MMA fans, the day has finally come! For the first time in professional MMA history, a major MMA promotion will join forces with a major Kickboxing promotion, in order to put forth an event together! The result is Dynamite 1, in which both MMA and Kickboxing events will take place!
Both a cage and a kickboxing arena will be located within the building, and in the prelims, bouts for each style of fighting took place simultaneously!
However, I will only be providing picks for the main card. Featured on the massive card will be a four-man Light Heavyweight tournament, with former Bellator Champion Emmanuel Newton, former Strikeforce Champion Muhammad Lawal, former UFC contender Phil Davis, as well as Linton Vasell partaking in it. The two winners will partake in the Tournament Final, in tonight’s co-main event. They will be battling for the chance to fight the winner of the main event of the evening, where the promotion’s Light Heavyweight Champion, Liam McGeary, will take on former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz.
On the Glory Kickboxing forefront, Gilbert Melendez’s wife will take on Hadley Griffith, before British MMA star Paul Daley fights former WEC and current Bellator fighter Fernando Gonzalez in a Kickboxing match. Then, in the final Kickboxing bout of the evening, Saulo Cavalari will battle Zack Mwekassa for the promotion’s vacant Light Heavyweight title.
The night will also mark the Bellator debut of former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion and UFC contender Josh Thomson. All in all, it should be a wind, crazy, unforgettable evening!
Main card (9/8c, Spike TV)
Light Heavyweight Tournament semifinal:
Muhammad Lawal (15-4, 1NC) vs. Linton Vassell (15-4, 1NC)
While the night should be an awesome one, the main card’s opening bout likely won’t be. Linton Vassell is often an entertaining fighter however, he’s nowhere near the wrestler that Lawal is expect a boring, one-sided, grinding decision. Prediction: Lawal via decision.
Light Heavyweight Tournament semifinal:
Phil Davis (13-3, 1NC) vs. Emmanuel Newton (25-8-1)
The other tournament bout will be fascinating. Neither man is anything special on the feet, and Davis is the better wrestler. I’d love to see Newton pull out one of his patented spinning backfists, but I can’t bank on it. Prediction: Davis via decision.
Keri Anne Taylor-Melendez vs. Hadley Griffith
Up next is the first of three Kickboxing bouts on the main card, and the lone female one. Honestly, this one is a squash match. It feels as if Bellator is rewarding Melendez for being related to Gilbert, who they had signed beforehand, and was the longtime Strikeforce lightweight champion for Coker. I expect Melendez to win handily. Prediction: Melendez via dominant decision.
Paul Daley (37-13-2 MMA, 20-3, 14 KO Kickboxing) vs. Fernando Gonzalez (24-13 MMA)
Up next, a pair of MMA fighters will partake in a Kickboxing bout. Daley has had quite a bit of experience in both MMA and Kickboxing, while Gonzalez has never participated in Kickboxing. He does have experience in MMA though, and has won four straight in the sport. That said,Daley is better in both sports than Gonzalez is, and I see him finishing this one. Prediction: Daley via tko, round 3.
Josh Thomson (20-8, 1NC) vs. Mike Bronzoulis (18-8-1)
Up next, Josh Thomson makes his Bellator debut. A former champion with Strikeforce, and three-time challenger, Thomson had a mixed UFC career. He won his UFC debut via head kick knockout over Nate Diaz in 2013, but lost three straight decisions, two of which were split decisions (just like his Strikeforce title losses,) therefore ending his UFC career.
He should easily win this fight, against a game but not as good Bronzoulis.
Prediction: Thomson via dominant decision.
Glory Light Heavyweight Championship: Saulo Cavalari (29-3, 18 KO) vs. Zack Mwekassa (Kickboxing: 13-2, 12 KO. Boxing: 15-4, 14 KO)
Up next is the final Kickboxing bout of the evening, in which Glory will get its new Light Heavyweight champion. Both men are finishers, and are known for putting on a show. That said, Cavalari has already finished Mwekassa, via head kick, which was the only time Mwekassa has ever been finished in the sport. I expect the same thing to happen tonight, although I expect it to be a longer fight this go around.
Prediction: Cavalari via tko, round 3.
Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament Final
Update: Muhammad Lawal had to back out of the final, due to sustaining a rib injury. As a result, Phil Davis will now take on Francis Carmont, in a fight that nobody wanted to see back when the two were still in the UFC. I see Davis submitting Carmont, late in what could be a boring bout.
Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship: Tito Ortiz (18-11-1) vs. (c) Liam McGeary (10-0)
In the main event of the evening, a legend will meet a rising star. That legend is Tito Ortiz. One of the UFC’s first villains, one who a lot of people still have trouble rooting for, had one of the fiercest rivalries in the history of the sport against Chuck Liddell. His UFC tenure ended with him retiring, after going 1-7-1 in his final nine fights with the promotion. However, in May of last year, almost two years after retiring from the sport, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” came back to the sport, defeating then Bellator Middleweight Champion via choke. He then won a controversial decision against Stephan Bonnar, in a fight nobody wanted to see. Now, he’s fighting perhaps the greatest Light Heavyweight fighter in Bellator history.
Ortiz may be a legend, but McGeary is the promotion’s present and potential future. He may lose down the road, but it won’t be tonight. He’s better than Ortiz on the feet, and even on the ground. He may not be as good a wrestler, which is why he might lose the opening round. However, before long, I see McGeary picking Ortiz apart, defending his championship within the fight’s first two rounds.
Prediction: McGeary via tko, round 2.