No decent UFC card until next month, no card on AXS, and WSOF just held a card last week. So, what is an MMA fan supposed to this weekend?
Don’t fear, because Bellator MMA is back! Tonight, the newest main card installation of the promotion will take place. MMA phenom Michael “Venom” Page will be opening the main card slate, followed by 22-year old submission specialist Goiti Yamaguchi. In the co-main event, the ultimate “dude-bro” of MMA, Brennan Ward, will look to win his third straight fight since moving down to Welterweight.
Then, in the main event of the evening, Brandon Halsey will take on Rafael Carvalho, for the Middleweight belt he was stripped of one fight ago for failing to make weight. He won that fight against Kendall Grove, and will look to regain that belt tonight.
All in all, it should be a fun night of MMA action. Not every fight seems to be competitive, but at least the card should be a fun one.
Main card (9/8c, Spike TV)
Michael Page (8-0) vs. Charlie Ontiveros (6-3)
Opening up the main card is one of the flashiest prospects under the MMA stratosphere, Michael Page. A freestyle Kickboxer, “Venom” possesses a 4th degree black belt in Kickboxing. He’s unbeaten, and may be a key player in the future of the sport.
Facing him is Texan Charlie Ontiveros. A fighter who has made all nine of his MMA appearances at Legacy FC, Ontiveros is a fun fighter. That said, he is 3-3 since starting his career 3-0, and all of his losses have come via tko. None of them came in the opening round, so this won’t necessarily be an easy victory for Page. However, I do see him continuing to climb up the ranks of the sport with a victory tonight. Prediction: Page via tko, round 2.
Goiti Yamaguchi (18-2) vs. Isao Kobayashi (18-2-4)
After Page opens up the main card, another high-end prospect will enter the Bellator canvas. One of the best young fighters in the sport, Featherweight Goiti Yamaguchi has 18 wins, 14 via submission, in just five years as a professional. The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt is a budding star, but has not been able to fight since September of last year, due to injury.
Meanwhile, his opponent, Isao Kobayashi, is far from an easy opponent. He’s only 26, but Kobayashi has won 18 of his 24 career bouts, including eight via knockout. His last two wins came against longtime Bellator veteran Marlon Sandro, and then against former UFC fighter Will Chope.
An upset is possible, but I see Goiti winning this one. Still, anything is possible, and this very well could be the fight of the night. Prediction: Yamaguchi via submission, round 3.
Brennan Ward (11-3) vs. Dennis Olson (14-9)
In the co-main event of the evening, former Middleweight title challenger Brennan Ward will look to win his third straight bout since moving down to Welterweight. He may not be the easiest fighter to root for, but he’s definitely an entertainer. Ten of his 11 career wins have ended early, as well as all three of his losses. His only decision came back in April of 2012, and he’s been full steam ahead since.
Olson is tough, but he’s clearly in the twilight of his career. He’s lost six of his last nine bouts, and I’ll have to go with Ward in a quick one. Prediction: Ward via tko, round 1.
Bellator Middleweight Championship: Brandon Halsey (9-0) vs. Rafael Carvalho (11-1)
In the main event of the evening, former Middleweight Champion Brandon Halsey will look to reclaim the belt he never lost. Instead, he was stripped due to missing weight, and is now hoping to get it back against knockout artist Rafael Carvalho.
The fight will be a clear clash of finishing styles, as Carvalho has finished nine of his 11 victims via knockout, and has not lost since his debut back in December of 2011. Meanwhile, Halsey is more of a submission fighter, having defeated title challenger Brett Cooper and longtime champion Alexander Schlemenko in that fashion, with the latter succumbing in just 35 seconds!
Carvalho will be a tough matchup, and truly anything can happen tonight. However, seeing how Halsey is looking to reclaim a belt he never lost, he might have some extra fire rushing through his veins. That may cause him to be more reckless, but I still see him finishing this bout, in what should be a truly entertaining one. Prediction: Halsey via submission, round 3.
Enjoy the fights everybody!