Bellator Fighting Championships will head to "The Buckeye State" this Friday night (Oct. 26, 2012) at the Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio.
The main card will air live on MTV2 and Epix HD on fight night, beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
Headlining the main event of Bellator 78 will be a Bellator season seven welterweight tournament semifinal bout between former welterweight champion Lyman Good and talented Russian prospect Michail Tsarev. This will be an excellent striker vs. grappler showdown between two men who were the most impressive in the quarterfinals.
Our complete Bellator 78 preview and predictions are posted below:
170 lbs.: Lyman Good (13-2) vs Michail Tsarev (24-2)
Lyman Good is a former Bellator welterweight champion, having lost the title to current champ Ben Askren. Since then, he's looked solid, defeating Chris Lozano, losing a nailbiter to Rick Hawn and then crushing LeVon Maynard. In his season seven tournament debut, he dominated Jim Wallhead with constant pressure, uppercuts and clinch-based offense to win a unanimous decision. He'll be looking to continue that momentum on Friday night.
Michael Tsarev had a strong base in the ground game, being a champion Pankration fighter. After a 23-2 start to his career, he made his debut last month with Bellator in the quarterfinals of the season seven tournament. After a bit of a slow start, Tsarev really picked it up, turning on the aggression and finding his groove with his ground game in the second round, and finishing his fight against Tim Welch with a rear naked choke.
Tsarev will be looking to take this fight to the ground and do it often. This is a battle of a striker vs. grappler as Good is extremely powerful, technical and dangerous on the feet while Tsarev is aggressive and wily on the canvas. If Tsarev can take Good down, he's got a chance, but even then it's not going to be guaranteed. Lyman Good has improved his ground game and defensive wrestling significantly and he's going to be causing Tsarev all sorts of problems here.
Final Prediction: Lyman Good via knockout in round two
170 lbs.: Marius Zaromskis (19-6) 1 no contest vs. Andrey Koreshkov (11-0)
Marius Zaromskis is an extremely talented striker. He's gained a reputation for his highlight reel knockouts, most notably his head kicks in Dream against the likes of Jason High and Hayoto Sakurai. He's got a plethora of wild strikes in his arsenal, nearly finishing his opening bout against Nordine Taleb with a spinning back fist among other blows, and his ability to land with power is what earned him the nod via decision to advance to the semifinals.
Andrey Koreshkov was the number one ranked welterweight prospect in the world when he was signed by Bellator. He made them look very smart in his first two non-tournament bouts, winning both by fantastic knockout. He received a stern test against fellow prospect Jordan Smith in the quarterfinals of this tournament, going the distance for the first time in his young career.
The key here is spacing. Koreshkov can't let Zaromskis get comfortable, or the unorthodox attacks are going to flow. That cannot be allowed to happen because Zaromskis is probably the most dangerous unorthodox striker out there. If Koreshkov can get inside and start landing with his extremely accurate punches, he's got a very good shot as Zaromskis has had chin issues in the past.
Final Prediction: Andrey Koreshkov via knockout in round two
185 lbs.: Brian Rogers (9-4) vs. Dominique Steele (6-2)
Brian Rogers is an absolute beast. His punches are very powerful and his explosive knees are some of the best and most accurate in all of MMA. This led him to a tremendous string of first round knockouts which he continued into his Strikeforce and Bellator fights. Rogers has advanced to the semifinals of two separate Bellator tournaments, but has been stopped in both fights that went to the second round. He'll be looking to make a statement against Steele.
Dominique Steele is a gritty fighter out of the Cincinnati area. After losing his pro debut, he reeled off six consecutive wins which earned him a bout against UFC veteran Dave Branch in his last fight. While he put on solid effort, he would go on to lose a unanimous decision to Branch. He'll be joining Rogers in trying to get back on track on Friday.
Steele is more of a ground-based fighter so he'll be looking to take this fight to the canvas and work his wrestling and submission game. If he can't get the fight to the ground, his only option is to try to drag this fight into the later rounds. If he can't, he's going to be in a world of hurt as Rogers is ferocious. If Rogers can tag him on the feet, as long as he follows up, he'll be well on his way. "The Predator" is a full-time fighter now so he'll be looking to showcase his skills on Friday night in devastating fashion.
Final Prediction: Brian Rogers via knockout in round one
145 lbs.: Daniel Straus (19-4) vs. Alvin Robinson (12-6)
Make no mistake, Daniel Straus hasn't gone 16-1 in his last 17 fights by accident. The Vision MMA fighter bounced back strongly from his lone defeat by going out and winning the Bellator season six featherweight tournament which included an impressive victory in the finale over powerful Brazilian Marlon Sandro. With the featherweight division experience a serious backlog at the top, he decided to stay active and accepted a bout against a UFC vetearn.
Alvin Robinson fought as a lightweight in the UFC, but dropped down to 145 pounds immediately following his release, which has led to mixed results. "The Kid" has gone 3-2 since making the cut, which his only losses being to Zuffa veterans Cameron Dollar and Anthony Morrison. He's hoping a big upset will get him back on track.
In all honesty, Daniel Straus should roll here. Robinson doesn't present too many threats to him either standing or on the ground. Straus is a better wrestler and should win all the scrambles on the canvas plus he's really put the time in to work on his striking. His left hand is actually very dangerous now and could present serious problems to Robinson on the feet. Look for Straus to outwork Robinson for three rounds and potentially even threaten a finish.
Final Prediction: Daniel Straus via decision
So what do you think, Maniacs?
Who do you predict to advance to the welterweight tournament finals? Will taking a fight while waiting for his title shot end up being a good decision for Straus?