Bellator VII welterweight tournament preview and predictions for May 15 event

Bellator Fighting Championships 12-part weekly tournament series is set to continue tomorrow night (May 15) with its seventh event at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, Illinois.

As always, the action will air via tape delay 24 hours later on the Spanish version of The Worldwide Leader in Sports, ESPN Deportes.

The card will feature the semifinal match ups from the promotion’s welterweight tournament. In the night’s main event, former UFC champion Dave Menne will mix it up with Omar De La Cruz for the right to face the winner between Jorge Ortiz and Lyman Good in the tournament’s championship round sometime in the next six weeks.

The non-tournament portion of the event will showcase a heavyweight bout between UFC veteran Eddie Sanchez and Jay White as well as the professional mixed martial arts debut of Kerry Vera - wife of UFC light heavyweight standout Brandon "The Truth" Vera.

We’ve taken a closer look at the two featured tournament fights to give you a taste of what to expect from their latest mixed martial arts offering.

Here we go:

Dave Menne (43-15-2) vs. Omar De La Cruz (4-1):

Former UFC champion Dave Menne made his way into this final four match up with a hard fought, late round submission victory over Norman Paraisy in the opening round. Meanwhile De La Cruz needed the judge's approval to get past Victor Meza.

On paper, this looks like another fight Menne should be able to win. He's obviously faced a lot more seasoned mixed martial artists than De La Cruz during his career. It's just a matter of getting in the cage and doing it at this point, but with $50,000 on the line, expect De La Cruz to come out guns blazing.

Menne lost his last two fights in the Octagon. One by decision to Josh Koscheck and the other by technical knockout to Luigi Fiorivanti. However, he's won both his fights since leaving the UFC for the second time, and he appears to be back in fighting shape and ready to compete for the Bellator title.

He has a great jiu-jitsu game and isn't afraid to trade strikes if he has to. He should have De La Cruz outclassed in all areas of this fight. It's a pick your poison for him. His strong suit is grappling and submissions, but Menne will pick him apart in that area. Then if he tries to stand with Menne, he's giving up a ton of experience and technique there as well.

Look for De La Cruz to try and stand early on with Menne, but eventually he'll try to turn to his bread and butter by taking the fight to the mat. When that happens, it'll only be a matter of time before Menne has him tapping out.

Final Prediction: Dave Menne via submission in round two.

Jorge "The Naked Man" Ortiz (16-4) vs. Lyman Good (8-0):

This fight could steal the show in Chicago. Both of these guys love to scrap and they usually leave it all in the cage.

Ortiz is here in the semifinals after outpointing Aaron Romero on the scorecards in the first round, while Good was able to submit Hector Urbina with a second round rear naked choke in his opening round contest.

Both of these guys are big welterweights, and they both can end fights by submission as well as with their fists. Oritz though, is the more experienced fighter, and he's definitely faced the stiffer opposition of the two, having squared off against Jason Guida, Eugene Jackson, Jon Fitch, Joey Villasenor, Jesse Taylor and others.

This is a big fight with a lot of money on the line. Experience and poise in the cage could be a huge factor. The edge there clearly goes to Ortiz.

However, that experience can only take you so far against a beast like Lyman Good. Eventually Ortiz is going to have to deal with Good's strength and physicality, which won't be easy to do. Good is an absolute monster of a man at 170 pounds, and he's going to be a handful for Ortiz, experience or not.

I think Ortiz's best chance to win is to try and out maneuver and out work Good for a decision, but I just don't see that happening. I think Good's strength and aggression will lead him to victory instead. They'll trade strikes for a while, but eventually Good will try to put Ortiz on his back. And from there, Good is going to be very difficult to fight off.

Look for Good to win this fight with a strong ground and pound attack.

Final Prediction: Lyman Good via technical knockout in round two

Check out the lineup for BFC VII in its entirety below:

Welterweight Tournament Semifinals:

170 lbs.: Dave Menne (43-15-2) vs. Omar De La Cruz (4-1)
170 lbs.: Jorge "The Naked Man" Ortiz (16-4) vs. Lyman Good (8-0)

Non-Tournament Bouts:

155 lbs.: Troy Gerhart (4-0) vs. Lorenzo Borgomeo (5-1)
265 lbs.: Eddie Sanchez (8-3) vs. Jay White (4-5)
155 lbs.: Alonzo Martinez (22-13-1) vs. Victor Meza (9-1)
170 lbs.: Jesse Juarez (9-5) vs. Marcelo Alfaya (10-5)
170 lbs.: Anthony Lapsley (14-4) vs. Ryan Williams (7-4)
170 lbs.: Jacob Volkman (8-0) vs. Kevin Knabjian (10-3-1)
135 lbs.: Kerry Vera (0-0) vs. Leslie Smith (4-0)

Next week Bellator Fighting Championships will put on its eighth event on ESPN Deportes. The card is expected to feature the semifinals from the promotion's middleweight tournament. Cuban born Judoka Hector Lombard will square off against Damien Stelly on one side of the bracket, while Jared Hess and Yosmany Cabezas battle it out for the other spot in the final.

You definitely don't want to miss that.

To catch up on all the latest from Bellator Fighting Championships click here.

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