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Bellator 45 Preview

After a really good show last week, Bellator is back tonight with tbeir final card of the fourth season.  Unfortunately for Bellator, the finale doesn’t look quite as solid as last week’s card.  The featherweight tournament finals look to be pretty exciting, but the light heavyweight tournament has been impressive all year.

The rest of the card leaves a bit to be desired.  Frenchman Karl Amoussou makes his Bellator debut, but unfortunately, a match between Thiago Santos and Derrick Lewis had to be cancelled last minute.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see heavyweights Shawn Jordan and John Hill promoted to the main card.

Bellator 45 will air live on MTV2 at 9:00 PM EST/8:00 PM CST with a replay airing immediately after the live showing.  This will be the last Bellator event for about a month, when the promotion returns with their Summer Series on June 25.

Featherweight Tournament Finals: Patricio Freire (16-1, No. 18 FEW) vs. Daniel Straus (16-3)

Freire: Scored a stunning knockout of Wilson Reis in the tournament semifinals, now has six career knockout wins along with seven submission victories, brother Patricky lost in the season four Lightweight Tournament finals.

Straus: Submitted Kenny Foster in the tournament semifinals, the win over Foster was Straus’ 12th in a row, six of those 12 wins have come by way of decision, Ohio state high school wrestling medalist.

Remarks: I really like Daniel Straus’ style, but I think that Patricio Freire may just be a bit too skilled for Straus.  Freire’s knockout win over Wilson Reis was nothing short of sensational and he’s been incredible during his time in Bellator thus far.  He may as well be undefeated – I still think his split decision loss to Joe Warren was bogus.  Straus is a tough guy and is very talented and I even think he can take this fight the full 15 minutes.  I would be pretty surprised if he pulled off the win and I’ll take Freire to take a convincing unanimous decision victory.

Light Heavyweight Tournament Finals: Richard Hale (17-3-1) vs. Christian M’Pumbu (17-3-1)

Hale: Took a split decision victory over Richard Hale in the tournament semifinals, has held the Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Titles for the Rage in the Cage promotion, has gone 13-1-1 in his last 15 fights, the sole loss to Antwain Britt.

M’Pumbu: Defeated Tim Carpenter in the tournament semifinals by TKO, has fought in 10 different countries on four continents, has never been knocked out in his career.

Remarks: I’ve liked M’Pumbu to win this tournament from the start and I still think he’ll become the first ever Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion.  As impressive as Hale looked with his inverted triangle in the quarterfinals, he really didn’t do much to win his semifinal fight against D.J. Linderman.  M’Pumbu has looked pretty in the tournament thus far, and frankly, I’m somewhat surprised that he’s yet to get a shot in any of the larger promotions like the UFC, Strikeforce, or DREAM.  M’Pumbu is a talented guy who should add another TKO win to his resume in the finals.

Middleweight: Karl Amoussou (12-3-2) vs. Sam Alvey (14-2, 1 NC)

Amoussou: Judo black belt, seven career victories via submission, has previously fought for M-1, DREAM, and Strikeforce, has a Strikeforce fight with Trevor Prangley ended due to an accidental eye poke, making his Bellator debut.

Alvey: Eight career (T)KO victories, has wrestling experience, on a three fight winning streak against opponents with a combined 41-56 record, also making his promotional debut.

Remarks: Sam Alvey has never fought anybody of note in his two and a half year career.  Moving up from a bum like Jason Guida to a very good judo practitioner like Karl Amoussou will be a rude awakening for Alvey.  Karl Almoussou has a bright future in MMA and could potentially be a player at middleweight.  Alvey has a nice record, but won’t be more than a warm-up for Amoussou.  I’ll take the Frenchman by submission.

Heavyweight: Shawn Jordan (9-2) vs. John Hill (3-1)

Welterweight: Nicolae Cury (4-1) vs. Luis Santos (48-6)

Lightweight: Scott O’Shaughnessy (3-2) vs. Kelvin Hackney (9-1)

Middleweight: Michael Fleniken (3-3) vs. Tim Ruberg (5-0)

Catchweight (140 lbs.): Joseph Abercrombie (2-1) vs. Ben Parpart (1-1)

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