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Bellator 48 Preview

August 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Tonight, Bellator should be a lot of fun.  If nothing else, we’ll likely see three and possibly four very entertaining fights.  Marlon Sandro and Pat Curran are two of the better featherweights Bellator has to offer and they should put on a very competitive fight in the summer series featherweight tournament finals.  I really wish this was a five round fight, though my complaints end there.

We’ll also see a couple of potentially exciting heavyweight bouts.  Bellator Heavyweight Champion Cole Konrad will take on former UFC heavyweight Paul Buentello, while two other former UFC fighters will square off as Ricco Rodriguez will take on Seth Petruzelli.  We’ll also see a lightweight bout featuring top prospect Rene Nazare.

Bellator 48 will air live tonight on MTV2 at 9:00 PM EST/8:00 PM CST, but for the first time that I can remember, a replay will not be shown immediately after the live broadcast!  Disappointing news for people who fall asleep in front of the TV during the main card, hoping to wake up during the replay.  You’ll just have to be content with a number of Bully Beatdown replays.

Featherweight Tournament Finals: Marlon Sandro (19-2, No. 4 FEW) vs. Pat Curran (15-4)

Marlon Sandro is probably the best fighter to ever compete for Bellator.  That is, his reputation upon entering the promotion was top notch.  He’s a top five featherweight and has only ever lost to top fighters in Hatsu Hioki and Michihiro Omigawa, though the Omigawa decision has been disputed.  Unfortunately, Sandro has looked less than convincing during his run through the summer series featherweight tournament.

Pat Curran will definitely put Sandro to the test tonight.  Curran’s tournament resume is far more impressive with stellar wins over Luis Palomino and Ronnie Mann.  He’s only ever lost one fight in Bellator and that’s to top lightweight Eddie Alvarez.  Curran is a talented wrestler with good boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and always puts on a show.

I really feel like Curran is primed to score an upset tonight.  Given how both fighters have looked in the tournament thus far, Curran should be the definite favorite.  I also worry that Sandro’s rating might be a bit inflated since he doesn’t have a single win over fighters currently ranked in the top 25.  That’s not a sole indicator of success, but it’s fairly telling.  Curran has some big Bellator wins and he put up a good fight in his loss against Eddie Alvarez.

I’ll give Curran a close decision win here.  I think I have Sandro overrated and Curran underrated, so that could be skewing my opinion, but I really like Curran’s chances of becoming the first fighter in Bellator history to win tournaments at different weight classes.

Heavyweight: Cole Konrad (7-0, No. 15 HW) vs. Paul Buentello (29-13)

Cole Konrad, Bellator’s reigning Heavyweight Champion, has yet to be tested.  Paul Buentello may not be the fighter he used to be, but he’s probably Konrad’s biggest challenge and definitely the biggest name Konrad has fought to date.  Buentello has gone 2-1 since struggling during his last UFC run while the undefeated Cole Konrad probably has the best wrestling out of all MMA heavyweights.

Konrad’s wrestling is going to take him a long way, but he’ll have to become a more than competent striker to contend in the division.  Buentello is a veteran fighter who can provide a great test, but I expect to see a lot out of the former Minnesota Golden Gopher and Konrad should score a TKO win.

Catchweight (230 lbs.): Seth Petruzelli (13-6) vs. Ricco Rodriguez (46-11)

In one corner, you have a former UFC Heavyweight Champion on a 12 fight winning streak looking to get one more chance at the big time.  In the other corner, you have the man once likened to Rocky Balboa by the ever ridiculous Gus Johnson.  Then again, I don’t think either fighter will be in a corner since Bellator holds their fights in a circular cage.

Nonetheless, this should be a pretty interesting contest.  A win here brings Ricco Rodriguez one step closer to the UFC, while Petruzelli’s 0-4 UFC record likely precludes him from ever fighting there again.  Rodriguez has really looked good since losing so much weight and getting his life back together.  He’s kept busy and won fights and he should be able to add Seth Petruzelli to his resume.  I’ll give Ricco the submission victory here.

Lightweight: Rene Nazare (9-0) vs. Juan Barrantes (7-5, 1 NC)

Nazare is 2-0 in Bellator with a win over former PRIDE fighter Luiz Azeredo.  Juan Barrantes has fought once since 2008, losing a fight last June against Antonio Carvalho.  I really don’t like Barrantes’ chances considering he hasn’t won a fight since October 2008.  I’ll take Nazare by submission.

Featherweight: Saul Almeida (9-1) vs. Tateki Matsuda (6-2)

Welterweight: Brett Oteri (8-1) vs. Ryan Quinn (5-2-1)

Lightweight: Andrew Calandrelli (4-3) vs. Matt Nice (1-1)

Light Heavyweight: Nik Fekete (4-1) vs. Mark Griffin (3-2-1)

Middleweight: Dan Cramer (7-2) vs. Jeff Nader (4-4)

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