For a long time it seemed as if the MMA world went, the UFC 1st, and then everyone else in a distant 2nd. Strikeforce was the first corporation to even make them sweat, and they did more then that. They were able to attract some of the best fighters in the world. While they were still very far away from the level of total talent in the UFC, they were still close enough to force Zuffa (UFC’s parent company) and the UFC to pay a fortune for their corporation and the rights to all their fighters. Ever since Zuffa and the UFC’s accusation of Strikeforce in 2011 all of the other top MMA corporations in the World have been trying to do what Strikeforce did. Get so big that they could attract top talent away from the UFC.
Bellator, the 2nd best show in town, has done just that. They have more than a handful of fighters that are talented enough to compete with the UFC’s best, and some of their recent acquisitions already have. This weekends’ Bellator 180 is their big chance to get fans that much more interested. If these fights all end up being duds, it would be disastrous for Bellator. On the other hand, the opposite result could be monumental. Without further delay I will be predicting the result of the main fights and will even give you my exact expected result (because I know all you other gamblers will be betting on that too)
Phil Davis (c) (-125) vs Ryan Bader (-105) for the Light Heavyweight Championship
In an effort to draw fans to the prelims this is the only main fight that is not on the Pay-Per-View. Both fighters have been top 10 205 pounders for quite some time, and both have had tremendous success in their careers. They fought once before, which resulted in a split decision win for Bader. I think it goes the other way this time though. I do not see Bader knocking out Davis and Davis will simply outlast him in a 5 round title fight.
Phil Davis by Unanimous decision.
Douglas Lima (c) (+140) vs Lorenz Larkin (-180) for the Welterweight Championship
Lorenz Larkin gets a Kings’ welcome into Bellator with an immediate title shot in the biggest event in the company’s history. That’s not to say that he does not deserve it. In the UFC Larkin had been coming off two straight wins against the #8 (Jorge Masvidal) and #9 (Neil Magny) fighters in the world. Lima is by no means a slouch and has fought top competition for a very long time. Still, I think we haven’t even seen the best Lorenz Larkin as he continues to get better and better.
Lorenz Larkin by 3rd round TKO
Michael Chandler (c) vs. Brent Primus for the Lightweight Championship
Primus is an astounding story and has overcome amazing adversity in his life. This is his chance to become one of the top fighters in the World. However, Michael Chandler has just too much experience. While I think this will be an amazing knock down, drag em out scrap, Chandler will prove to be too much.
Chandler by 4th round submission, Rear Naked Choke
Fedor Emelianenko (+120) vs Matt Mitrione (-135)
This is definitely the hardest fight to call for me. These two fighters couldn’t be any more different as far as where they are in their careers. Fedor is trying to prove he is still relevant and Mitrione wants to finally put together enough consecutive wins to be a champion. While watching Mitrione come seconds away from being knocked out by an unproven Carl Seumanutafa scares me, Fedor’s win (which most thought was a clear loss) against Fabio Maldonado scares me more. I just do not think Fedor has it in him any more.
Matt Mitrione by 2nd round KO
Wanderlei Silva (+125) vs Chalet Sonnen (-165)
Throughout the history of MMA we have seen countless fighters get into the ring, cage, octagon, whatever with only one thing between them before the fight, pure hatred. This fight may be one of the most extreme cases of that, at least from the perspective of Wanderlei Silva. To name a few, Sonnen has insinuated Silva was gay, said that he was incompetent and illiterate, said that he was on steroids in PRIDE (talk about the pot calling the kettle black), and has aggressively insulted his home country of Brazil. I was so unimpressed with Sonnen’s performance against Tito Ortiz that I just do not see Chael doing anything but collecting a paycheck here. And Silva, given the opportunity, would knee Chael’s head clean off of his shoulders. I am going with the legend known as the Axe Murderer.
Wanderlei Silva by 1st round KO