BELLATOR 163 PREVIEW: Fight by fight preview and predictions including McGeary vs. Davis, Awad vs. Ward

By Michael Grocke, MMATorch contribution

Bellator 163 is live from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The main event features Light Heavyweight Champion Liam McGeary as he takes on former UFC contender Phil Davis. McGeary won the 2014 Light Heavyweight Summer Series and then went on to beat Emanual Newton for the title at Bellator 134. After winning the title, McGeary successfully defended his belt by submitting Tito Ortiz at Bellator 142.

This will be McGeary’s toughest fight since becoming champion. Under the Bellator banner Phil Davis has been on a tear. He won the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix and then went on to defeat Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal at Bellator 154.

The co-main event takes place in the Welterweight Division as Brennan Ward squares off against Saad Awad. Ward will be looking to get back on the winning track after suffering his first loss in his previous four fights to Evangelista Santos at Bellator 153. Awad is also hoping to get back in the win column after losing a decision to Derek Anderson at Bellator 160.

The main card rounds out with Paul Daley taking on Derek Anderson in a battle of welterweights. Bellator newcomer Sergei Kharitononov vs. Javy Ayala and on the women’s side Talita Nogueira takes on Marloes Coenen in a battle of featherweights.

Join me right here for live round-by-round coverage and analysis of Bellator 163. Also, follow me on Twitter @FightChampBlog.

Main Card

Phil Davis (16-3) vs. Liam McGeary (11-0) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.

Current Odds: Davis -320, McGeary +250

I think this fight comes down to one thing: can Liam McGeary defend the takedown? If Phil Davis is successful in getting McGeary to the ground it’s going to be a long night for him. I see Davis having success so it’s vital for McGeary to be able to counter off his back and force Davis to keep him down.

McGeary holds the advantage in the striking department, so I expect him to want to keep the fight standing. He has knockout power and if he catches Davis coming in the fight will be over. I’m a big fan of Liam McGeary, but I don’t think he matches up well against Davis.

Pick: Davis by decision

Saad Awad (19-8) vs. Brennan Ward (14-4) – Welterweight (170 lbs.)

Current Odds: Awad -115, Ward -115

This is the fight I’m most looking forward to. Both of these fighters will go for the finish if they have the chance. Ward has won by either submission or knockout in twelve of his fourteen wins. On the other side, fifteen of Awad’s nineteen victories have come by submission or knockout. Ward was on a roll before his loss to Santos, I expect him to get back in the win column in the fight of the night.

 Pick: Ward by TKO

Javy Ayala (9-5) vs. Sergei Kharitonov (23-5) – Heavyweight (265 lbs.)

Current Line: Kharitonov -400, Ayala +300

Sergei Kharitonov makes his Bellator debut in a fight I don’t see him having any trouble winning. Kharitonov will win this fight easily and continue up the heavyweight division’s ladder ultimately fighting for the title in relatively short fashion.

Pick: Kharitonov by TKO

Prelims Quick Look

Neiman Gracie over Rudy Bears

Tyrell Fortune over Cody Miskell

Ed Ruth over Mark Manggiardi

James Boran over Vinicius de Jesus

Keenan Raymond over Kastriot Xhema

Carlos Correia over Ilya Kotau

Sarah Payant over Hannah Regina

Tim Caron over Mike Zichelle

Blair Tugman over Walter Smith-Cotito

Josh Diekmann over Tyler King

Enjoy the fights!



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