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Bellator 52 Preview

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

So I’m leaving for Phoenix tomorrow morning and wanted to get my Bellator preview completed now.  Yes, it’s many days early, but I can promise that this won’t get done if I put it off until after my trip.

Oh goodness, I think there’s going to be a fat, sloppy mess of a card Saturday night.  I mean that in the best possible way, really.  I do enjoy Bellator, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I have to be a fan of a couple of average heavyweights and a bunch of not so good ones squaring off to be beaten down by Cole Konrad.  While Konrad’s good, he’s not exactly a world beater, meaning the presumptive reward for the tournament winner is a bunch of cash just to lose to a slightly above average heavyweight.

Inauspicious fate aside, we still have a tournament to conduct.  Right away, Neil Grove and Blagoi Ivanov are the names that jump out at me.  Grove has some Bellator experience, while Ivanov is a promising fighter who is one of the few men to have defeated Fedor Emelianenko in sambo competition.  Abe Wagner is another name to look at, but frankly, the talent pool here is fairly shallow to begin with.

Nonetheless, Bellator 52 will still air live on MTV2 this coming Saturday at 8:00 PM CST with a replay shown at midnight.  Oh great, so here are my options: watch UFC Live on Versus and catch a super late Bellator replay, or flip back and forth and potentially miss something great.  I may have to renounce being a very old 26 year old for just one night to catch all of this MMA.  Then again, we’re just talking about fat boys.

Speaking of fat boys, maybe I should just call this tournament Bellator’s 2011 Fat Boy Festival?  Is that too demeaning?  Does it make a difference that each of these eight men could probably kick my ass?  Of course they could kick my ass, they all outweigh me by 70 pounds.  Also, they are trained fighters and I’m a very delicate professional male.

Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinals: Neil Grove (11-3-1) vs. Mike Hayes (15-4-1)

Neil Grove is going to knock Mike Hayes out.  I have every confidence in this.  When Grove wins, he wins by knockout.  I don’t expect him to lose this fight.  Ergo, Neil Grove will beat Mike Hayes by knockout.

Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinals: Blagoi Ivanov (4-0, 1 NC) vs. Thiago Santos (8-1)

I’ve noted that I’m interested to see how Ivanov fares against tougher competition.  He’s a world class sambo practitioner with good hands, but he hasn’t really been challenged thus far.  Thiago Santos holds a notable win over ranked fighter Shamil Abdurahimov, but it’s been more than a year since he last fought.

I could see Ivanov winning by submission in this one, but I worry that he’s still quite green with only five fights to his name.  Awesomely, one of those fights was declared a no contest when the ring broke.  Well I guess I don’t have a choice then, I’m picking Ivanov.

Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinals: Eric Prindle (7-1) vs. Abe Wagner (10-4)

Abe Wagner holds a recent win over Tim Sylvia, negated by the fact that it’s the year 2011.  Eric Prindle holds notable wins over…well, he has seven wins.  Actually, he does hold a victory over Chris Barnett, a fighter with some wins at heavyweight despite standing 5’9”.  Still, Wagner is 3-2 in his career against fighters with UFC experience, a feat that seems less impressive when the two wins are against Sherman Pendergarst and Matt Andersen.

Comparing resumes, it’s hard to see where Prindle holds any kind of advantage.  He has good hands, but so does Wagner, who has also shown off a bit of submission skills in his five year career.  Wagner’s current 7-2 stretch only features losses to current UFC fighters Aaron Rosa and Travis Browne, certainly not the most shameful losses.  I like Wagner to take a TKO victory in this bout just based on his experience, which should be enough to carry him through this fight.

Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinals: Mark Holata (11-2) vs. Ron Sparks (7-0)

I like Mark Holata to win this fight, as he seems to be a more well-balanced fighter than knockout heavy Ron Sparks.  Holata might be at a bit of a height disadvantage, but I think he can pull off a decision win.  Holata could be an interesting name in this tournament, given his current eight fight winning streak.  That includes wins over Strikeforce and Bellator fighter Shawn Jordan and former UFC competitor Carmelo Marrero.  Holata might impress in this tournament, but then again, Ron Sparks might punch him really hard and win it in ten seconds.  Who knows?

Featherweight: Genair da Silva (10-4) vs. Bryan Goldsby (13-14)

Heavyweight: Josh Burns (6-4) vs. Zak Jensen (10-7)

Heavyweight: Liron Wilson (9-4) vs. Justin Frazier (4-0)

Light Heavyweight: Matt Van Buren (3-0) vs. Nick Nichols (0-0)

Lightweight: Cosmo Alexandre (0-0) vs. Josh Quayhagen (0-0)

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