After two-straight weekends of competition with big brother, Bellator finally has a night to themselves without any UFC shows. On Saturday, Eddie Alvarez defends his lightweight title against Pat Curran. While Rick Hawn, Lyman Good, Patricky Freire and Toby Imada try to advance in their respective tournaments.
Eddie Alvarez vs. Pat Curran
It is hard to believe that this will be Alvarez’s first defense of his lightweight title. Curran earned the shot by surprisingly winning the last lightweight tournament. Alvarez is the more accomplished striker, so he should be able to score from the outside. He is also the bigger fighter, so he will have the advantage in the wrestling and clinch games. Look for him to successfully defend his title. However, do not count out Curran, he has made a living proving people wrong in Bellator.
Pick = Eddie Alvarez
Film Study: Eddie Alvarez vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri
Rick Hawn vs. Lyman Good
In his last fight, Hawn chose to work mostly on the feet, and he was able to get the victory. That is not a luxury he will enjoy in this fight, because Good is certainly the better technical striker. With that being said, Hawn should still be the favorite thanks to his grappling game. Ben Askren showed that if you plant Good on his back he will struggle. Hawn might not have Askren’s wrestling skill, but he did make the Olympics in judo. He should not have trouble getting top position and keeping it.
Pick =Rick Hawn
Film Study: Rick Hawn vs. Garry St. Leger (Judo Style)
Ben Saunders vs. Matt Lee
Saunders continues his road back to the UFC here. Lee is a game veteran who has been in there with the likes of Alvarez and Jorge Masvidal. He might even have a bit of an advantage of the feet, but Saunders’ length and reach will easily negate that. Look for Saunders to take this fight to the ground and work either from the top or the bottom. The difference between the two fighters will be most evident on the floor.
Pick = Ben Saunders
Film Study: Ben Saunders vs. Dan Barrera
Patricky Freire vs. Toby Imada
Before his last fight, I severely underestimated the striking ability of Freire. I had seen him lace unknown Brazilian guys on the local level, but I did not think it would translate. Well, it did, and he starched Rob McCullough. Imada is scrappy on the feet and showed he could survive during his Shootboxing fights. However, I still think that this is Freire’s fight to loose. Look for “Pitbull” to get the better of the striking game and do enough work off his back if he gets taken down.
Pick = Patricky Freire
Film Study: Patricky Freire vs. Rob McCullough
Dave Jansen vs. Scott McAfee
Jansen’s fight are extremely easy to predict. If he can get takedowns, he is going to win a grinding decision. If he has trouble getting the fight to the ground, then he will struggle and get beat up on the feet. Like most people from Alaska, McAfee is a tough customer. He can win a brawl and has shown off some offensive submission skill against lesser opposition. However, he will not be able to deal with the continual takedown assault from Jansen. Look for the Team Quest fighter to take a decision victory.
Pick = Dave Jansen
Film Study: Dave Jansen vs. Tommy Truex (Kenny Rice Warning)
Dan Cramer vs. Greg Rebello
Pretty soon there will be more TUF veterans than MMA promotions. Rebello should be able to press Cramer into the cage and work for takedowns. He does not have a lot of finishing ability, but if he can stay on top he should be able to get the victory. Cramer is not a very technical striker, but he will have the advantage on the feet at distance. However, he recently struggled against Dante Rivera in his last fight. Rivera employed a strategy very similar to the one I have proposed for Rebello.
Pick = Greg Rebello
Film Study: Dan Cramer vs. Jeremiah Riggs
Matt Veach vs. Rene Nazare
When previewing Veach’s fight against Drew Fickett, I could not get the image of Veach picking up Frankie Edgar and slamming him into the canvas. After him to win, I was reminded that he has extremely suspect submission defense. Interestingly enough, Nazare is slick of his back and submitted wrestling stud Muzaffar Abdurakhmanov. Could Veach get on top and punish Nazare? Sure, but it is more likely that Nazare walks out of the cage with a submission victory.
Pick = Rene Nazare
Film Study: Rene Nazare vs. Muzaffar Abdurakhmanov