BELLATOR 170 PREVIEW: Grocke’s Preview & Predictions for the Sonnen vs. Ortiz headlined event airing live on Spike TV Saturday night

By Michael Grocke, MMATorch contribution

Bellator 170 will be live from The Forum in Inglewood, California on Saturday night. The main event features two legendary MMA veterans as Chael Sonnen takes on the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz. The co-main takes place in the welterweight division as Brennan Ward takes on Paul Daley in what should be a highly entertaining fight.

The five fight main card rounds out with middleweights Ralek Gracie taking on Hisaki Kato, then in the featherweight division Georgi Karakhanyan goes up against Emmanuel Sanchez and finally Derek Anderson faces off against Derek Campos in a battle of lightweights.

The prelims will stream on starting at 6 p.m. CT, with Spike TV taking over at 8 p.m. CT for the main card.

Main Card

Chael Sonnen (28-14-1) vs. Tito Ortiz (18-12-1) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.

Current Odds: Sonnen -170; Ortiz +140

Saturday night’s fight will be the final one in the long and storied career of Tito Ortiz…or will it? I hope so. Ortiz has fought three times under the Bellator banner going 2-1 in those fights. His most recent fight came against Liam McGeary at Bellator 142 where he was submitted in the first round. Tito Ortiz is 3-7 over his last ten fights so to say he is well past his prime would be an accurate statement. Yet, here he is at 41 years old proclaiming he is retiring after Saturday’s fight…again. Tito Ortiz was once a very good fighter with great wrestling and average striking skills. He will have the hometown crowd in his corner, but will it be enough to pull out the win?

Chael Sonnen shocked the MMA world when he left the UFC and signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator MMA in September. Sonnen hasn’t fought since he was knocked out by Rashad Evans back in November, 2013 at Bellator 167.

Both fighters come into the fight after long layoffs so I fear a slow start to this one. Ortiz will have the advantage should the fight stay standing. Sonnen works well in the clinch and tries to wear his opponents down by controlling them on the ground. Will he be able to implement that game plan against Ortiz?

I don’t have a strong feeling for which way this fight is going to go. At +140 there is value in backing Ortiz considering he has the home town crowd backing him, he’s been in the cage more recently and he has the size advantage. On the other hand, Sonnen just signed his new deal and says he’s motivated to make one last run. Sonnen may see this fight as a tune up for the fight he really wants…Wanderlei Silva.

Pick: Sonnen by decision

Paul Daley (38-14-2) vs. Brennan Ward (14-4) – Welterweight 170 lbs.

This will be an exciting fight. Both guys will stand in the pocket and exchange strikes making this a hard fight to predict. Paul Daley was on a five fight win streak until he dropped a decision to Douglas Lima at Bellator 158. Daley’s strength has always been his striking so I expect him to try to keep the fight standing and hunt for the knockout.

Brennan Ward was on a roll winning four straight fights until he got tapped by Evangelista Santos at Bellator 153. Ward responded by finishing Saad Awad at Bellator 163. While Ward has excellent striking, his biggest advantage in this fight is his grappling.

If Daley can get Ward to slug it out with him I think there’s a good chance he catches him with a big shot and scores the knockout. I think Brennan Ward will take advantage of Daley’s lack of ground game and finish him by submission. For my money the better value is under the rounds total.

Pick: Ward by submission

Hisaki Kato (7-2) vs. Ralek Gracie (3-0) – Middleweight 185 lbs.

Hisaki Kato has seven career wins, all by knockout. His latest was against AJ Matthews at Bellator 162. Kato’s two losses were also by knockout so the chances of this one going the distance would seem slim. Hisaki Kato has the superior stand-up so he has to be able to defend getting taken down and keep the fight on the feet.

Ralek Gracie is 3-0 and is making his Bellator debut Saturday night. This is an extremely tough debut fight for the son of Rorian and nephew of Royce, Royler and Rickson Gracie. In order for Gracie to win this fight he has to have success getting Kato to the ground so he can work his superior submission game.

This fight comes down to who can dictate where the fight goes. If it stays on the feet, I favor Kato by knockout. However, if Gracie has success getting the fight to the ground I can see him subbing Kato. This is another fight I would favor backing under the rounds total.

Pick: Kato by TKO

Georgi Karakhanyan (26-6-1) vs. Emmanuel Sanchez (13-3) – Featherweight 145 lbs.

I’m really looking forward to this one. Georgi Karakhanyan is 3-2 under the Bellator banner and working on a two-fight win streak. He knocked out Bubba Jenkins in 53 seconds at Bellator 160 and came back at Bellator 164 where he KO’d Kirill Medvedovsky also in the first round. This is a big fight for Karakhanyan. A win here should put him in a number one contenders fight.

Emmanuel Sanchez was riding a three-fight winning streak until he dropped a decision to Daniel Weichel at Bellator 159. Sanchez was supposed to fight up and comer AJ McKee at Bellator 166 but had to pull out of the fight due to an injury. Sanchez has faced the best fighters in the division so he’s definitely battle tested. Hopefully he’s fully healed from the muscle strains that kept him out of his fight against McKee because if he is I expect a good, close fight.

Pick: Karakhanyan by decision

Derek Campos (17-6) vs. Derek Anderson (14-2) – Lightweight 155 lbs.

After losing two fights in a row, Bellator MMA veteran Derek Campos has rattled off two straight wins. He knocked out Melvin Guillard at Bellator 149 and beat Djamil Chan by decision at Bellator 161.

Derek Anderson comes into Saturday night’s fight on his own two-fight win streak. Both wins were by decision, the first one coming against Patricky Freire at Bellator 147 and most recently against Saad Awad at Bellator 160.

The winner of this fight continues up the ladder in pursuit of a title fight against Michael Chandler. If Derek Anderson loses here then there’s a chance that the next time we see him in the cage will be at welterweight. I expect him to hold off on that though.

Pick: Anderson by decision

Prelims Quick Look

Machida over Ocampo

May over Cryer

Bollinger over Corrales

Casey over Berry

Vasconcelos over Mercurio

Green over Turner

Gonzales over Rodriguez

Rosales over Butler

Cisneros over Millender

Aaron over Segura

Gooch over Barnes

Schneider over Ruth

Enjoy the fights!

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.