Bellator MMA's Season 10 continues this Friday night (April 18, 2014) live from Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Bellator 117 "Prelims" under card mixed martial arts (MMA) matches will stream online via SpikeTV.com, beginning at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the televised main card starting at 9 p.m. ET, also on Spike TV.
In the main event, Douglas Lima will take on Rick Hawn to decide the vacant Bellator welterweight championship.
The 170-pound belt became vacant after longtime champion Ben Askren vacated the throne when he left Bellator last year to attempt to get a contract with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) before settling on a deal with Asian promotion ONE FC.
Lima won the season eight tournament finals with a head-kick knockout over Ben Saunders last year back at Bellator 100.
Meanwhile, Hawn rides into this fight on the heels of his victory over Ron Keslar in the finals of the season nine tournament back at Bellator 109.
Elsewhere on the card, Patricky Pitbull takes on Derek Campos and Marcin Held squares off against Derek Anderson in the semifinals of the lightweight tournament.
Check out our full preview and predictions below:
170-pound title fight: Douglas Lima vs. Rick Hawn
At 37 years of age, this might be Hawn's last best chance at winning Bellator gold.
The former Olympic judoka has been something of a perennial fixture in Bellator's regular tournaments ever since his debut for the promotion back in 2010 at Bellator 33. He's been involved in tournament finals twice and even fought for the lightweight belt against then-champ Michael Chandler, but he has yet to win the big one.
Lima is also a top-level tournament vet, having run through the season five welterweight tourney before eventually falling short against former 170-pound kingpin Ben Askren. However, considering that he's only 26 years old, it's probable Lima hasn't even entered his athletic peak and will be able to fight at a high level for years to come.
Necessity may be the mother of invention, but I don't see the "must win" nature of this fight for Hawn being enough for him to pull it off. From what we've seen of Hawn over the years, he more often than not prefers to stand and trade rather than use his judo to work in the clinch and look for takedowns.
That's not a recipe for success against a superior striker like Lima. What's more, if the fight goes to the ground, Lima is a significant threat there as well, as his 11 career submissions attest to.
Hawn might need this fight if he wants to ever wear championship gold, but that's not going to help him against Lima.
Final prediction: Douglas Lima via third round TKO.
155-pound tournament semifinal fight: Patricky Pitbull vs. Derek Campos
For years, the book on Patricky Pitubull was that he was the less talented of the two Pitbull brothers. Kind of like Rick Steiner being overshadowed for years by the massive shadow cast by the jacked-up physique of his brother "Big Poppa Pump" Scott Steiner, it appeared Patricky was destined to be thought of more as a footnote to his brother Patricio.
However, Patricky looked like a star in his own right with his KO victory over Dave Rickels to win the opening round of the lightweight tournament back at Bellator 113.
To be honest, I haven't seen much from Campos that has impressed me so far. He's good at controlling fighters, but is decidedly lacking in finishes inside the Bellator cage as of late.
While it's totally possible Derek Campos lays on top of Pitbull and delivers a mental monologue aimed at his maker, I'm going to go with an optimistic pick here and say Pitbull delivers more of the ultra-violence he displayed against "The Caveman" against Campos.
Final prediction: Patricky Pitbull via first round TKO.
155-pound tournament semifinal fight: Derek Anderson vs. Marcin Held
This one is a wash. Both fighters are skilled on the ground and standing up as well. My instincts say to go with Held since he's the more proven commodity, but that sick knockout by way of a knee Anderson dished out to Brandon Girtz at Bellator 113 has me questioning that line of reasoning.
Still, when I posed the question "Will Marcin Held defeated Derek Anderson" to a Magic 8-Ball, that all knowing mystic seer replied with either "Signs Point to Yes" or "Definitely" 14 out of 20 times. That's good enough for me.
Final prediction: Marcin Held via second round submission.
170-pound feature fight: Karl Amoussou vs. David Gomez.
If Merriam Webster ever decides to add the term "skippable Bellator feature fight" to its dictionary, there's a good chance this fight will be listed in the examples.
Bellator newcomer Gomez is a King of the Cage (KOTC) veteran who sports a 2-3 record over his past five fights. Meanwhile, Amoussou, while a good fighter, has lost his past two in a row.
In what universe is a bout like this a good way to hook viewers into watching two hours of fighting on a Friday night?
That being said, I think Amoussou is in a different league than Gomez. This fight reeks of a showcase set up for Amoussou in order to rehab him back into tournament contention.
Look for the Frenchman to roll over Gomez like Napoleon through Austerlitz in this one, folks.
Final prediction: Karl Amoussou via first round TKO.
That's a wrap.
Be sure to check us out Friday night (April 18, 2014) for Bellator 117 results, play-by-play, and LIVE fight coverage for "Lima vs. Hawn" right here on MMAmania.com.
See you then!