Well MMA fans, the dreadful night is finally upon us. In less than an hour, the main card to the most embarrassing headliner and co-main in modern MMA history will take place.
Make no mistake, I have a lot of respect for Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock. Granted, both have been relatively arrogant over the years, and have had a variety of issues (steroids, backing out of fights, etc) since their prime days. However, they are both legends of the sport, and their first fight back at UFC 1 in 1993 was what helped bring MMA out to the forefront.
That said, the top two fights are a joke. Gracie hasn’t fought in nine years, and that fight was one where he tested positive for steroids. Meanwhile, Shamrock has lost 11 of his last 15 fights, continuing in the sport for far too long, all while backing out of various fights. He’s tarnished a once respectable reputation, and this fight, albeit amongst legends, is unnecessary and a step back for MMA.
If that’s not enough, the co-main is a complete and utter joke. It features Kimbo Slice taking on a wannabe Kimbo Slice. It’s a street fight inside an MMA cage, and could be as bad as the worst Rizin fights. But hey, anything for eyeballs, right?
That said, the rest of the card is actually pretty good. The other three fights on the main card feature six notable fighters, and had they been the undercard to a respectable headliner, this would be a truly great card. The top 2 fights, albeit sideshows, will result in eyeballs, so I guess that’s a good thing for these three fights as well.
I’ll watch the first three fights, and skip the final two. That said, here are my picks for all five main card fights for tonight.
Emmanuel Sanchez (12-2) vs. Daniel Pineda (21-11)
I like Daniel Pineda. He’s from the DFW area, and I root for him. I watched him become and defend the Legacy Featherweight title several times. I saw him garner mixed results with the UFC, going 3-4 in the big show. I saw him follow up with three straight wins at Legacy, and I hope he does well with Bellator.
That said, Emmanuel Sanchez is no joke. He’s got submissions, and beat Justin Lawrence in his last fight. I think he’s very underrated, and will find a way to win. Prediction: Emmanuel Sanchez via decision.
Emmanuel Newton (25-9-1) vs. Linton Vassell (15-5, 1NC)
The next fight is a rematch that features two solid Light Heavyweights, one of whom is the former Bellator Champion. That man, Emmanuel Newton, has also fought for WEC, MFC, and King of the Cage, and is best remembered for his pair of spinning backfist knockouts inside the Bellator cage. Prior to his two-fight skid, he was on a 13-1 streak. But, if he loses this one, he may soon find himself out of the promotion.
Meanwhile, Vassell is a finisher, ending 13 of his 15 victories before the fight goes the distance. He’s lost two of his last three though, including a fight against Newton where he was winning, before succumbing to a choke in the final minute of the fight.
Honestly, this is a good fight. Can Vassell close the deal this time, or will he lose a close one again? I’m picking Newton, but anything can happen. Prediction: Newton via decision.
Melvin Guillard (32-15-2) vs. Derek Campos (15-6)
Up next is a bout between two fighters on a slide. There was a time when Melvin Guillard was guaranteed entertainment for the UFC. But in his last 11 fights, he has gonee 3-7 with a no contest. He went 2-5 with a no contest in his final eight UFC fights, 1-1 in his WSOF stint, and lost his Bellator debut.
Clearly, Bellator wants him to succeed. That’s why they’re having him face Derek Campos, who has lost three of his last four. He has five wins by knockout and submission apiece, and a longtime Bellator veteran, but he seems done.
That said, this is a must win for both men. Whoever loses is completely washed up. I like Campos, but I can’t imagine Guillard being so cooked, that he can’t even win this fight. Prediction: Guillard via tko, round 2.
Kimbo Slice (5-2) vs. Dhafir Harris (2-0*)
This fight is a disgrace. It’s a glorified streetfight between Kimbo and wannabe Kimbo. Wannabe Kimbo is 2-0*, with his opponents being a combined 1-16. The latter fight was five years ago, and may have been rigged.
Say what you want about Kimbo, but he’s at least somewhat legitimate. Not really, but sort of. If he loses, this will be his most embarrassing moment, over the Petruzelli loss, and the Houston Amexander “fight.” Prediction: Slice via ko, round 1.
Royce Gracie (14-2-3) vs. Ken Shamrock (28-16)
They’re legends, but I’m not watching this. Shamrock should win, but you never know. One things for sure, is that the fans lose with this one.
Main event: Nobody wins.