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Bellator 142: 'Dynamite 1' predictions, preview for MMA fights on Spike TV

Bellator MMA and GLORY kickboxing are doing it big later tonight (Sat., Sept. 19, 2015) with a massive 'Dynamite 1' card set to ignite SAP Center in San Jose, California.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Several weeks ago Bellator MMA brought us "Guillard vs. Girtz" from Temecula, Calif., a card that had some intriguing match ups on paper, but felt very much like a light appetizer before the main course to even the most ardent combat sports fans.

That mouth-watering feast arrives TONIGHT (Sat., Sept. 19, 2015) in the form of "Dynamite 1," which takes place inside SAP Center in San Jose, California. It's a truly massive smorgasbord of 20 fights in two different combat areas, with the Bellator cage and the GLORY kickboxing ring set up side-by-side (see the set up here).

Yours truly does not profess to be anything close to an expert in the realm of kickboxing, so I'm going to defer to my fellow combat sports reporters here at to make those picks (see them here). I'll be concentrating on the night's MMA fights.

However, even that is a somewhat tricky proposition in this case given that Bellator MMA has booked a four-man, one-night Light Heavyweight tournament (along with a reserve bout on the "Prelims") and my final bracket could be wildly wrong.

After all, anything can -- and often does -- happen in MMA.

205 lbs.: Liam McGeary (c) (10-0) vs. Tito Ortiz (18-11-1)

There may initially have been some skepticism when Bellator MMA announced the main event of "Dynamite 1," but history (and more importantly television ratings) has proven that Tito Ortiz is a draw. And there's no better time for Bellator MMA to go all in on Ortiz -- he's on his first two-fight win streak since he routinely got paired off with Ken Shamrock. That said, the short -- albeit important -- win streak for "The People's Champion" does need some scrutiny as Ortiz outsized a blown up Middleweight then edged out a split decision with an ex-UFC fighter past his prime.

It's extremely difficult to believe Ortiz has a chance against McGeary. Not impossible, but very, very hard. The European sensation joined the short list of undefeated world champions in MMA with a very hard fought five-round decision over Emanuel Newton. As Newton himself will attest to the only thing harder than winning a title is holding onto it, so if McGeary can beat the former UFC champion in his first title defense, the promotion will have a new contender from the four-man tournament waiting in the wings to step up next.

McGeary's biggest assets are his Jon Jones-esque size, standing 6'6" with an 81" reach, making him just slightly taller and slightly less rangy than "Bones." Stop fantasy booking that fight in your head, though, and get back to the reality of Ortiz, whose biggest advantage is a wealth of experience dating back to the late 1990's. He's versatile in his wins, too -- eight knockouts, four submissions and six decisions. It's hard to ignore he's only won three out of his last 10 though, and McGeary has only been the distance once in his completely unblemished record to date.

Final prediction: Liam McGeary knocks out Tito Ortiz in the first round

205 lbs.: Muhammed 'King Mo' Lawal (15-4) vs. Linton Vassell (15-4, 1 NC)

The first of our two brackets for the tournament pairs Light Heavyweights who are almost identical in their win loss record, but that couldn't be more different stylistically. Lawal uses his dominant wrestling skill set to punish foes, taking even larger opponents down at will and hurting those who get back up with their hands. Occasionally this can lead to an unexciting outcome, but with 11 out of 15 wins by knockout, people should not forget the power in the hands of the former Strikeforce champion.

"The Swam" Vassell has power in his hands, too, but picks up the majority of his wins by submission by a small margin -- six by striking and seven by tap. His favorite is the rear-naked choke, five out of seven times, but when you live by the sword you die by the sword as Emanuel Newton caught him in a successful title defense. That was Vassell's first loss since 2010, though, while Lawal's record over that same span was somewhat more spotty, and he too had a problem getting past Newton. The winner of this bracket could potentially get their revenge on him later in the night.

Final prediction: King Mo outwrestles Vassell en route to a split decision

205 lbs.: Emanuel Newton (25-8-1) vs. Phil Davis (13-3, 1 NC)

Our other tournament bracket puts the former champion Newton on the comeback trail, with former top-ranked UFC contender "Mr. Wonderful" standing squarely in his way. As much as Lawal relies on wrestling to set up his knockouts, Davis relies on his wrestling even more ... to set up more wrestling. He grinds people hard, and it pays dividends, with more than 50 percent of his wins coming by decision. He's also got great timing and movement along with excellent ground defense. Davis may have lost three decisions, but he hasn't been knocked out or submitted once.

Newton is consistently underestimated and underrated, which is what enabled him to climb the ranks of Bellator's Light Heavyweight division and then successfully defend the title several times. In 34 fights, he has only been knocked out once and submitted twice. And a large gas tank enables him to make comebacks late in fights that don't always appear to be going his way. He also known to outpoint opponents in close fights, with just under 50 percent (12 out of 25 wins) coming via decision. Unfortunately for Newton, in this fight he's giving up four inches in reach (75 to 79), which should be the key.

Final prediction: Phil Davis outpoints Newton for a close unanimous decision

In the unlikely event that I've picked both of these brackets correctly, I'll also pick Davis to decision Lawal.

155 lbs.: Josh Thomson (20-8, 1 NC) vs. Mike Bronzoulis (18-8-1)

This is a fight where Bellator newcomer Thomson has the chance to prove himself to an audience that may be skeptical about his prospects after his Tony Ferguson fight. Despite an unsuccessful UFC run (including a couple of controversial split decisions), it's important to note that Thomson is the former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion, coming from a weight class that acquitted itself very well once the UFC and Strikeforce rosters merged together.

Bronzoulis and Thomson are close in age and experience, and seemingly equal in the win-loss department, but Thomson's record comes against a higher level of competition compared to Bronzoulis. "The Greek" is a very charismatic and likable fighter, but when you delve into his record there are Swiss cheese-sized holes to his losses. If you've followed for Thomson for any amount of time, it's hard to imagine him losing to the guys Bronzoulis has lost to -- Jorge Patino, Gerald Harris, Joe "Diesel" Riggs and so forth. A superior striker like Thomson would "Nate Diaz" those guys.

There's only one question to ask then: At almost 37 years old, how badly does Thomson still want it?

Final prediction: Josh Thomson defeats Mike Bronzoulis via second round technical knockout

That's a wrap! will deliver live coverage of Bellator 142: "Dynamite 1" later tonight (Sat., Sept. 19, 2015), with kickboxing and MMA coverage throughout the evening followed by Spike TV fights at 9 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

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