After a terrific event last week to open up its 11th season, one that featured four main card finishes and an upset in the main event, Bellator puts forth another solid event this time around.
No, it’s not as loaded as last week’s card, and no WWE-esque moments are expected tonight, but the card should still be an explosive one.
Bellator’s Light Heavyweight Champion Emmmanuel Newton takes on former UFC veteran Joey Beltran, who wants to prove he deserves this fight. Also on the main card is a fight featuring rising star Liam McGeary against Kelly Anundson, and fights involving WEV veteran LC Davis, and former Strikeforce and UFC fighter Ryan Couture.
I went a perfect 5-0 in last Friday’s card (I picked McCrory), and I have a hunch I’ll go undefeated into next week’s card.
Main Card (9/8c, SPIKE TV)
Ryan Couture (8-3) vs. Tommy Bagnasco (3-2)
There is only one reason why Tommy Bognasco is with Bellator: the give Ryan Couture an easy win. He’s not bad, but he lost his last fight, and has a truly mediocre record. He does have three submission wins, but Couture has never been submitted.
Couture began his career with Strikeforce, going 3-1 in Strikeforce’s Challengers series, and then 3-0 in actual Strikeforce cards. He lost both of his UFC fights, first to Ross Pearson in April 2013 via punches, and then against Al Iaquinta via unanimous decision at UFC 164. He was then released, possibly due to his father’s strained relationship with the UFC.
Since his release, Couture won a pair of fights with Battlegrounds MMA, both via rear-naked choke, before Bellator signed him. Expect him to be like Cheick Kongo, as a former UFC fighter who got unfairly released by the UFC, before establishing a solid career with Bellator. Prediction: Couture via submission, round 2.
LC Davis (21-6) vs. Zeilton Rodrigues (12-4)
Up next is another fight featuring a Bellator debutant. Davis was a former WEC fighter, who won his first three fights with the promotion, before losing to Josh Grispi and Rafael Assuncao, and was subsequently released. After sitting out for 15 months, Davis lost to Christian Uflacker in February 2012, and has gone 5-1 since. He won his Bellator debut against Tory Bogguess at Bellator 113 via submission, the seventh of his career. He also owns eight ko wins.
Davis’ opponent, Zeilton Rodrigues, is perhaps the best Nova Uniao fighter not in the UFC. Rodrigues has won six straight fights, and owns a win over current WSOF Bantamweight Champion. Eleven of his wins have come via stoppage, and his future seems bright.
Honestly, this fight could be considered a toss-up. I like both guys, and both are finishers. At the end of the day, I’ll have to go with the most experience one. Prediction: Davis via split decision.
Bellator 2014 Summer Series Light Heavyweight Tournament Final:
Liam McGeary (8-0) vs. Kelly Anundson (9-2)
In a tournament final in which the winner will take on the victor of the main event, hot British prospect Liam McGeary takes on Kelly Anundson. McGeary is an absolute star, having never gone the distance. He almost did in his professional debut back in May 2010, but he prevailed with 15 seconds left.
Since joining Bellator in in April 2013, McGeary has gone 6-0, and has only had one fight exceed two minutes in length!
His opponent, Kelly Anundson, has not lost since May 2011, the second fight he had in seven days at the time, losing both via submission. He has won six straight fights since, including a 3-0 record in the UFC. Unfortunately, as good as he is, I can’t see him winning here. He’s good, but not McGeary good. Prediction: McGeary via tko, round 1.
Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship: (C) Emmanuel Newton (23-7-1) vs. Joey Beltran (15-10, 1NC)
In the main event of the evening, Bellator’s Light Heavyweight Champion Emmanuel Newton takes on former UFC fighter Joey Beltran.
Newton is quite a good figher, starting off his career 3-3-1, before winning nine straight between January 2006 and December 2008. He then lost three straight after winning the MFC Light Heavyweight Championship, and after his losing streak, he went 11-1. In his career, he has beaten Muhammad Lawal twice, and owns victories over Mikhail Zayats, former Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Atilla Vegh, James McSweeney, Rodney Wallace, David Heath Roger Hollett and Ilir Latifi, some of whom have fought for the UFC.
Newton’s challenger, Joey Beltran, does not deserve this fight. He won his first two UFC fights back in 2010, and went 2-6 with a no contest, due to a failed drug test, before getting cut by the promotion. He lost his first Bellator fight to Quentin “Rampage” Jackson at the end of round 1 at Bellator 108, before getting a come-from-behind submission over Vladimir Matyushenko in April.
Newton should win this fight easily, and I believe he will. Beltran is nothing special, and Newton should get his 13th submission win tonight. Prediction: Newton via dominant decision.