Friday, April 13, 2012

Bellator/UFC preview (Plus a BONUS! )

For those who didn't hear me say so at length on my radio show, I am SO pumped to see the UFC on live again.

I am unfortunately in the middle of major paper season at UNLV, so I'm afraid for these smaller events, I'll have to bolt through these matches.

With that said, I'll do you all a couple of solids. First up, I will pick the main cards of both Bellator and UFC this week:

Bellator: Bantamweight Championship bout: Zach Makovsky (c) v. Eduardo Dantas

Makovsky has been absolutely impressive over his time in Bellator, but his fight history shows that he is vulnerable to submissions. Dantas won last season's bantamweight tournament, but picked up no submissions in that time.

As such, I think Makovsky's elite, world championship caliber wrestling game is the difference maker here. I will take Makovsky to win by decision.

Featherweight Semifinals: Daniel Straus v. Mike Corey

Corey surprised me by picking up that win in the quarterfinals, but I don't think it will keep up here. Once again, an elite wrestler is in the game, and although this fight will be dull beyond reason, Straus will pick up the decision.

Bantamweight Quarterfinals

Ed West v. Marcos Galvao - This is effectively a third-place match from season 5, so it should be one heck of a match-up. Ultimately, I think Galvao's ground game is the difference maker, but West will be so prepared for it that Galvao will sneak in a second-round KO.

Alexis Vila v. Luis Noguiera - Noguiera is certainly an interesting ground fighter, but Vila earned my respect in last year's tournament where he made the finals. My guess is that Vila gets a 1st-round KO.


Light Heavyweight Bout: Alexander Gustafsson v. Thiago Silva

Silva is making his grand return to the cage after a year away due to a wellness suspension. Gustafsson wants to make a name for himself by winning in his home nation in UFC's Sweden debut.

I expect the two to stand and bang here, but I'll take Gustafsson to win by decision, thereby moving into the next echelon of fighters.

Middleweight Bout: Brian Stann v. Alessio Sakara

Stann looked dominant in this division until he came up against Chael Sonnen. As such, I think he is the huge favorite in this fight.

Also as such, I'll be taking Stann to win by first-round KO.

Rest of Card

Welterweights: Paulo Thiago v. Siyar Bahadurzada - Bahadurzada will pick up a decision here and make a name for himself with an upset.

Featherweights: Dennis Siver v. Diego Nunes - In my pick for Fight of the Night, I'll take Siver to score a second-round submission.

Welterweights: DaMarques Johnson v. John Maguire - Johnson steps up his game and scores a decision victory

Bantamweights: Brad Pickett v. Damacio Page - I love Pickett's style, and I'll give him a decision win, and he may even sneak his first KO in a while out of it.

Second solid I'll do here is that tomorrow I will be heading to the Mandalay Bay here in Vegas to see the local portion of the HBO PPV.

For those who haven't heard, this is pretty much being openly called a throwaway PPV from a money-making standpoint. Juan Manuel Marquez is fighting Sergey Fedchenko in Mexico City in a match no one asked to see. (Expect Marquez to win by decision.)

However, the Vegas portion of the split-site card is headlined by the undefeated Brandon Rios, considered to be the best lightweight not named Marquez.

He was supposed to face the former undisputed featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa of Cuba, but after he failed to show up for the press conference, fellow Cuban and Interim WBA Lightweight Champion Richard Abril jumped up and slapped him in the face.

The Review Journal here in Las Vegas wrote a piece on Abril and his credentials, but no one really believes he has much of a chance here.

To be fair, there is reason for that. The reason Abril is interim champ is because Rios failed to make weight for the WBA title defense he had, vacating the belt (though how they named him interim champ before they vacated the belt reeks of boxing logic).

But what I've seen and how based on his confidence, I think Abril goes the distance here. He will still lose, but I'll give him a chance to be a threat. His height advantage should allow him to keep Rios at bay for a few rounds, so let's see what he can do.

I'll be back this weekend giving my thoughts on this event and how it reflects on boxing as a whole soon, so stay tuned!

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