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Bellator 40 Preview

Despite losing the Josh Arocho/Ronnie Mann fight, Bellator 40 should still be a great show.  The second semifinal fights in the Welterweight and Lightweight Tournaments will take place, along with a Superfight pitting Welterweight Champion Ben Askren against Nick Thompson in a non-title contest.

Bellator 40 will be aired on MTV2 at 9:00 PM EST/8:00 CST tonight, April 9.  I’ve failed to mention this in the past, but Bellator airs replays of the fights immediately after the original airing.  You can always catch the fights two hours later than the live airing which is pretty convenient.  It sure beats the old setup they had in Chicago, where the Cubs or White Sox would preempt Bellator and bump them to a shitty, unwatchable time slot.

Welterweight: Ben Askren (7-0, No. 11 WW) vs. Nick Thompson (38-13-1)

Askren: Four time NCAA Wrestling finalist, two time champion, 2008 Olympian, brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, current Bellator Welterweight Champion, Bellator Welterweight Tournament Champion in season two, has won his last three fights by unanimous decision, has crazy hair.

Thompson: Extremely talented submission artist with 22 career submission wins, has fought for the UFC, Strikeforce, EliteXC, Sengoku, MFC, and is the former Bodog Fights Welterweight Champion, key wins over Eddie Alvarez, Josh Neer, and Paul Daley, on a three fight losing streak, making his Bellator debut.

Remarks: I think this is probably the best opponent you could choose for Ben Askren at this point in his career.  Nick Thompson is very talented and has been all around the world of MMA for nearly a decade.  Askren’s wrestling has been king in his career thus far, but Thompson can use any number of submissions to end a fight.  Thompson poses a real threat to Bellator’s undefeated rising star, but Askren proved against Lyman Good and Dan Horbuckle that he is capable of controlling fights for extended periods of time.  I’ll give another decision win to Askren in this fight and I’ll be interested to see how his game has progressed since we last saw him in the Bellator cage.

Welterweight Tournament Semifinals: Jay Hieron (20-4, No. 14 WW) vs. Brent Weedman (18-5-1)

Hieron: Dominated Anthony Lapsley in the Welterweight Tournament quarterfinals, would have won the fight regardless of Lapsley’s protests, high school and Juco wrestling champion, good boxing, very well-rounded fighter.

Weedman: Upset Dan Hornbuckle in the Welterweight Tournament quarterfinals (though I thought he lost the fight), in the midst of a ten fight winning streak, finished nine of those ten fights.

Remarks: Jay Hieron will win this fight.  I’m not sure if anything else needs to be said.  Brent Weedman put up a tough fight against Dan Hornbuckle, but I thought Hornbuckle clearly took two rounds of that fight.  Meanwhile, Hieron has been in the upper echelon of non-UFC welterweights for quite some time.  Hieron is a far more skilled fighter than Weedman and should have no problems dispatching his opponent en route to the Welterweight Tournament finals.

Lightweight Tournament Semifinals: Lloyd Woodard (11-0) vs. Michael Chandler (6-0)

Woodard: Scored a TKO win over Carey Vanier in the Lightweight Tournament quarterfinals, nicknamed “Cup Cake” and has a mustache, all other information is irrelevant.

Chandler: Like Ben Askren, a former Division 1 wrestling All-American at Missouri, quickly submitted Marcin Held in the Lightweight Tournament quarterfinals, once defeated a figher named Scott Stapp, unfortunately not the same Scott Stapp that most of us would like to see get pummeled.

Remarks: When I Googled Michael Chandler, his website appears with this byline in the search results: “The Official Website of Michael Chandler, professional UFC Fighter.”  Ugh, really?  This guy is a professional and very visible MMA fighter and he, or one of his people, makes the mistake of using UFC as a term interchangeable with MMA.  I’m sure that will help with the page hits, but it kinda makes Chandler look like a doofus.  I guess that’s the kind of education you get down in Columbia, Missouri.  Regarding the fight, I give the win to Woodard.  “Cup Cake” is the dark horse in this tournament and I just have a feeling that he’ll score the win tonight.  To say that my pick has been influenced by Chandler’s MMA faux pas would be accurate.

Welterweight: Tyler Stinson (19-7) vs. Nathan James (11-6-1)

Heavyweight: Eric Prindle (6-1) vs. Josh Burns (6-3)

Welterweight: David Rickles (3-0) vs. Dylan Smith (4-0)

Lightweight: Cody Carrillo (0-0) vs. Michael Osborn (2-3)

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