Bellator 142 takes place this coming Saturday night in San Jose and we’ve got our predictions for the MMA bouts on the main card below.
Liam McGeary vs. Tito Ortiz
Ortiz hopes to turn back the clock tomorrow night and become a champion again for the first time in 13 years, but does he have enough left in the tank to defeat a younger, fresher, unbeaten fighter like McGeary?
I can’t say I have a great deal of confidence, but it’s certainly not beyond the realms of possibility as wrestling is Ortiz’s strong suit and McGeary’s weakest. On the mat Ortiz still has very good ground and pound and offers a submission threat to the current champion as well, though McGeary can be crafty off his back.
On the feet it’s a different story though. While he’s durable, Ortiz has never had a great deal to offer striking wise and has become more labored with his movement and offense as the years have gone on. That’s going to be a problem against the rangey McGeary who’s not only got the striking advantage, but will also be enjoying distinct physical advantages with 4″ in height and 7″ in reach over his opponent which will allow him to work from a safe distance.
The early rounds will be crucial for McGeary. If he can stuff a takedown or two and keep the fight mainly on the feet then he’ll be in good shape as I’d expect Ortiz to fade later in the fight (it’s been 12 years since he went five rounds), making his shots easier to defend and perhaps leading to more clinch work where the Brit excels. Overall I favor McGeary to take a decision victory here.
Liam McGeary to win by decision.
Mike Bronzoulis vs. Josh Thomson
Thomson makes his Bellator debut, and despite coming off and he’s still got a lot to offer despite his recent 1-4 record in the UFC not painting him in the best light.
You’ve got to factor in the level of competition Thomson was facing in the Octagon – a string of top 10 opponents including Ben Henderson, Gilbert Melendez and Tony Ferguson, each of who he took to a decision – to get the full picture.
Bronzoulis was recently crowned a Legacy FC champion, but frankly he’s just not on the same level as Thomson and has generally almost came up second best when paired up with a higher level of competition. Thomson can get the job done on the feet, but I favor him finding a finish via a second round submission.
Josh Thomson to win by decision.
Muhammed Lawal vs. Linton Vassell
Bellator’s one-night four man tournament begins with two semi-finals and this one between Lawal and Vassell should be fairly straightforward, at least on paper.
I say ‘on paper’ because ‘King Mo’ has unexpectedly slipped up a few times in the past and hasn’t lived up to his full potential, but nevertheless he’s the superior wrestler here which will limit what Vassell’s able to offer and while he’s not as good a striker as he once thought he was, he does pack a punch. I like Lawal to progress to the final via a late TKO stoppage.
Muhammed Lawal to win by TKO in Rd3.
Phil Davis vs. Emanuel Newton
The other tournament match-up sees the debut of former UFC top 5 205lb’er Davis going up against former Bellator champ Newton.
Davis’ elite wrestling is a big factor here and if he uses it to his advantage it’ll help disguise the fact that despite his impressive physical frame he’s just not a potent striker.
Newton is more of an offensive threat on the feet with an unpredictable arsenal of strikes, but while he’s a solid wrestler he’s not going to have anything to offer there against Davis. I think we’re looking at a close fight here, but Davis will have spells of control on the mat that’ll help him earn a decision win.
Phil Davis to win by Decision.
Tournament Winner Prediction:
As you can see above I’m anticipating that the favorites ‘King Mo’ and Davis will be battling it out in the tournament final and it could prove to be a very close match-up. Both men are wrestling stand-outs so that could end up in a stalemate, though I’d give Davis the edge. ‘King Mo’ certainly holds the power advantage on the feet however, but Davis’ kicks from the outside will score points.
A big factor will be cardio, especially given the fact they’ll be fighting twice in just the space of a few hours. Davis is the younger of the two and I think he’ll have more energy reserves, but then again I see his first round match-up being a tougher fight than Lawal’s.
It’s not easy to call who would win this fight, but I do feel that ‘King Mo’ is the more dangerous fighter overall and has an easier route to the final, so after going back and forth a bit I’m leaning ever so slightly towards him to emerge as the tournament champion.
Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal to win.