Friday, March 30, 2012

Bellator 63 preview/Fedor thoughts

OK, I am officially tired of Bellator picks.

While I appreciate the fact that the cards have been watchable, and I am glad that I went 3-1 on last week's picks (honestly, who wasn't surprised by the upset of Patricky Freire?), it just doesn't seem as fun to pick when I'm not seeing the UFC emblem for a month at a time.

I like MMA as a whole and can watch just about any company, but without the flagship of the sport running events, the month of March just feels like a filler month. Nothing must-see, just passable competition.

Anyway, since the Bellator Sixth Season began, I've been on a picking hot streak, picking 12 of 16 Bellator fights correctly. With myself being firmly established as the Internet's "Bellator Guy," let's put some more wins on the books. (Watch, this is where I fall apart.)

Welterweight Quarterfinals

Karl Amoussou v. Chris Lozano

Amoussou was supposed to fight War Machine in what would have been his Bellator debut, but War Machine won't be able to make it because he caught a case of being a dumbass. As such, Amoussou finds himself matched against a tournament veteran.

Lozano returns to the Welterweight tournament after getting knocked out in the semifinals last year by Douglas Lima. Amoussou is on a one-fight winning streak, beating Jesus Martinez at Bellator 59.

I expect Amoussou's judo to be an issue for Lozano, but I think his boxing will keep the Frenchman at bay for three rounds. I have Lozano by decision.

Raul Amaya v. Ben Saunders

Amaya has won his last three fights by submission, and he is undefeated with a 9-0 record. However, I can't help but feel that this is a feeding.

Saunders made the welterweight finals last go-around before falling to Lima, and before that he had won all four fights since being released from the UFC.

Ultimately, Saunders has excellent ground skills and higher levels of experience. I expect Saunders to win by a knockout in Round 2.

Jordan Smith v. David Rickels

Smith is a 20-fight veteran and has Ultimate Fighter experience while Rickels is undefeated and has three Bellator fights under his belt already.

Both men have submissions as their dominant mode of victory, so I would expect both to respect the other's ground game and keep it standing. In that battle, I'll take the more experienced Smith, who has multiple KOs on his resume.

I'll pick Smith by decision.

Bryan Baker v. Carlos Alexandre Pereira

Baker is moving down a weight class after losing in the middleweight semifinals last year. Meanwhile, Pereira is making his debut in a sizable American promotion.

That said, Pereira is no slouch. As a matter of fact, he has 42 fights to his name already with a 33-9 record.

I would love to see all his hard work pay off here, and would not be surprised to see him get his 26th knockout. That said, Baker has fought better competition in Bellator and WEC and has a strong stand-up game himself.

There's no way this goes the distance. I'll pick Baker by 1st-round KO.

Since this is my first blog on this site in a week (sorry about that, but pre-spring break school projects come first), I'll close with some thoughts on Fedor to the UFC teasing.
Vadim Finkelstein, a.k.a. The Most Annoying Man in the World, has said that he believes it's time for Fedor to move to the UFC, provided that the deal is fair to his fighter.

'He doesn't always throw Fedor to UFC talk out there, but when he does, he prefers NAY demands it be with co-promotion.'

Finkel-bag and his M-1 Global promotion have been trying to garner co-promotion with the UFC since the last time Fedor was in negotioation, so unless the tune has changed since Fedor was reduced to squashing tomato cans, this is pointless banter.

Dana White has already said he has no plans to negotiate for Fedor, while Lorenzo Fertitta told one of his Twitter followers that he's listen to him if M-1 co-promotion was guaranteed to be thrown out.

I neither want nor expect this deal to go through. First of all, M-1 will always be part of the deal. Fedor is part owner and will want to see his company get promoted.

More importantly, though, need I remind you all that in the last two times Fedor fought in American companies with true heavyweights, he looked outmatched? Heck, last time he fought in Strikeforce, he was facing Dan Henderson at a weight class above his normal one, and he still lost inside of a round.

Fedor would only be useful once, as UFC could promote him heavily, get all the casual fans who haven't seen him recently hyped up, and then use the one big PPV with him on it to push an upper-level heavyweight to the next level of marketability.

Well, I guess time will tell how this goes, but I'm not overly hyped for the next few weeks of these stories.

'Stay aggravated, my friends.'

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