170lbs- Michael Page (13-0-0) vs Paul Daley (40-16-2)
With a spot across from Douglas Lima in the Welterweight Grand Prix semi-finals up for grabs, the undefeated human highlight-reel Michael “Venom” Page takes on the devastating knockout artist Paul “Semtex” Daley. Page is 8-0 in the promotion, including a knockout of David Rickles and a split decision win over Fernando Gonzalez. Daley is 2-3 over his last 5 outings; defeating Lorenz Larkin and Brennan Ward but losing to Rory MacDonald, Douglas Lima, and Jon Fitch.
The 6’3″ “Venom” will stand a full 6 inches clear of Daley to go along with a 3″ reach advantage. Page is the younger man by 4-years.
Page has been impressive, but he is taking another step up in competition. In Paul Daley he is facing a devastating striker with 30 knockouts wins on his record. More importantly, Daley does not appear to be the type of fighter that will be intimidated by MVP.
While Page is flash personified, Daley has collected his laundry list of victims largely on the strength of his devastating left hook. Against Larkin, he disguised his left behind a spinning backfist, delivering 2 fight-ending left strikes in sequence.
The win was the 5th Bellator knockout for “Semtex”, but it also appeared to showcase some of his difficulties against more diverse strikers. Larkin had success in the opening frame as the more active striker touching Daley while the Brit remained locked but not ready to unload.
Conversely, the Gonzalez fight showcased that Page is not untouchable. Gonzalez pressed Page, utilizing less flashy but more functional techniques and nearly pulled off the upset. Fernando had to expose himself to the danger of MVP’s arsenal which is something that Daley will need to do as well.
There is also the question of the mat game. Both coming from a striking base, wrestlers or less skilled strikers have attempted to force each man into a defensive posture on the mat. Page has secured a trio wins by submission and Daley has been tapped out 6-times, but the only way this fight hits the mat is via a knockdown.
If Daley gets stuck at the end of the myriad of unorthodox offense from “Venom”, he could allow this fight to slip away from him. He won’t. Daley has the chin and brash attitude to walk Page down and the disproportionate reach to allow him to touch his taller foe. Over a 5-round battle, “Semtex” will slow Page down with low kicks and eventually punch is way into a position to land his signature left hand- my prediction is Paul Daley to defeat Michael Page by knockout.
265lbs- Vitaly Minakov (20-0-0) vs Cheick Kongo (29-10-2)
In the second of 2 main card rematches, former Heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov returns to Bellator to run it back with former title challenger Cheick Kongo. Minakov went 5-0 in the promotion, defeating Kongo in his final Bellator bout back in 2014- he has won 7 fight since leaving. Kongo is making his 14th Bellator appearance and is currently riding a 7-fight winning streak.
A curious omission from the Heavy-weight Grand Prix, Kongo has put together an impressive run and could earn himself a title shot with a win. Similarly, Minakov will most likely garner a chance to regain the title he never lost if he can best the Paris-native.
Kongo has made a living utilizing a grinding clinch and top-position based attack. If he is unable to muscle his opponent around, his lack of a consistent offense and vulnerable chin leave him exposed on the feet.
In their first encounter, Vitaly was able to turn the tables on the UFC veteran in more ways than one. Minakov took Kongo down on a couple of occasions, including a final ground and pound barrage to end the 5th round.
Minakov also landed a couple of low blows on Kongo, who is notorious for his cup checking ways. The transgression cost Vitaly a point with the judges.
Coming off a couple of opening round KOs, Kongo appears to have found his finishing stride once again. Unfortunately, he is badly outgunned by the Russian. Minakov is the superior striker and should be the slightly quicker man. Minakov will have to circle out of a couple early clinch attempts, before battering his foe either on the feet or from top position- my prediction is Vitaly Minakov to defeat Cheick Kong by knockout.
265lbs- Mirko Cro Cop (36-11-2) vs Roy Nelson (23-16-0)
In a Heavyweight rematch dating back to 2011, Mirko Cro Cop makes his Bellator debut against “Big Country” Roy Nelson. The native of Croatian steps into the cage on a 9-fight winning streak. Nelson has struggled since arriving in Bellator, earning just a single win over his first 3 outings.
At 44-years of age, Cro Cop looks to be in excellent physical condition while the wear and tear of Nelson pension for punishment appears to be catching up to him.
In their first encounter, Nelson picked up a ground-based TKO victory. In the latter stages of his career “Big Country” has become more takedown focussed- with mixed to poor results.
Cro Cop isn’t the devastating striker he used to be, but he is the more technical figther in this pairing. Nelson has struggled to find success with his one-note offense and has just a single knockout over his last 9 fights.
It is worth mentioning that Mirko is undefeated in rematches.
Nelson was never quick, but he has slowed further and his ability to take a punch has diminished as well. Mirko should find success as the more diverse striker, avoiding the majority of Nelson’s early offense and taking over as Roy slows down. Cro Cop continues to rewrite history and capitalizes on Nelson’s willingness to eat punches- my prediction is Mirko Cro Cop to defeat Roy Nelson by TKO
170lbs- Erick Silva (20-9-0) vs Yaroslav Amosov (20-0-0)
Brazilian Erick Silva makes his promotional debut against the undefeated Ukrainian-born Yaroslav Amosov in the Welterweight division. Silva is coming off an opening-round submission win over Nick Barnes at LFA 45- he is 5-5 over his last 10. Amosov earned just the third decision win of his pro career with a 3-round victory over Gerald Harris.
A Sambo practitioner, Amosov had finished the majority of his opposition prior to his Bellator debut, ending 12 of 17 finishes in round 1. Prior to the Harris victory, previous 3 opponents were a combined 28-10.
Silva offered similar numbers earlier in his career, stopping his opponent in 10 of his 13 wins. Unfortunately, once the now 34-year old started to face better competition the decision and knockout defeats started to pile up.
In his LFA debut, Silva got dropped and was in trouble prior to snatching an armbar off his back for the win.
The Ukrainian blends together heavy hands on the feet and solid takedown entries. Yaroslav offers excellent timing on his TDAs, either changing levels behind a combination or ducking under his opponent’s attacks to dump them on their head.
Silva is explosive and capable of grabbing a win at any point, but his already below average cardio is now joined by an overall lack durable. Amosov’s steady output of offense should be enough to overwhelm Silva either exhausting him and/or leading to a finish- my prediction is Yaroslav Amosov to defeat Erick Silva by TKO.
|+ Yaroslav Amosov||To WIN||-334|
|+ Mirko Cro Cop||To WIN||-176|
|+ Vitaly Minakov||To WIN Inside the Distance||-145|
|+ Paul Daley||To WIN||+187|
Starting in 2010, Scott began posting UFC and NFL predictions videos on youtube under the name Kamikaze Overdrive MMA Predictions. Eventually, MMA became his main focus and as the channel’s popularity grew Kamikaze Overdrive eventually expanded to include a website. Scott has worked for various MMA and Sports betting information sites and now posts UFC Predictions, Betting Breakdowns, and Content along with other sports-related betting information.