Bellator Fighting Championships is looking to continue their momentum after making their debut on Spike TV last week. On Thursday, Bellator 86 goes down at the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla. and features a title fight, the first round of the welterweight tournament and the debut of former Strikeforce champion Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal.

Eating Crow
In this section we look back at the last week’s Bellator 85 card. Since Bellator is every Thursday during their season, there is very little time for reflection. The Guide went 3-2. The two predictions that missed were Mikhail Zayats pounding out Renato “Babalu” Sobral after an awkward spinning back fist and Seth Petruzelli blowing out his knee going for a takedown against Jacob Noe while winning on the feet.

Predicting is not an exact science. The Guide thought that “Babalu” could have owned the fight on the ground, but he instead tried to strike and got caught with a wild shot. Petruzelli was the more technical striker, but he twice went for takedowns and got blasted both times.

This week The Guide is going 6-0.

Ben Askren vs. Karl Amoussou
Amoussou’s run through the welterweight tournament was one of the most surprising developments of Bellator’s sixth season. He is clearly a better welterweight than he is a middleweight. He has an above average submission game that directly contributed to his victories over Chris Lozano and Bryan Baker. However, Amoussou is still the same guy who had a life-and-death struggle with Sam Alvey who is probably not even a Bellator level fighter.

With the exception of his title fight against Jay Hieron, Askren has seemed light years ahead of his competition in Bellator. In this fight, he will have a clear advantage. Kazuhiro Nakamura easily dominated Amoussou on the floor, and he is not on Askren’s level in the wrestling game. It would signal a step in the right direction if the champion could come out and score a submission or ground-and-pound finish to get out of a fight in less than five rounds. However, even if he does not, Askren will successfully defend his title.

Muhammed Lawal vs. Przemyslaw Mysiala
Last week, the Guide pointed out that Atanas Djambazov was 124 in the Fight Matrix rankings. Well, Mysiala is ranked 213th at the moment. He trains with a respectable team in London Shootfighters, which houses the likes of James Zikic and John Hathaway. However, he has dropped fights to UFC washouts Neil Wain and Tom Blackledge. “King Mo” will be the toughest fighter he faces to date, and it will show.

Lawal has been out of action for over a year. Even though he has become a bit of a forgotten man, he still has the potential to be a perennial top-ten fighter. His win over Gegard Mousasi was a struggle, but people also seem to forget that Mousasi is quality light heavyweight. Lawal should be able to simply outclass everyone he comes across in Bellator starting with Mysiala. Even if “King Mo” struggles on the feet, Mysiala is allergic to wrestling, which you will see in the film study below.

Film Study:
Przemyslaw Mysiala vs. Jason Jones

Douglas Lima vs. Michail Tsarev
For the most part, Tsarev gets by on having a finish oriented submission game. This was illustrated clearly in his two Bellator contests. In his debut, he caught Tim Welch in a submission. In his next fight, he had basically nothing for Lyman Good since he could not get takedowns.

Lima should have the advantage on the ground and on the feet. If he chooses to stay on the outside, he should be able to disable Tsarev with kicks to the body and legs. The Russian will undoubtedly try to bring the fight to the ground. If he is successful, Lima will still have the advantage. A submission from his back would not be out of the question. Look for Lima to pick up the victory and move on in the tournament.

Ben Saunders vs. Koffi Adzitso
Adzitso is a curious signing for Bellator. He does have a victory over tournament veteran Chris Cisneros, but he also has a recent loss to Josh Burkman. Burkman may call himself “The People’s Warrior,” but he is more accurately the gatekeeper to major MMA promotions.

With that being said, this is still an interesting contest. Adzitso is mostly a brawler. He likes to mix it up on the feet and has a fair number of knockouts as a result. Saunders will likely be able to secure a submission if he can get the fight to the ground. However, he is not the best wrestler and can get muscled on the feet and in the clinch. The smart bet is a submission from Saunders, but this would not be a huge upset if Adzitso finished the fight on the feet with a flurry.

Film Study:
Koffi Adzitso vs. Kevin Burns

Marius Zaromskis vs. Brent Weedman
From a technical stand point, Zaromskis is probably the better striker. Despite the fact that he can sometimes throw an exotic technique and decapitate a respectable fighter, he still struggles when fighters come at him. Sure, he beat Waachiim Spiritwolf, but for a fighter at his level it should not have been such a struggle.

In a lot of ways, Weedman is a better version of Spiritwolf. He likes to come forward and throws with a ton of volume. Zaromskis will be looking to counter and land a big strike. If the “Whitemare” lands at least one huge shot round he has a chance (see his fight against Nordine Taleb). However, if Weedman can keep his pace up and avoid the big counters, he should be able to cruise to a decision victory. This should be an exciting fight for the Spike TV audience.

Raul Amaya vs. Jose Gomes
Gomes, or “Zezao Trator” as he is better known, likes to throw heavy shots on the feet. He is a solid wrestler, but his biggest weakness is his submission defense. Amaya also likes to throw huge punches on the feet, but he is not as accurate as the Brazilian. Plus, against Ben Saunders, Amaya showed that he mostly escapes from submission instead of applying them. Look for these two to stand in the middle of the cage and throw bombs. Eventually “Zezao Trator” will get the better of the striking exchanges and finish the fight. After all, he looked like a million bucks for the first minute against top prospect Erick Silva.

Film Study:
Jose Gomes vs. Erick Silva
Raul Amaya vs. Ben Saunders

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