Two weeks, two Bellator events. I love it! Bellator 24 kicked ass, if you didn’t see the thrashing Hector Lombard laid out on Herbert Goodman, or the destruction of the "Manic Hispanic" Eddie Sanchez by Bellator newcomer Neil Grove, you missed out. Oh, did I mention Megumi Fujii bumped her undefeated record up to 21 with a slick armbar submission? I’m still coming down from the awesomeness of last weeks card, and now, here I am writing up predictions for another event from the rising promotion that is quickly becoming one of my favorites!
Alright, first up is a women’s tournament match between Californian’s Jessica Pene and Zoila Fraustro. Pene brings in a perfect 7-0 record, and already has one victory under the Bellator banner (a first round drubbing of Tammie Schneider at BFC 5), while Frausto looks for her third straight stoppage since a submission loss to Strikeforce woman’s welterweight #1 contender Meisha Tate. Now, one of those wins was a BRUTAL knockout over the extremely tough Rosi Sexton at Bellator 23. Check it out:
Bellator 23 Highlight: Zoila Frausto Stunning Knee KO Over Rosi Sexton (via BellatorMMA)
The fight between Pene and Zoila is going to be fucking nuts. Both of them have really good striking, Pene’s submissions are excellent, and both go for it every time they step out into the cage. This is easily the best fight on the card (in my opinion), with the winner gaining some serious momentum and moving onto the semi-finals, joining Fujii and fellow BFC 24 winner Jessica Aguilar. I’m taking Jessica Pene via a hard-fought submission in the third round.
Next up is the second fight in the men’s heavyweight tournament between collegiate wrestling behemoth Cole Konrad, and M-1 veteran Rogent Lloret. Konrad is a midwestern boy and undefeated at 4-0. He’s 2-0 in Bellator over guys nobody gives a fudge about, both by decision, both by him laying on them for three rounds – doing what he does best. Konrad’s a big fat wrestler, but he’s great at wrestling, and he’s from Wisconsin – my home, which makes him someone I root for. I like his chances in this tournament, we saw Ben Askren do relatively the same thing in his conquest last season, I think Cole can do the same.
Llorent’s bringing in a 9-1-1-1 record to the fight, and hasn’t tasted defeat since 2007. He’s fought 9 times since then, including a draw with fellow Bellator heavyweight Alexey Oleinik. I’d love to see a rematch between those two, and regardless if Llorent can get past midwest lovin’ Cole Konrad, we’ll hopefully see it. I think Llorent can keep Cole away from him, his striking is much more polished, and he’s quick on his feet. He can’t get taken down. Rogent’s got a good number of submission wins under his belt, and has competed in ADCC, but he’ll get smothered by Cole if he’s on his back. My prediction, another lackluster but dominating decision win for the cheese-head.
Next fight of the night is another heavyweight tournament fight between Damian Grabowski and Scott Barrett. These two big fuckers have a combined record of 22-1. Grabowski’s a finisher. He’s never been out of the first round, and has submitted more opponents than he’s stopped with strikes. This guy is strong as shit, and will pop a limb off with all his strength if he gets the chance. Barrett is a striker. He knocks people out on the feet, doesn’t play the ground game. If he gets on his back he’s getting submitted, bet on it. I know I am. Final prediction is Grabowski gaining his 13th straight stoppage win via a first round submission.
The final fight is a solid welterweight match-up between season 2 finalist Dan Hornbuckle and UFC cast-off Brad Blackburn. Both guys are coming off losses, Hornbuckle – losing a unanimous decision to Ben Askren, and Blackburn (actually coming off two losses) – to Amir Sadollah and Damarques Johnson. I don’t think I need to suggest these two are going to fight safe. Coming off wins or losses, they bring it. Hornbuckle more recently with his submissions, and Blackburn with his strikes. I think Hornbuckle’s much more durable, Blackburn might be so-called "brittle" in the chin region, and I won’t be shocked to see the "Handler" knock him out. I think the only person in Bellator who can beat Dan Hornbuckle is Ben Askren, everyone else is getting wrecked. Dan Hornbuckle via submission, round 2.
There are more fights on Bellator’s prelim card too, including notable veteran "Mr. International" Shonie Carter, Brian Gassaway, and TUF 6 fighter John Kolosci. I hope you can show Bellator some love and watch the event, it should be another really fun event for the MMA fans!