Bellator I lightweight tournament quick preview and predictions for April 3 inaugural event

The 12-part tournament series from Bellator Fighting Championships, set to air in weekly segments on ESPN Deportes, debuts tonight, April 3, from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

ESPN Deportes will air the action via tape delay on April 4.

Featured on the card will be three first round match-ups from both the lightweight and featherweight tournaments. The main event will showcase lightweights Nick Agallar and Jorge Masvidal and the co-main event will pit Eddie Alvarez against Greg Loughran in a 155-pound scrap as well.

Here is the full lineup for the upstart promotion's inaugural event:

Featherweight tournament (145 pounds):
Nick Gonzalez (14-6) vs. Yahir Reyes (12-5)
Estevan Payan (6-1) vs. Luis Palomino (9-4)
Joe Soto (4-0) vs. Ben Greer (11-4)

Lightweight Tournament (155 pounds):
Nick Agallar (21-5) vs. Jorge Masvidal (16-3)
Eddie Alvarez (16-2) vs. Greg Loughran (18-11)
Alonzo Martinez (22-12-1) vs. Toby Imada (20-11)

Main Card:
Lorenzo Borgomeo (4-1) vs. Daniel Morales (5-1)
Gary Padilla (8-4) vs. Daniel Sarafian (3-1)
Jonathan Brookins (8-3) vs. Stephen Ledbetter (6-2)

We've taken a closer look at two of the featured fights, which are both a part of the lightweight tournament, to give you a taste of what to expect from the latest mixed martial arts offering.

Check 'em out after the jump:

Nick Agallar (21-5) vs. Jorge Masvidal (16-3)

Masvidal isn't hard to figure out. He wants to trade strikes or utilize his ground and pound. He doesn't play around with submissions, he just wants to punch his opponents in the face. He happens to be good at it, boasting a 50 percent knockout rate in his 16 career wins.

Agallar is a little more well rounded. He can beat you a number of different ways and has a ton of experience to his credit, including fights in the UFC, WEC and other top promotions.

The competitiveness of this fight is probably what propelled it to top billing over the Eddie Alvarez vs. Gregg Loughran fight, even though Alvarez is arguably the biggest name the promotion has on its roster.

I can see this one going either way, but I'm giving the nod to Masvidal. He's aggressive, strong and has that killer instinct that I love in a fighter. I give him the advantage on the feet, which lucky for him, is where the fight starts.

If Agallar gets in trouble and tries to take the fight to the mat, Masvidal will have to show his takedown defense or he'll risk getting submitted on his back. If the fight goes to the ground and he gets the top position however, he does have some dangerous ground and pound from there.

Look for Masvidal to win this fight with some sort of stoppage from strikes or from a decisive win on the scorecards.

Final Prediction: Jorge Masvidal via technical knockout in round one

Eddie Alvarez (16-2) vs. Greg Loughran (18-11)

Loughran is dangerous with submissions, which is the only type of fighter that has given the top-ranked Alvarez any trouble through this point in his career, even though he's proven he can pretty much handle any style.

Obviously Alvarez has the edge in striking with his superior boxing and dynamite power and he has a strong wrestling base as well that he can use to keep the fight on the feet. But as Aoki proved, he's not unbeatable and he can be submitted if taken to the mat.

Clearly Greg Loughran is no Shinya Aoki, but nevertheless, Alvarez has to respect his opponents submission game or he could find himself tapping out for the second straight time.

With that said, this fight shouldn't be much of a problem for the Philadelphia native. He's scary good on his feet and scrambles with the best of them. He stormed through guys like Ross Ebanez, Andre Amade, Joachim Hansen and Tatsuya Kawajiri last year and it's hard to imagine him losing to the relatively unknown Greg Loughran.

Stranger things have happened, especially in this sport, but it's probably safe to expect Alvarez to move on to the second round after this one.

Final Prediction: Eddie Alvarez via technical knockout in round one

Next week Bellator Fighting Championships will feature a main event between former EliteXC featherweight champion Wilson Reis and Henry Martinez in the final first round match-up from the 145-pound tournament at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

The fourth and final first round fight from the lightweight tourney, as well as three first round welterweight bouts will be featured on the card as well.

For all the latest on Bellator FC click here.

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