Bellator Fighting Championships will head to "The Pine Tree State" this Thursday night (March 21, 2013) at the Androscoggin Bank Colisée in Lewiston, Maine.
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 Bellator season seven lightweight tournament final between Dave Jansen and Marcin Held. Both men were originally supposed to fight last season, but Held was forced out of the bout when he was too young (20) to enter the casino and compete for that $100,000 and the shot at the title. After rescheduling, both men are finally going to settle their business in the cage.
Also on tap will be a light heavyweight contest between top prospect Ryan Martinez and recent tournament finalist Travis Wiuff. Both men will be looking to potentially earn a berth in the next 205 pound tournament if they can score an impressive win.
Lastly, former UFC veteran Marcus Davis will step into the cage against the always entertaining Waachiim Spiritwolf in a welterweight showdown that is almost guaranteed to get the fans on their collective feet. A planned bout between Brett Rogers and Eric Prindle was scratched this week due to injury.
Our complete Bellator 93 preview and predictions are posted below.
155 lbs.: Dave Jansen (19-2) vs. Marcin Held (15-2)
Dave Jansen has looked terrific inside the Bellator cage ever since he switched over the the promotion following his WEC stint. "The Fugitive" has won five straight fights including a very impressive third round guillotine choke over Magomed Saadulaev in the season seven quarterfinals. He dropped Ricardo Tirloni in the opening round of his semifinal fight, but had a much stiffer test and walked away with a controversial decision.
Marcin Held is one of the youngest fighters on the Bellator roster. The 20 year old Polish prodigy has quickly gained a reputation for his amazing leg locks, none better than the toehold he forced UFC veteran Rich Clementi to tap out to in the semifinals of the season seven tournament. Five of his last seven victories have come after doing serious damage to an opponent's leg.
Jansen might want to try to use his wrestling advantage to keep this bout on the feet. He should hold a power edge in terms of his punches, although neither guy possesses much terms of technical striking. Look for him to try and clip Held standing. If that doesn't work, Jansen has a wrestling edge and he will likely shoot in for takedowns. Held doesn't not have great defense there and might even welcome a ground battle as he's got great scrambles, sweeps and submissions off his back. If Jansen can secure top position safely, he needs to go for broke with punches and the now legal elbows. He can't give Held a chance to think and plan an attack or he could wind up in trouble.
Final Prediction: Dave Jansen via decision
205 lbs.: Ryan Martinez (8-2) vs. Travis Wiuff (68-16 1NC)
Ryan Martinez was a heavyweight prospect and his big break came in Elite XC when he handed former national champion wrestler out of American Kickboxing Academy Mark Ellis his first career loss. Martinez came up short to Mike Wessel in a qualifier for the last heavyweight tournament and decided it was time to drop down to light heavyweight. He makes his debut in the division on Thursday night.
Travis Wiuff has been competing in mixed martial arts for 12 years now. He experienced the best run of success in his career when he became the only fighter to defeat a Bellator champion in a non-title "superfight" when he knocked off Christian M'Pumbu in 2011. He tried to earn another crack at M'Pumbu through the tournament but lost in the finals to Attila Vegh in just 25 seconds. After another split decision loss overseas, he'll try to get back on track against Martinez.
Wiuff's biggest advantage has always been his size and his wrestling, but Martinez had what it took to handle a national champion wrestler at heavyweight so his strengths could be nullified. Martinez hits hard and started his heavyweight career with a big run of knockouts. If he catches Wiuff, who has a notoriously bad chin, he could definitely finish him. It's all about getting those shots in before he's dumped on the canvas.
Final Prediction: Ryan Martinez via TKO
170 lbs.: Marcus Davis (21-9) vs. Waachiim Spiritwolf (9-11-1 1NC)
Marcus Davis was once a top contender in the UFC's welterweight division. "The Irish Hand Grenade" let emotions take control, however, and he lost a bad string of fights to close out his run in the promotion. Since then, he's tried everything from changing weight classes and promotions, but a recent focus on his conditioning and nutrition has really turned it around for him. Now 4-1 in his last five fights, Davis is rejuvenated and is hoping to put on a big performance in front of his hometown fans from Maine.
Waachiim Spiritwolf always brings the fight. The Native American brawler has a reputation for constantly moving forward, throwing heavy bombs and not being afraid to take one to dish one out. His trilogy against Marius Zaromskis didn't exactly end the best way he would have liked, but he can ease the sting of that run if he knocks off perhaps the biggest name opponent he's ever faced.
Davis will try to utilize his superior technique against Spiritwolf while the brawler will want to brawl. Spiritwolf can take a shot with the best of them and the same can't be said for Davis anymore so if he can force exchanges where they're both trading heavy shots evenly, then Spiritwolf has a chance. If he's forced to try to box with Davis, he's going to be in serious, serious trouble.
Final Prediction: Marcus Davis via TKO in round three