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Bellator 51 Preview

September 23, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

This is what I’ve been waiting for – the season five bantamweight tournament!

Bellator 51 airs live on MTV2 tomorrow at 9:00 PM EST/8:00 PM CST with a replay shown immediately after the first airing.  How convenient, Bellator will air two broadcasts that nobody will see because of UFC 135.  More accurately, Bellator airs live tomorrow night and shall be viewed Sunday morning with minimal spoilers having been read.

Bantamweight Tournament Quarterfinals: Joe Warren (7-1, No. 8 FEW) vs. Alexis Vila (9-0, No. 8 FLW)

Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit…this fight is going to be incredible.  I’ve been looking forward to this fight when it was announced.  Here we have two top ten fighters at their respective weight classes with top notch wrestling.  Vila is more advanced with his striking, but he’s also 40 years old, though that’s not much older than Joe Warren at 34.

The most interesting thing about this fight is the weight.  Warren is cutting down from his normal weight of featherweight and the diminutive Vila is moving up from flyweight to compete in this tournament.  I wonder how much both fighters will weigh closer to fight time.  I’m not sure how much Vila would typically cut to make 125 and I have to imagine Warren will be close to 150 at fight time, if not heavier.

Frankly, I didn’t think that Joe Warren looked great against Marcos Galvao, while Vila’s wins at flyweight are fairly impressive.  He has the wrestling credentials to match any other fighter and his striking has been extremely good thus far.  I like Vila to score the TKO win in this fight and I don’t know if it will be that close.  A first round KO from Vila wouldn’t stun me, though I’m sure we’d have a number of surprised MMA fans should that happen.

Bantamweight Tournament Quarterfinals: Eduardo Dantas (10-2) vs. Wilson Reis (12-3, No. 25 FEW)

Here we have another featherweight in Wilson Reis dropping down to fight former Shooto bantamweight contender Eduardo Dantas.  Reis has long been impressive fighting for EliteXC and Bellator, defeating fighters like Abel Cullum and Deividas Taurosevicius.  Dantas lost in his biggest fight for the Shooto Bantamweight Title against Masakatsu Ueda, but has shown some nice submissions and trains out of the impressive Nova Uniao camp.

Still, I think Reis is still sore after losing to Patricio Freire in the season four featherweight tournament finals and he’ll be coming out with a vengeance in this one.  Again, I’m not sure if a weight cut will negatively impact Reis, but I think he’ll be in good enough shape to take a unanimous decision victory.

Bantamweight Tournament Quarterfinals: Luiz Alberto Nogueira (11-1) vs. Ed West (16-5)

Ed West has trained with Don Frye.  Ed West will win this fight.

Bantamweight Tournament Quarterfinals: Chase Beebe (18-7) vs. Marcos Galvao (9-4-1)

I’d love to pick Chase Beebe blindly on account of his Chicago ties, but Marcos Galvao is absolutely not a pushover.  I feel like the WEC veteran Galvao beat Joe Warren in their April fight and definitely deserves a spot in this tournament.  Beebe recovered nicely from a five fight losing streak, going 7-1 dating back to 2010.

Galvao is another Nova Uniao fighter with very good Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and I think he’ll avoid Beebe’s submissions in this one.  We’ll see this one go to a tight decision and I think Galvao will score the win here.

Bantamweight: Jessie Riggleman (10-2, No. 19 FLW) vs. Farkhad Sharipov (13-3)

Women’s Lightweight: Jessica Eye (3-1) vs. Casey Noland (3-1)

Featherweight: Frank Caraballo (6-4) vs. Dustin Kempf (6-4)

Light Heavyweight: Allan Weickert (6-8) vs. John Hawk (5-3)

Light Heavyweight: Dan Spohn (5-0) vs. Dane Bonningson (1-1)

Lightweight: Clint Musser (2-0) vs. Joey Holt (1-0)

Categories: Event Preview
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