BELLATOR 175 PREVIEW: Grocke’s makes his picks and looks at odds for Rampage vs. King Mo 2 and undercard

By Michael Grocke, MMATorch contributor

Bellator 175 comes to the All-State Arena in Rosemont, Illinois on Friday night. The main event is a rematch between Rampage Jackson and King Mo. The two first fought at Bellator 120 where Jackson took a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). The co-main event is a battle of featherweight contenders when Emmanuel Sanchez takes on Marcos Galvao.

The five fight main card rounds out with Chase Gormley taking on Sergi Kharitonov in a battle of heavyweights, in the lightweight division Jake Roberts looks to end Steve Kozola’s undefeated run, and finally Lloyd Carter goes up against Noad Lahat.

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


Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal (20-6) vs. Quentin “Rampage” Jackson (37-11) – Heavyweight – 265 lbs.

Current Odds: Lawal -325; Jackson +255

MMA veteran Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is undefeated since making the move from UFC to Bellator. His most recent win occurred at Bellator 157 where he won a split decision over Satoshi Ishii. He will be looking for his sixth straight win when he steps into the cage to face Lawal on Friday night. Rampage won the first fight back at Bellator 120 by decision in a fight many thought he should have lost. While it wasn’t the worst decision in MMA history, it was certainly debatable, with many thinking Lawal won rounds one and three.

After going on a seven fight undefeated streak King Mo is 1-2 over his last three. His two losses were against Phil Davis at Bellator 154 and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic in the second round of Rizin 3 – Rizin Fighting World Grand Prix 2016. Lawal sandwiched a win in the middle of the losses when he beat Satoshi Ishii at Bellator 169.

The path to victory for King Mo is clear; take Rampage down, get him on his back and score with ground and pound. In the first fight Lawal had success with takedowns; unfortunately, once he had control he did nothing with it.

Rampage has the advantage on the feet. If he is able to keep the fight standing and utilize his jab to keep distance he’ll win the fight. However, if he can’t defend the takedown and tries to fight from underneath he’s going to lose.

If Lawal decides he wants to stand and trade with Rampage it will be a mistake. His ground game will be the difference if he decides to use it. That said, King Mo at -325 is a pass for me.

Pick: Lawal by decision 

Emmanuel Sanchez (14-3) vs. Marcos Galvao (18-7-1) – Featherweight 145 lbs.

Current Odds: Sanchez -245; Galvao +195

Emmanuel Sanchez will look to make it two wins a row when he faces off against Marcos Galvao. Sanchez is 4-1 over his last five. His most recent fight took place at Bellator 170 where he won a majority decision over Georgi Karakhanyan in a fight I predicted him to lose.

Former Bellator bantamweight champion Marcos Galvao had his four fight win streak broken by Eduardo Dantas at Bellator 156, but he returned at Bellator 166 where he won a split decision over LC Davis. Now, Galvao will also be looking to make it two wins in a row and get himself in title contention.

Sanchez really showed me he’s ready to take the next step in his win against Karakhanyan. He’s a good, young fighter I’d like to see Bellator get behind and with a win here it should put him in title contention.

This should be a close fight. With Galvao’s experience there isn’t anything that Sanchez can throw at him that he hasn’t seen before. Neither fighter are finishers. In 32 combined career wins only 11 have ended inside the distance. Both fighters match up well against each other; however, I expect Sanchez to be the busier fighter earning him a close fought decision.

At -245 the odds are a bit too high for me to back Sanchez. However, I do favor the rounds total over.

Sanchez by decision

Chase Gormley (14-5) vs. Sergei Kharitonov (23-6) – Heavyweight 265 lbs. 

Current Odds: Kharitonov -265; Gormley +215

Russian veteran Sergei Kharitonov lost his Bellator debut when he was stopped by Javy Ayala in the first round at Bellator 163. Kharitonov has 22 finishes in 23 career wins and will look to make a statement against Gormley on Friday.

Chase Gormley was on a five fight winning streak until he was stopped by Dan Charles in his Bellator debut back at Bellator 143. Since then he is 2-0 under the Bellator banner with his most recent win occurring at Bellator 162 where he won a split decision over Bobby Brents.

Just like in his fight against Ayala, Kharitonov is the favorite to win here. He has the advantage in both striking and power. Losing to Ayala in his debut was a big blow so losing here again will surely halt any thoughts of Bellator giving him a push up the ladder.

Gormley will have his hands full with the big Russian. While there’s always the chance in heavyweight fights of one punch ending it, Gormley’s best chance of winning is to get the fight into the latter rounds, tire Kharitonov out and possibly win the fight on points or finish him.

However, I think Kharitonov knows this a must win fight and will get the finish.

I would consider backing Sergei Kharitonov as well as the rounds total under.

Pick: Kharitonov by TKO

Jake Roberts (7-1) vs. Steve Kozola (7-0) – Lightweight 155 lbs. 

Current Odds: Kozola -180; Roberts +150

Steve Kozola enters his fight against Jake Roberts looking for his eighth straight win. He is 2-0 under the Bellator banner. He most recently fought for World Series of Fighting where he finished Matt Church at WSOF 30. Of his seven career wins, six are by KO/TKO with one submission.

Jake Roberts was on a seven fight win streak until he dropped a decision to Carrington Banks at Bellator 165. Roberts is 1-1 under the Bellator banner and will be looking to get back in the win column on Friday. Like Kozola, Jake Roberts is a finisher. Six of his seven wins ended inside the distance.

Kozola is an aggressive fighter who likes to pressure his opponents. I’m interested to see how Roberts handles the early onslaught. If Roberts can weather the storm and get the fight into the latter rounds his chances of winning increases. Jake Roberts will be Kozola’s toughest fight but I think he has the advantage regardless of where the fight goes. I would consider backing him at -180.

Pick: Kozola by TKO

Lloyd Carter (10-8) vs. Noad Lahat (10-2) – Featherweight 145 lbs.

Current Odds: Lahat -720; Carter +480

Lloyd Carter makes his Bellator debut on Friday after a lengthy run on the regional circuit. He’s 2-1 over his last three fights. After winning two in a row he was subbed by Miguel Torres at UCL-Havoc in Hammond 3.

After suffering two knockouts from flying knees and going 2-2 in the UFC, Noad Lahat was released. He signed with Bellator MMA in June of 2016 and made his debut for the promotion at Bellator 164 where he tapped Scott Cleve with a rear naked choke. He’ll go for his second straight win when he takes on Lloyd Carter.

As the odds reflect, this should be an easy win for Lahat. He is the better fighter in all areas and should finish Carter inside the distance. Consider backing the rounds total under in this one.

Pick: Lahat by submission


Fuentas over Shelhart

Askar over Esposito

Akins over Delavega

Garcia over Galloway

Streaker over Holder

Patterson over Buckley

Hardwick over Cho

Vazquez over Williams

Bochnovic over Paul

Shoaff over Norris

Maciejewski over McLean

Enjoy the fights!

NOW CHECK OUT OUR OTHER BELLATOR 175 PREVIEW ARTICLE: Bellator’s Jackson vs. King Mo 2 on Spike TV Primer: Ecochard’s preview of Friday night’s event including Sanchez vs. Gala, Gormley vs. Kharitonov

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