Once again, it is Friday night. If you are an MMA fan, this means two things: 1) Inside MMA is coming on! oh, and 2) Bellator will put on a show once again. Hopefully, this one isn’t as bad as the one from last week, where both Vitaly Minakov and Cheick Kongo were visibly gassed early, in a fight that seemed to never end.
Not to worry though, because the heavyweight semifinals will be the main fights tonight! Of course, this means we could be in for another fight like Minakov/Kongo, but here’s hoping that the fight doesn’t rear its ugly head tonight, and we get blasting knockout finishes instead!
Also on the main card is a fight between recent UFC fighters Joey Beltran and Vladimir Matyushenko, the latter of whom is fighting for the final time, and a welterweight tournament semifinal. In other words, this card should be a great one.
There are some very interesting preliminary fights taking place as well, with last season’s welterweight tournament semifinalist Ron Keslar (11-4) fights former UFC fighter Karo Parisyan (22-10), Joe Taimanglo (19-5-1) takes on scumbag (dude was a sadistic bully who blames Ian McCall for Shade del Rosario’s passing) Rob Emerson (16-10, 1 NC), and Joe Pacheco (7-1) battles undefeated Brandon Haisley (5-0).
For those fights, I’m picking Keslar, Taimanglo and Pacheco. I may be wrong, but if I am, oh well.
As for the main card, I will give more detailed predictions, as is often the case. For the first time this season, I went 3-1 once again in my predictions, upping my record to 17-7! Hopefully, this trend continues, but more than nything, I want this card to be a truly awesome one.
Main card begins at 9/8c on Spike TV
Heavyweight tournament semifinal: Alexander Volkov (20-4) vs. Mighty Mo (6-2)
Nothing against Mighty Mo, but he’s got nothing to offer the former Bellator heavyweight champion. He’s won three straight, but Volkov is miles ahead of that competition. Volkov had won nine straight until losing his first title defense against current champion Vitaly Minakov back in November. He has 15 knockout victories, and this one should be quick and vicious. Prediction: Volkov via brutal tko, early round 1.
Welterweight tournament semifinal: Nathan Coy (14-4) vs Adam Mcdonough (10-0)
Next up is a welterweight tournament semifinal, as undefeated prospect Adam McDonough faces former Strikeforce veteran Nathan Coy. I must admit, I had never heard of McDonough until a few days ago. After checking out some of his fight footage, I must admit I was impressed.
That said, I think Coy is slightly better. He has faced better competition, such as UFC welterweight title contender Tyron Woodley, former UFC fighter Brian Foster, and current UFC fighters Rick Story, as well as Mike Pierce.
He holds victories over the latter two, and I believe his experience will lead him to a close victory. I could be wrong, but regardless of who wins, I believe Andrey Koreshkov will beat either man. Prediction: Coy via unanimous decision.
Joey Beltran (14-10, 1NC) vs Vladimir Matyushenko (27-7)
The co-main event of the event features two former UFC fighters, as “The Mexicutioner” Beltran faces off against “The Janitor”. Both guys are standup fighters, so this shouldn’t be a boring fight, unless both guys gas out.
Matyushenko is 43 years old, and this will be his final fight. He’s been fighting since 1997, and has seen better days. Beltran has been on quite a decline over the years, going 2-7 with a no contest in his last ten fights. That said, while I like Matyushenko, I think his career will end on a sour note. Prediction: Beltran via tko, round 3.
Heavyweight tournament semifinal: Blagoy Ivanov (10-0, 1NC) vs. Lavar Johnson (18-8)
Headlining the Bellator 116 card is a heavyweight tilt between the Russian Ivanov and a former UFC veteran in Lavar Johnson. I like Ivanov, and I have to admit that I want to see Johnson revive his career, with his 17th career knockout. Allow me to explain why I won’t do that.
The reason why I can’t pick against Ivanov is that he has defeated death, literally. Back in February 2012, while at a club with his friends, he got stabbed under the armpit. The wound punctured his heart and a lung, resulting in several hours of medical intervention, followed by surgery. The man was at death’s doorstep, but somehow survived. The worst, however, was yet to come.
Despite regaining consciousness a little over a week later, infection caused his vital organs to start failing, resulting in a medically-induced coma. He was in that state for nearly three months, before waking up in a shape nowhere near what he once was. While it looked like he would likely never return to MMA, he did just that when he choked out Manny Lara at Bellator 99 last September.
Since then, he has won two more fights, and is two victories away from a title shot. He has defeated Fedor in sambo combination, and has cheated death. How on Earth do you expect me to pick against him then? Maybe he might lose against Volkov in a tournament final, or against Minakov in a fight for the belt, but not tonight. No chance. Prediction: Ivanov via tko, round 2.