Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

Quick Thoughts on Tomorrow’s Bellator 120

I’ve gone over this before, but there are a couple reasons I haven’t been covering Bellator lately. One is that I already spend a lot of time covering the near-weekly UFC events and it would be a challenge to add weekly Bellator events on top of that. The other is that a large portion of my analysis is reliant on Fight Metric statistics, and Fight Metric does not cover Bellator.

Even then, I would be somewhat inclined to give Bellator at least some coverage, but to be perfectly honest I’m not a fan of how Bellator has done business recently. I liked Bellator a couple years ago when it was a promotion that focused on the tournament format, developed prospects, and stuck to the mantra that title shots are “earned,” not given. I never preferred Bellator to the UFC but I liked it as a change of pace and an opportunity to sit down and watch some fights in a low key environment.

However, Bellator has recently transformed into a company that is suddenly employing fighters like Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Tito Ortiz, who at this point are badly diminished versions of what they used to be. They’ve gone into the pay-per-view business, something that’s a lot easier to sell to me when it feels like the fights are important. They’ve made a mockery of their “title shots are earned” mantra by burying Patricio “Pitbull.” Their legal feud with Eddie Alvarez left a bad taste in my mouth.

The one fight scheduled for Bellator 120 that I could really get behind was the rubber match between Alvarez and Michael Chandler, both fighters I feel would perform at a very high level in the UFC lightweight division and would be serious threats to take the UFC title. Unfortunately, Alvarez recently suffered a concussion, forcing Bellator to replace him with Will Brooks and promoting the Jackson – “King Mo” fight to the main event. What’s left is a pay per view show with a main event featuring a shot Quinton Jackson and a badly faded “King Mo” (injuries really seem to have taken their toll on Mo), two squash matches and one somewhat interesting fight.

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (-235) vs. Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal (+215)

It’s amazing to me that Jackson is considered this strong a favorite to win this fight. (At one point the line on Jackson was -465! How?!) I guess knockout victories over Joey Beltran and Christian M’Pumbu were enough to get people back on Jackson’s side? Lawal hasn’t exactly been spectacular in Bellator, losing twice to Emanuel Newton, but there is at least some hope for Lawal to break through and become the top tier light heavyweight it appeared he could become in his early career. There’s no hope of that from Jackson, and it’s worth questioning how motivated he really is at this point, even coming off two knockout wins. I’m going to throw a degenerate gambling bet on Lawal, risking $3.00 to win $6.45.

Michael Chandler (-1000) vs. Will Brooks (+800)

Brooks isn’t half bad for a short-notice replacement fighter. The problem is that he’s taking on an opponent in Chandler who is one of the sport’s best examples of a wrestler with knockout power. I like Brooks but not if he’s taking on the lightweight version of Chad Mendes.

Alexander Shlemenko (-510) vs. Tito Ortiz (+440)

The reality of Tito Ortiz is that he hasn’t been good at MMA for ten years now – at least, not good by high-level standards. In this particular matchup, Ortiz will have a serious size advantage but it isn’t going to matter at all. Ortiz crumples when he’s hit hard to the body and Shlemenko is excellent at landing strikes to the body. Skill beats size at the end of the day, and Shlemenko’s skill is far beyond Ortiz’s at this point.

Blagoi Ivanov (-130) vs. Alexander Volkov (+120)

This is by far the most interesting fight on the card to me. Ivanov is undefeated at 11-0 and initially became famous for defeating Fedor Emelianenko in a Sambo competition. As Emelianenko and Khabib Nurmagomedov have shown, Sambo can be an outstanding base for a mixed martial artist, and Ivanov appears to be one of the better examples of Sambo working in MMA. He’ll be taking on a tough opponent in the tall and lanky striker in Volkov, but I suspect Ivanov’s advantage in takedowns and grappling will be enough to carry him to victory.

If you’re buying this show tomorrow (and I won’t be), I sincerely hope you get to watch some good fights and feel like you got your money’s worth out of your purchase. Best of luck.

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6 responses to “Quick Thoughts on Tomorrow’s Bellator 120

  1. Howard Morton May 17, 2014 at 3:29 am

    Bellator and Bjorn are getting really bad.

    I will check the results Sunday morning.

  2. Mirko May 18, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Sometimes it really pays off to put small amount of money on huge underdog, too bad I didn’t do it this time 🙂

  3. Howard Morton May 19, 2014 at 5:49 am

    Huge dogs in Bellator might be worth a 50 dollar bet, but definitely not in the UFC. I fully expect Barao and Cormier to get stoppage victories.

    Ellenberger is worth a decent size bet.

    • szady May 19, 2014 at 7:00 am

      Naa, Cormier – Hendo should go to full distance as Cormier isn’t power puncher and I believe Dan is still though fighter hard to knock him out if you are not TRT Belfort. Dillashaw can show competitive fight as I belive he is better than the betting public thinks. Praboble he is going to lose this fight but i won’t be suprised if this fight will end after full 5 rounds. Also I don’t trust Ellenberger because his cardio issues, but he can steal rounds with takedowns. Sorry for my english, but I’m from Poland. 🙂

    • Mirko May 19, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      Well, I agree with you at some point, Hendo was almost finished by a Shogun and I think Cormier hits harder but he isn’t that aggressive, also Hendo isn’t on TRT anymore so we will see how will that affect his performance (probably negative, just depends how much), Barao will probably find some way to finish although I wouldn’t bet on it, chance is probably 50/50 for both fights to end by some kind of a stoppage.

      And yeah, Ellenberger has a decent chance of winning via grinding but judging on Lawler last performance his takedown defense improved a lot so there is a good chance that he will keep this fight standing and finish it. I think Ellenberger will be worried a little bit with Robbie power and that might affect his performance (same as Rory’s). However this fight is a really tough call for me because Ellenberger hits hard as well so I think I’ll wait a little bit more although I’m probably going to end up betting on Lawler.

      I don’t usually do this since there is an always chance of spoil but I think I’ll combine everything I plan on betting with Cormier/Barao or at least Cormier since I see him as safest fighter to bet on whole card.

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