Bellator Fighting Championships will head to "The Tar Heel State" this Thursday night (Feb. 14, 2013) at the Bojangles Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The main card will air live on Spike TV on fight night, beginning at 10 p.m. ET.
Headlining the main event will be a bantamweight title fight between reigning champion Eduardo Dantas and his friend, mentor and teammate Marcos Galvao. This will be Dantas first fight since suffering a huge upset knockout loss to Tyson Nam last summer, which delayed his initial title defense by two months.
Also on tap will be the Bellator season eight middleweight tournament quarterfinals which feature a wide array of heavy hitters including knockout artist Brian Rogers, Swedish kickboxer Andreas Spang, fan-favorite brawler Brett Cooper and former WEC light heavyweight champion Doug Marshall among others.
Our complete Bellator 89 review and predictions are posted below:
135 lb. title: Eduardo Dantas (14-3) vs. Marcos Galvão (13-5-1)
Dantas has all the talent in the world, winning the bantamweight tournament and defeating champion Zack Makovsky to claim the Bellator Bantamweight Title, but pride cometh before the fall. Against Tyson Nam in his native Brazil, Dantas was far too aggressive early on, pushing forward and walked right into a beautiful right hand counter from Nam which floored him. After picking up the pieces, he needs to put himself back together again in time for this title defense.
Galvao had a horrific run initially in Bellator, getting screwed out of decisions against both Joe Warren in his debut and Alexis Vila in his first tournament fight. "Loro" returned with a vengeance in the last tournament, however, defeating Ed West in a very exciting battle, earning a decision against Travis Marx and then stopping Luis Nogueira via second round TKO to earn his title shot.
Dantas is bigger, longer, a bit more powerful and at least even in terms of ground skills. He's also got a conditioning advantage. What he lacks however, is the ability to take a really good shot. Galvao proved in his last few fights that he has some power in both fists and can keep it up at least for two rounds and that's where he can win. If the season six tournament winner can land that big shot in the early goings, he can win this fight, but if Dantas can control him and wear him out, Galvao's chances are slim to none.
Final Prediction: Eduardo Dantas via decision
185 lbs.: Dan Cramer (9-3) vs. Brian Rogers (10-4)
Dan Cramer was a veteran of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) but his UFC career only lasted two fights, going 1-1 in the promotion. He found a new home in Bellator where he's gone 6-1 and has avenged his lone defeat in the promotion. "Cosmo" is coming off a first round knockout victory over Joseph Lamoureux in his last bout, which earned him a shot in the 185 pound tournament.
Brian Rogers has a reputation as a ferocious striker, famously going on a seven fight winning streak with seven first round knockouts. "The Professional Predator" was on his way to defeating Andreas Spang before getting caught with a huge right hand that ended his tournament run last April, but bounced back by thrashing Dominique Steele in a one-sided beating over three rounds.
Rogers has a huge edge here, holding an advantage in both wrestling, judo and especially stand-up. The Strongstyle fighter possesses immense power in both his knees and his punches. If he has Cramer hurt, he's going to swarm him. Cramer's best chance is to somehow grind Rogers out, get him on his back, wear him down and try to submit him. Those odds are pretty long, unfortunately.
Final Prediction: Brian Rogers via knockout in round one
185 lbs.: Brett Cooper (17-7) vs. Norman Paraisy (10-2-1)
Cooper is a monster, a wild brawler who has a tremendous chin and some serious punching power in both hands. "Fudoshin" loves to stand and bang, but also possesses a pretty solid ground game where he can control his opponent and punish them on the canvas.
Paraisy had a tough draw in the last tournament, squaring off against eventual tournament winner Maiquel Falcao in the quarterfinals and losing a pretty one-sided decision. Paraisy possesses some solid kickboxing, but has a bad tendency of leaving his hands low and getting tagged and hurt by aggressive strikers.
Brett Cooper is the exact type of aggressive striker Paraisy should have nightmares about.
Final Prediction: Brett Cooper via knockout in round one
185 lbs.: Doug Marshall (15-6) vs. Andreas Spang (8-2)
Doug Marshall is the real life definition of "Live by the Sword. Die by the sword." In his last four fights, none of them have gone more than 34 seconds, winning two and losing two. The former WEC Light Heavyweight Champion has been slightly rejuvenated since dropping down to middleweight, but he's never going to stop fighting like he does, which is constantly pressing forward looking for the big knockout.
Andreas Spang is a very solid technical striker, showcasing some solid skills on the feet in all of his fights. Most notably, he survived the early onslaught against Brian Rogers only to land a beautiful knockout blow and earn an invite to the tournament finals. In the finals, he nearly finished Maiquel Falcao early, but couldn't put "Bigg Rigg" away and was outgrappled for a decision.
We all know what Marshall is going to do, charge in with his head down and fists flailing. If Spang can survive an onslaught from Brian Rogers, he should definitely be able to weather the early storm from Marshall. Look for Spang to try to counter Marshall's aggression and put him to sleep with accurate blows after sidestepping a few big shots.
Final Prediction: Andreas Spang via knockout in round one