Tonight Bellator returns with one of their strongest cards this season. Featherweight champion Joe Soto will defend his title against season 2 tournament champion Joe Warren in the Bellator’s first title fight since promotion’s first season. The main card will also feature three bouts from Bellator’s bantamweight tournament. Fox Sports Net will broadcast the four featured bouts at 8 p.m. EST.
Joe Soto vs. Joe Warren
Headlining this card will be the best fight, on paper, that Bellator has ever promoted. Soto should be the favorite here. Warren has very little finishing ability and this fight will probably go the full fifteen minutes. Soto will be able to land strikes on the feet, and Warren has shown he is susceptible to getting caught in submissions from the top position. Of course, he has also showed he has no problem slamming his way out of holds. Warren will certainly get takedowns. However, in his last two fights he has shown very little offense. Look for Soto to own the stand up and score points from his back.
Pick = Joe Soto
Ulysses Gomez vs. Travis Reddinger
After spending the majority of his career at flyweight, Gomez will move up to bantamweight for this tournament. On the ground, he will have a huge advantage over Reddinger and will likely tap him there. However, if Gomez struggles as the smaller fighter, Reddinger might be able to put some punches together on the feet. Even then, Gomez will be able to survive. He showed a rock solid chin against Shooto 115-pound champion Rambaa Somdet. (Interesting fact: Gomez’s brother Herculez was a member of the 2010 U.S. World Cup team)
Pick = Ulysses Gomez
Bryan Goldsby vs. Ed West
Goldsby came into his last fight riding a two-fight losing streak. Jeff Curran was the local main event for Bellator 25, and he needed an opponent. Goldsby was able to keep the fight on the feet and take a striking-based decision for the upset. That win earned him a shot in the tournament. Goldsby is entirely unrefined as a fighter, but he uses his athleticism to make up for what he lacks in technique. Against Curran, he continually flipped out of takedown attempt to avoid the ground game. He gets into trouble when he faces proper wrestlers. West has experience fighting up in weight against recognizable names like Chirs Horodecki and Savant Young, but he does not have the skill set to score a victory here. Look for Goldsby to land some unorthodox strikes and move on at the tournament dark horse.
Pick = Bryan Goldsby
Zach Makovsky vs. Nick Mamalis
Mamalis has improved his game drastically after moving to the Grudge Training Center. After scoring back-to-back upset victories over Mark Oshiro and Albert Rios, he comes into this tournament as one of the favorites. Mamalis, a former NJCAA finalist wrestler, will use his wrestling in reverse and keep the fight on the feet. Makovsky is a good grappler, but Mamalis should have an advantage on the feet. If he starts to get in trouble there, he will be able to get top position and avoid submissions en route to a decision victory.
Pick = Nick Mamalis