to stuff most if not all Clementi’s takedown attempts. If Clementi can’t get this fight to the ground he’s in for a tough time on the feet with this explosive striker. I believe Clementi will be a very tough test for Sarnavskiy, and may even win a round in this fight, but Sarnavskiy is just too talented a fighter. Pick Alexander Sarnavskiy to win via Decision.
155 lbs.: Eddie Alvarez (23-3-0) vs. Patricky Freire (10-3-0)
In the lightweight division (23-3) Eddie Alvarez takes on Patricky Pitbull Freire (10-3) Alvarez is coming off a quick KO victory of Shinya Aoki while Pitbull was upset in his last fight being submitted by Llyod Woodard. Both these fighters have excellent standup but in most fights Alvarez gets hurt before he turns it on. It has worked for him in the past but I think Pitbull is to smart and to powerful, when he smells blood he will go for the kill and finish Alvarez. So I’m going with Patricky Freire to defeat Eddie Alvarez by KO
Rad Martinez to defeat Nazareno Malegarie by KO
Wagnney Fabiano to defeat Akop Stephanyan by submission
Mike Richman to defeat Jermey Spoon by submission
Bellator 75 Predictions
265 lbs.: Eric Prindle +370 (7-1 1 NC) vs. Thiago Santos -460 (10-1 1 NC)
Both fighters have good standup but I’d give a slight edge to Prindle. On the ground there’s no question Big Monster is superior. It looked pretty easy for Santos to take Prindle down in their first fight and unless Prindle catches Santos early with a big shot, Santos should be able to put him on the ground and submit him. So I’m going with Thiago Santos to defeat Eric Prindle by 1st round RNC.
265lbs: Alexander Volkov +120 (16-3) vs. Brett Rogers -150 (12-4)
In the Heavyweight division (16-3) Alexander Drago Volkov takes on Brett The Grim Rogers (12-4). Both these men like to stand and bang but Rogers hasn’t impressed me reall since the Fedor fight. Drago has 13 wins by KO and TKO and I think hell comtinue that trend and put Rogers away with ease. So I’m going with Alexander Volkov to defeat Brett Rogers by TKO.
Richard Hale to defeat Mike Wessel by KO
Mark Holata to defeat Vinicius Kappke De Queiroz by submission
Luis Nogueira 14-2-0 vs Marcos Galvao 125-1
In the bantamweight division (14-2) Luis Alberto Betao Nogueira takes on Marcos Loro Galvao (12-5-1) Nogueira is coming off a dominating win over Alexis Villa in the quarters and a TKO finish of Hiroshi Nakamura in the semis. Galvao beat both his tournament opponents by convincing decision. This will be a close matchup; Galvao is a BJJ black belt with good standup which he displayed in his victory over Ed West. Nogueira showed a good standup game plus excellent take down defense vs. Nakamura. Nogueira will be able to dictate where this fight takes place and will be able to pick Galvao apart to become tournament champion. So I’m going with Luis Nogueira to defeat Marcus Galvao by decision.
Travis Wiuff 68-14-1 vs Attila Vegh 22-4-2
In the Light Heavyweight division (68-14-1) Travis Diesel Wiuff squares off with Attila Pumukil Vegh (22-4-2). Vegh comes into this fight riding a 7 fight win streak but won his last fight by a controversial split decision over Emanuel Newton. Wiuff is riding a 6 fight win streak and has went 13-1-1 in his last 15 which includes a win over current Bellator light heavyweight champ Christian M’Pumbu. In the quarters he made short work of Chris Davis finishing him in the first round and he dominated Tim Carpenter in the semis taking the unanimous decision. Wiuff will be too big and too strong for Vegh. Unless Vegh can catch him with big shots, I see Wiuff taking Vegh down and beating him up for 15 minutes. So I’m going with Travis Wiuff to defeat Attila Vegh by unanimous decision.
Ryan Martinez to defeat Mike Wessel by KO
Matt Van Buren to defeat Mike Mucitelli by submission
Karl Amoussou 15-4-2 vs Bryan Baker 18-3-0
In the welterweight tournament finals (15-4-2) Karl Psycho Amoussou takes on Bryan The Beast Baker (18-3). Baker did not look good in his first fight of the tournament due to his weight cut but won that and then took out Ben Saunders in the semi finals by controlling most of the fight on top. Amoussou dominated Chris Lozano in his quarterfinal matchup and then barley won a split decision over Dave Rickles in the semis. This fight is going to come down to cardio. Amoussou comes out swinging every fight but in his last fight he got tired in the later rounds. Baker weathered the storm against Saunders but I don’t think he will be able to against Psycho. Amoussou will try to finish this fight in the first and I think he will do it so I’m going with Karl Amoussou to defeat Bryan Baker by 1st round submission.
Paul Daley 29-12-0 vs Rudy Bears 14-10-0
In the Welterweight division (29-12) Paul Semtex Daley battles Rudy Bad News Bears (14-10). This will be Daley’s Promotional debut. He will try to erase the fact that he went 1-3 in Strikeforce and that he only has 2 wins in his last 5 fights. Bears Is coming into this fight winning just 1 of his last 4 fights and basically I think Bellator just gave Daley an opponent to light up. To me this looks like a mismatch, Daley is the superior striker and should be able to dominate this fight. I don’t see this fight making it to the second round as I see Daley head hunting from the opening and finishing the fight quickly after that so I’m going with Paul Daley to defeat Rudy Bears by 1st round KO
Emanuel Newton 17-6-1 vs Attila Vegh 21-4-2
In the Light Heavyweight division division (17-6-1) Emanuel The Hardcore Kid Newton squares off with Attila Pumukil Vegh (21-4-2). Vegh comes into this fight riding a 6 fight win streak including his last victory which was a 1 minuet submission victory over Zelg Galesic Newton also has won 6 in a row including his submission win over Roy Boughton in the quarterfinals. Both these fighters will look for the submoission therefore I think most of this fight will be contested on the feet where the advantage lies with Vegh. Vegh shown he has KO power in the past finishing 9 opponets by T/ko so I’m going with Atilla Vegh to defeat Emanuel Newton by Decision.
Tim Carpenter 9-1-0 vs Travis Wiuff 67-14-0
In the Light Heavyweight division (67-14-0) Travis Wiuff fights Tim Carpenter (9-1). Wiuff is riding a 5 fight win streak and has went 12-1-1 in his last 14 which includes a win over current Bellator light heavyweight champ Christian M’Pumbu. In the quarters he made short work of Chris Davis finishing him in the first round. Carpenter came in as a late replacement for Richard Hale and submitted Beau Tribolet in the second round. Carpenter will try to get this fight to the mat and try to use his submission game but I think Wiuff is to experienced to fall into Carpenters trap. Wiuff will try to keep this fight standing for as long as he can and eventually drop Carpenter so I’m going with Travis Wiuff to defeat Tim Carpenter by 2nd round TKO.
Emanuel Newton 17-6-1 vs Roy Boughton 8-2-0
In the Light Heavyweight division (17-6-1) Emanuel The Hardcore Kid Newton takes on Roy Boughton (8-2-0). Newton is making his Bellator debut riding a 5 fight win streak which includes a victory over UFC vet James McSweeney. Boughton, also making his Bellator debut is coming into this fight on a 3 fight win streak. He also holds a victory over Pride veteran Murilo Ninja. Half of Boughton’s 8 wins have come via submission. Newton also has a good submission game making 9 of his opponents tap. I would give a slight advantage to Boughton on the ground but in the stand up Newton has the clear advantage. Newton should try to keep this fight standing and pick his shots. He won’t be worrying about being taken down because he could hold his own on the ground. So my prediction is Emanuel Newton to defeat Roy Boughton by decision.
Richard Hale 19-4-1 vs Beau Tribolet 7-1-0
In the Light Heavyweight division (19-4-1) Richard Rare Breed Hale takes on Beau Tribolet (7-1-0). Hale has won 6 of his last 7 fights with the only loss coming in last season’s tournament finals to now champ Christian M’Pumbu. His last 2 fights have lasted a combined 56 seconds with Hale knocking out both opponents. Tribolet has been perfect after losing his first fight, winning 7 in a row 5 by submission and 2 by TKO. Tribolet’s biggest win was his most recent over former UFC fighter Chase Gormley. Tribolet will be a tough fight for Hale but he has huge momentum right now with those quick finishes and he will come into his fight looking to take Tribolet’s head off from the start. Hale has 9 submission victories but I think he will avoid the ground and try to keep the fight standing where he can do most of his damage. So my prediction is Richard Hale to defeat Beau Tribolet by KO.
Chris Davis 10-3-0 vs Travis Wiuff 66-14-1
In the Light heavyweight division (10-3-0) Chris The Professional Davis battles Travis Diesel Wiuff (66-14-1). Wiuff is riding a 4 fight win streak and has owent 11-1-1 in his last 13 which includes a win over current Bellator light heavyweight champ Christian M’Pumbu. Davis on the other hand is coming off of a loss to M’Pumbu but that fight was really close until the champ pulled away in the third round. Davis has won all of his fights inside the distance 5 by T/KO and 5 by submission. Wiuff is a very big light heavyweight. I see him using his size to get on top of Davis for most of the fight. Wiuff has questionable cardio and seems to lack a chin when he gets tired so to get the win he will have to work his game, stay in control and stay away from the big punch. So my prediction is Travis Wiuff to defeat Chris Davis by decision.
Zelg Galesic 11-6-0 vs Atilla Vegh 21-4-2
In the Light Heavyweight division (11-6-0) Zelg Benkel Galesic squares off with Attila Pumukil Vegh (21-4-2). Vegh has won his last 5 fights including his Bellator debut against Dan Spohn. Galesic is coming off a flying knee KO over Doug Marshall in May but he has only won 2 of his last 5 fights. One of the big factors in this fight will be experience. Even thouh Vegh has more fights, Galesic has fought some top level competition which includes Shlemenko, Sakuraba, and Jacare.Vegh has almost an even number of T/KO’s and submissions. I think he will have to get this fight to the ground and look for a submission because out of Galesic’s 6 losses 5 have come by submission. Also Galesic has only been out of the first round once and that was in his first fight so if Vegh can take this into the later rounds Galesic will be out of his element. So my prediction is Attila Vegh to defeat Zelg Galesic by Submission.
265 lb. title: Cole Konrad (8-0) vs. Eric Prindle (7-1 1NC)
This is Konrad’s first title defense. He is a big heavy wrestler with a great top game. Prindle basically has one way to win and that is with is huge knockout power. The odds are hugely favor the Champ and for good reason. Not if but once Konrad takes Prindle down he will have his way with him and should be able to finish this one pretty early.
Result: Cole Konrad via first round submission
155 lbs.: Rick Hawn (13-1) vs. Brent Weedman (20-7-1)
Rick Hawn is coming into this finals matchup on a tear knocking out his last two opponents in the quarters and semis. He’s got great judo and huge knockout power in his right hand. Weedman has great jiu jitsu and can take a large amount of punishment. Since Hawn dropped to 155 he has been unstoppable. He will dominate this fight but I think Weedman will be too tough to finish.
Prediction: Hawn via Unanimous decision
135 lbs.: Hiroshi Nakamura (15-5) vs. Luis Nogueira (13-2)
Nogueira is coming off a dominating win over Alexsis Villa While Nakamura is coming off a decision victory over Rodrigo Lima. Nogueira’s best chance is in the standup where he can pick Nakamura apart. Nakamura is a grinder. He has to clinch and try to get this fight to the ground. I think his takedowns will frustrate Nogueira and as he will spend most of this fight on his back.
Prediction: Nakamura via unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Rich Clementi (42-21-1) vs. Derek Campos (9-2)
Clementi has been fighting for 13 years. He is now nearing the end of his career. He’s fighting up and comer Derek Campos. Unless Clementi can finish this early he will fade and Campos will capitalize. Diego Brando could not finish Campos so I don’t think Clementi can.
Prediction Campos Via 3rd round submission
Watch out for Josh Shockley!
Maiquel Falcao 30 – 4 – 0 vs. Andreas Spang 8 – 1 – 0
There’s bad blood between these two. Spang took a beating in his last fight with Brian Rogers but shocked the world with a 2nd round KO. Falcao earned a very close decision in his last fight with Vyacheslav Vasilevsky. Falcao is a dangerous finisher but Spang can take a punch. If Spang can avoid the early flurry like he did vs. Rogers then there’s a chance he can pull another upset. Saying that, Falcao hits a lot harder then Rogers does.
Prediction: Falcao via 1st round TKO
Megumi Fujii 25-1-0 vs. Jessica Aguilar 13-4-0
#1 ranked female Fujii fights in Bellator for the first time since she lost to Zoila Gurgel. She has won 3 in a row since then. Aguilar is riding a 4 fight win streak since her loss to Gurgel. Both opponents have the majority of their decisions come by submission and this fight should be no different. Fujii will overwhelm Aguilar and eventually force her to tap in the second.
Prediction: Fujii via 2nd round submisson
Karl Amoussou 14 – 4 – 2 vs. David Rickels 10 – 0 – 0
Amoussou looked incredible dominating Chris Lozano and choking him out in just over 2 minutes. This time he gets undefeated David Rickels. Rickels is a finisher with 8 of his 10 wins inside the distance. It only took him 22 seconds to knockout Jordan smith. Ammoussou is more well rounded and has more experience than his younger opponent. He will come out fast and put the pressure on.
Prediction: Amoussou via 1st round Submission
Ron Sparks 8 – 1 – 0 vs. Kevin Asplund 15 – 1 – 0
At 37 and 36 these two both have one thing on their mind, knock the other guy out as fast as they can. Sparks has only been out of the first round once in his career. Asplund has been out of the first round before and also won some decisions but he has not fought anyone that I’ve ever heard of. Sparks was knocked out in 40 seconds in his last fight so maybe he is questioning his chin but I give him the edge because of finishing power and experience.
Prediction Sparks via 1st round KO
Marlon Sandro 22 – 3 – 0 vs. Daniel Straus 19 – 4 – 0
Straus is a very accomplished wrestler that goes to decision most of the time. He ran through Mike Corey and Jeremy Spoon to reach the finals. Now he has to fight Sandro. Sandro is considered one of the best featherweights in the world. Sandro is riding a 3 fight win streak and will come in this looking to finish so he can try to avenge his loss to champ Pat Curran. I think Sandro will be too much for Straus. Straus will try to take Sandro down but I like Sandro to keep this on on the feet and pick Straus apart.
Prediction: Sandro via unanimous decision
Marcos Galvao11 – 5 – 1 vs. Travis Marx 19 – 3 – 0
Galvao looked better than I’ve ever seen him in his fight against Ed West. He dominated that fight landing bombs in the process. Marx is coming off a huge win vs Masakatsu Udea. Marx is 34 years old so this is probably his last chance to become really relevant in MMA. Galvao has only finished one opponent in his career and Marx will be to tough to be number 2. I think Marx grinds this one out.
Prediction: Marx via split decision
Seth Petruzelli 14 – 6 – 0 vs. Carmelo Marrero 14 – 5 – 0
Petruzelli is coming off a big upset KO win over Ricco Rodriguez. He has devastating power in his hands with 12 of his 14 wins coming by KO or TKO. He fights Marrero the UFC vet. Marrero likes to submit people. Petruzelli has lost 4 out of his 6 fights by submission. Seth is a fast starter. I think he has to finish Marrero quickly to avoid the ground game. Marrero has never been knocked out so this will be an interesting fight.
Prediction: Petruzelli via 1st round KO
Marius Zaromskis 16 – 6 – 0 vs. Waachiim Spiritwolf 9 – 9 – 1
Spiritwolf is coming into this one dropping 4 of his last 6 bouts. While on the other hand I think Zaromskis’ summersault kick has boosted his confidence to an all time high. This is a rematch. The first bout was 6 seconds after an accidental eye poke. I think these two are going to stand and bang until someone falls down. I’ll go with the better striker in this one.
Prediction: Zaromskis via 2nd round TKO
155 lbs.: Michael Chandler (9-0) vs. Akihiro Gono (32-17-7)
Michael Chandler has been on a roll. The champion is coming off a hard fought win over Eddie Alvarez and this is just a fight to keep him busy. Gono will have nothing to offer Chandler therefore he is likely going to get hurt. Chandler can either use his heavy hands and keep the fight standing, or he can use his wrestling to bring the fight to the ground. Either way I don’t expect it to be a long night
Prediction: Chandler via 1st rd TKO
170 lbs.: Ben Saunders (13-4-2) vs. Bryan Baker (17-3)
Baker did not look good in his last fight due to his weight cut. I do not think that will be a problem in this fight. The problem will be that Killa B is an animal. Both have good stand up and good submissions. I do think Saunders has the better technique. Baker’s chin is questionable and it will be tested a lot. Eventually it will fail him in Saunders deadly Clinch.
Prediction: Saunders via 2nd rd TKO
170 lbs.: Ryan Ford (17-4) vs. Luis Santos (50-7-1)
Santos has the advantage on the feet and in the submission department. Ford has the better wrestling and ground and pound. Ford will have to take Santos down and use that ground and pound to squeak out a decision. He has to make sure not to get caught. With all that said I don’t he will be able to get as many take downs as he likes. I think Santos clips him then chokes Ford out.
Prediction: Santos via 2nd rd RNC
This is a highly anticipated rematch. Aoki made quick work of Alvarez in their first meeting. Alvarez is coming off a loss to Champ Michael Chandler While Aoki is riding a 7 fight win streak. I don’t think Alvarez will be able to finish Aoki and as long as the fight is going, there’s a chance Aoki can break a limb I think Aoki has Alvarez’s number. I’ll take the upset special
Prediction: Aoki via 2nd round neck crank
I don’t know much about Spang but I do know that Brian Rogers is a beast with excellent hands and takedown defence. Cardio is always my question with him but I think just like his last fight it won’t come in to question because he will rock Spang early and go in for the kill.
Prediction: Rogers via 1st round KO
This has fight of the night written all over it. I thought these two would end up in the finals. Vasilevsky has won 14 in a row and looked very dominant in his Bellator debut. Falcao is a heavy handed truck with 23 TKO or KO victories. Vasilevsky had very good head movement and I think he will be able to stay away from Falcao’s bombs, pick his shots and dictate where the fight takes place.
Prediction: Vasilevsky via unanimous decision
I think this should be very close to an even line but Woodard is listed around +250. Woodard showed how tough he was to finish in the Pitbull fight. Hawn looked impressive in the first round with a kick KO. I think this fight will go the distance and Hawn’s wrestling will be the key factor. Look for Hawn to control the later rounds and squeak one out here.
Prediction: Hawn via Split Decision
Michel didn’t have the greatest showing in his first fight in North America but I’ll give him a pass. This fight I am fully expecting to see the KO artist do what he does best. The last fight was his first decision. Weedman has a good submission game and that is the only thing that worries me since Michel’s only 2 losses have come by submission. I think Michel drops bombs early and punches his ticket to the finals.
Prediction: Michel via 1st round TKO
This will be Makovsky first title defence. He is an excellent wrestler coming in riding an 8 fight win streak. Dantas is a young Brazilian who has finished 4 of his last 6 fights. Dantas hasn’t finished an opponent in his last 2 fights so he will come out looking to finish. The only way I See “Fun Size” winning this fight is by grinding out a decision just Like Ben Askren did last week. Dantas has power on the feet and is very crafty on the ground. I think he will catch Makovsky eventually
Prediction: Dantas via submission 3rd round
I really think Corey is undervalued in this fight. At + 300 he is a great play. He beat Ronnie Mann in his last fight and fought to a draw with Chris Hordecki before that. He’s got an excellent submission game and I would not be surprised if he can catch Straus on the mat. Straus has great wrestling and likes to grind out decisions. 11 out have his 18 wins have gone to the judges’ scorecards. The game plan for Straus is to grind out another one here but I think it’ll be the other way around with Corey dominating the fight.
Prediction: Corey via Unanimous Decision
West’s has won 9 out of 11 with the 2 losses coming to both fighters in the main event. Galvao is coming off a loss to Alexis Villa. This fight has 3 rounds written all over it. 9 of Galvao’s 10 wins have gone to the scorecards and as for West he has 8 decision wins. Between both fighters have 1 KO victory so I’m not expecting bombs. West has more ways to win.
Prediction: West via Split Decision
Villa is an Olympic wrestler with tons of power. I don’t think Nogueira has anything to offer Villa. Villa is 41 so obviously I’m going to question his cardio but I think he can decide where the fight will take place and pound out Nogueira late in the first round.
Prediction: Villa via TKO 1st round
Ben Askren VS Douglas Lima
The champ is currently undefeated using is wrestling to lay and prey on his opponents. Lima is a young and talented kid who seems to knockout anyone in his way. I think that Lima will either keep it on the feet long enough to catch Askren with a bomb or he will not stay on the ground long when he is taken down. I’ve been saying this kid will be a star since his MFC days. NEW CHAMP
Prediction: Lima via 2nd round TKO
Alexandre Bezerra VS Marlon Sandro
This fight is going to be action packed. On one hand you have a well known legitimate star in Marlon Sandro who is a beast even at the age of 35. Bezerra is an up and comer who has looked impressive in Bellator going 5-0 finishing all of his fights. The KO head kick from Pat Curran is still in the back of Sandro’s mind. This will be a close fight but I think age will make a difference here and Bezerra can hang with Sandro on the ground and standing up.
Prediction: Bezerra via split Decision
Travis Marx VS Masakatsu Ueda
Both of these fighters a have great jiu jitsu. Udea is making his North American debut. He has compiled an impressive record only suffering 1 defeat. Marx has won 10 of his 17 fights by submission. I think Mark’s only way of winning would be by submission. The kicker is that if Royler Gracie couldn’t submit Ueda, I don’t think Marx will have a chance. I give Ueda the advantage on the mat therefore I give him the advantage in the fight.
Prediction: Ueda via Unanimous Decision
Rodrigo Lima VS Hiroshi Nakamura
Lima has finished 8 of his 10 fights in the first round. He is undefeated. Nakamura is a savvy vet but his record shows that his power is limited. He has never finished an opponent via KO or TKO. He actually has only 2 submission victories and 12 decisions. I think it’s the young Brazilians time to shine. He should make quick work of Nakamura.
Prediction: Lima via 1st round KO
Chris Lozano -160 (9-2) vs. Karl Amoussou +144 (13-4-2)
Lozano has been training with Greg Jackson for this fight. He is coming off a loss to Douglas Lima by KO. Amoussou has only won 2 out of his last 5 fights, but he is making his welterweight debut. Lozano is a big welterweight but I think Amoussou will have the speed and agility advantage. I think Amoussou hurts Lozano early then controls most of the fight. As long as Amoussou stays away from Lozano’s power, he should pull the upset.
Prediction: Amoussou via split decision
Ben Saunders -310 (12-4) vs. Raul Amaya +355 (9-0)
Amaya has finished all 9 of his opponents, 4 by TKO and 5 by submission. He has been fighting out of the Art of Fighting promotion. Saunders is a Muay Thai Machine. Long range and a great clinch game. He is coming off a KO loss to Douglas Lima. No shame in that I think Lima’s going to beat Askren. I think the line is correct in this Fight. Saunders should overwhelm him.
Prediction: Saunders via 2nd round TKO
Bryan Baker -289 (16-3) vs. Carlos Alexandre Pereira +255 (33-9)
Pereira has 22 TKO or KO finishes, he is a head hunter. Baker is dropping to 170 and he is a beast. Baker is dropping weight after his TKO loss to Vitor Vianna. Pereira is making his Bellator debut. I think the weight cut will be too hard on Baker and therefore I’m leaning with a big dog here.
Prediction: Pereira via 1st round TKO
David Rickels +141 (9-0) vs. Jordan Smith -156 (17-2)
Rickels in undefeated but has not fought a who’s who of fighters. Smith had a big win against Karo Parisyan in September. He has 7 Submissions and 7 TKOs. Rickels has submitted 6 opponents and that is the only way I see him beating Smith. Since Smith has never been submitted before I think Smith takes this one after 15 minuets
Prediction: Smith via unanimous decision
Bellaor LXII will take place live on Friday March 23rd from the Laredo Engergy Arena in Laredo Texas. The third installment of the Seaon 6 series will feature the finals of the Heavyweight tournament, along with 4 Lightweight Tournament quarter final matchups. Our Bellator specialist, Joe Caporale has broken down all 5 main card fights and is looking to build on a successful debut at Bellator 61 where he went 2 for 2 (Joe predicted 3 fights, but the heavyweight main event was pushed back a week). Good Luck Joe and keep the it rolling.
265 lbs.: Eric Prindle +370 (7-1 1 NC) vs. Thiago Santos -460 (10-1 1 NC)
Both fighters have good standup but I’d give a slight edge to Prindle. On the ground there’s no question Big Monster is superior. It looked pretty easy for Santos to take Prindle down in their first fight and unless Prindle catches Santos early with a big shot, Santos should be able to put him on the ground and submit him.
Prediction: Santos 1st round RNC
Patricky Freire -300 (10-2) vs. Lloyd Woodard +275 (11-1)
Woodward is coming off his first loss while Pitbull is coming off one of the biggest wins of his career over Pelligrino. Both fighters hit hard and both fighters are tough to put away. Woodward went 3 rounds with current champ Michael Chandler and ended up losing the decision. In my opinion I think the line is a bit to high for Pitbull but I do think he will win this fight. Here’s the kicker, I think after Woodward gets clipped Pitbull will choke him out.
Prediction: Freire 2nd round submission
Rick Hawn -200 (11-1) vs. Ricardo Tirloni +160 (14-1)
Hawn is coming off a Split decision loss to Jay Hieron. Tirloni is riding a 11 fight win streak where he finished 9 opponents. Hawn has power and good wrestling but I don’t think it will be enough to finish Tirloni. Tirloni has a ton of momentum, mix that with power and a good submission game and I think he pulls off the upset.
Prediction: Tirloni 1st round submission
J.J. Ambrose +224 (17-3) vs. Brent Weedman -266 (18-7-1)
Ambrose has good Muay Thai and great submissions. 53% of his wins have come by submission (9) Weedman is moving down a weight class after 2 straight losses. In fights that he has won, only 1 has gone to decision. He has 10 TKO/KO’s and 7 submissions. I do not see this fight going the distance. I think Ambrose has a bright future ahead of him and I think he makes a name for himself on Friday night.
Prediction: Ambrose 2nd round submission
Thiago Michel +165 (9-2) vs. Rene Nazare -205 (10-1)
Michel is making his North American Debut after fighting in Brazil. He is a KO specialist with all his wins coming by KO or TKO. I don’t think Nazare has anything for Michel on the feet. Nazare is a good grappler but good luk taking Michel down. Nazare has a proven chin but he will only be able to take so much until he is put to sleep in spectacular fashion.
Prediction Michel 2nd round TKO
Bellator 61 takes place on Friday March 16th and Kamikaze Overdrive is bringing you predictions for three of the five main card fights. The main event will feature the Heavyweight Tournament Finals between Eric Prindle and Thiago Santos, and we will also have predictions for two Middleweight Tournament Quarter-Final matchups; Maiquel Falcoa vs Norman Paraisy and Vitor Vianna vs Brian Rogers. Kamikazeoverdrive.net is looking to expand our stable of predictors and has given the task of breaking down Bellator 61 to Joe Caporale, you can check out his work below. Good Luck this weekend Joe.
85 lbs.: Maiquel Falcao -314 (28-4 1 NC) vs. Norman Paraisy +261 (10-1-1 1 NC)
Falcao is a beast and Paraisy quit while on the Ultimate Fighter not answering the bell for round 2 while attempting to get into the house. Falcao has good standup and a good submission game. 23 out of his 28 wins have come by KO/TKO . I see Falcao attacking right from the opening bell until Paraisy can’t stand up anymore.
Prediction: Falcao 1st round TKO
185 lbs.: Vitor Vianna -181 (12-2-1) vs. Brian Rogers +159 (8-3)
Both fighters are coming off losses to Alexander Shelemenko. Vianna went the distance with Shelemenko while Rogers was beating him up until he faded in the second round and was TKO’d. I like Rogers in the standup, he has heavier hands in my opinion with 7 of his 8 wins being by KO or TKO. Vianna is slick on the ground but I don’t think it gets to the ground. I’m going with the dog in this one but he has to finish early because I question Roger’s cardio.
Prediction: Rogers 1st round TKO