Bellator makes its way to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut this Friday, October 20th for the debut of former UFC star Gegard Mousasi. He will be headlining the card facing former longtime middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko. This card originally slated a co-main event fight of Liam McGreary vs. “King Mo” Lawal, but Lawal suffered an injury and had to withdraw from the fight. They replaced Lawal with Bubba McDaniel, however McGreary then bowed out of the fight with an injury which then forced Bellator to scrap this fight altogether.
Also slated on the card was a welterweight fight with Brennan Ward against David Rickels, however Ward had to pull out of the fight with an injury. The card doesn’t have quite the shine it originally had, but the show must go on and we will have some entertaining fights to watch.
I will give a short preview of each fight along with my guaranteed prediction (guaranteed to be either correct or horribly wrong). Let’s start with the first fight.
Ana Julaton (2-2-0) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0-0) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
Bellator is really starting to push the 125 lb. women’s division as they have two women’s flyweight fights on the main card. I feel like this will eventually be the premiere women’s division in MMA. Julaton is a former boxer with mixed results in MMA. She has not seen MMA action since Dec. 11th of 2015.
Meanwhile Blaine has most recently won her pro debut at Premier FC 23 with a TKO victory on Jun. 10th of 2017. Women’s fights in Bellator usually have been exciting. I expect this to follow suit in a mostly stand up battle. I feel this could go either way, but I see Lisa Blaine winning a close decision. I feel it could come down to conditioning and it will come down to who has it in the gas tank for the final round.
Pick: Blaine – Decision
Ryan Quinn (13-7-1) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0-0) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Ryan Quinn is looking to rebound after his most recent loss to Bellator title contender Saad Awad. He will have his work cut out for him against undefeated Marcus Surin who is coming off of a TKO victory at World Series of Fighting 31 over Christian Torres. Surin has not lost a fight in his pro or amateur career and is looking to make a fast start in Bellator.
I think Quinn will be looking to get this match to the ground and control Surin and wear him down. Quinn will have to be careful getting into clinches with Surin as Surin does have devastating knees that can put Quinn’s lights out. In the end I think Quinn will bounce back from his most recent loss and win a victory by submission in round 2.
Pick: Quinn – Submission, Rd. 2
Heather Hardy (1-0-0) vs. Kristina Williams (0-0-0) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
The second Women’s Flyweight fight will be the second outing in Bellator for former boxer Heather Hardy against a debuting Kristina Williams. Williams does have a victory as an amateur at LFA 9. Heather Hardy has an extensive boxing background with a 20-0 record with 16 of her wins coming by way of decision and 4 knockouts. Hardy will try to keep this fight standing and I think will out class the debuting Williams in the stand up and win by decision.
Pick: Hardy – Decision
Neiman Gracie (6-0-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8-0) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Neiman Gracie has to face Zak Bucia as a late replacement for the injured Javier Torres. Gracie has been gathering momentum with submission victories in all but one of his fights. Bucia is a longtime veteran to the sport and has a decent record, however he will have his work cut out for him facing the submission master Neiman Gracie. I see Gracie getting the takedown early and working towards a submission in the first round. If Bucia can withstand the submission attacks in the first round he has a chance in the second and third to keep the fight standing and win by decision.
Pick: Gracie – Submission, Rd. 1
Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9-0) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Mousasi will be making his highly publicized Bellator debut when he steps into the cage to face longtime former champion Alexander Shlemenko. This should be a great fight although we shall see how rusty Shlemenko is after not competing in Bellator for over a year. Shlemenko has recently competed in M-1 this year twice winning both.
Mousasi is coming in with a five-fight win streak in the UFC with wins over Thales Leites, Thiago Santos, Vitor Belfort, Uriah Hall and most recently Chris Weidman. Arguably he was in line for a title shot with current UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping; however, Mousasi was going to have to play the waiting game as Bisping is set to take on Georges St. Pierre in November. Mousasi decided his best interest would be to sign with Bellator. He is one of the higher profile signings Bellator has recently made of former UFC talent.
This should be a great stand-up battle as both guys have great striking and have knockout power. I think Mousasi should shine in this contest with his striking being very effective. He will have to watch out for the array of spinning attacks that Shlemenko will offer as Mousasi was caught by Uriah Hall with a spinning kick. Mousasi has been one of my favorite fighters to watch since I first saw him win the Dream Middleweight Grand Prix in 2008 with submission victories over Denis Kang and Melvin Manhoef, and he capped it off with a knockout via upkicks over Jacare Souza. I think Mousasi wins this by TKO in the second round and gets his Bellator career started off in a great direction.
Pick: Mousasi – TKO, Rd. 2
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