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Bellator 150 predictions, preview for 'Kongo vs Quieroz'-led fights on Spike TV

Bellator MMA

Bellator MMA comes to Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Kan., this Friday night (Feb. 26, 2016) with Bellator 150: "Kongo vs. Quieroz," which will air live on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET.

Originally, Bantamweight champion Marcos Galvao and former champion Eduardo Dantas were set to headline this event. However, Galvao was forced to withdraw from the bout earlier today because of a week-long illness; therefore, the long-awaited rematch between Galvao vs. Dantas will have to wait a little longer.

Bellator MMA's back-up plan kicked in and your main event for Feb. 26 is a war between two tall titans of the Heavyweight division - Cheick Kongo and Vinicius "Spartan" Quieroz.

Before the breakdown of the Bellator 150 Spike TV-televised main card begins, I'd like to remind the readers they are welcome to participate with their own predictions in the comments section below.

Here we go:

265 lbs.: Cheick Kongo (23-10-2) vs. Vinicius Queiroz (8-3)

Bellator MMA's Heavyweight division has more questions than answers right now. The champion, Vitaly Minakov, hasn't defended his title in two years, which is when he went the distance with Kongo at Bellator 115. Kongo would theoretically be in line for a rematch with his fourth win in five fights, if one simply ignores/overlooks his loss to "Moneyweight" King Mo at Bellator 134. It's a weight class with a lot of contenders and no champion to face, though, as Minakov seems more interested in appearing on fights in his native Russia that are streamed on UFC Fight Pass.

As I said, there are more questions than answer in this weight class, but a third straight win for "Spartan" Queiroz might sort out a few things. Since leaving UFC he has won 75 percent of his Bellator fights, his sole loss a technical knockout against former champion Alexander Volkov. Lavar "Big" Johnson is probably still trying to get the number of the bus that ran him over, and the highly touted Ewerton Teixeira looked completely overmatched when Queiroz took him to the ground. Quite frankly "Spartan" humbled him ... the old country way.

Kongo has an unfair reputation as a smothering fighter who looks to win on points given he wins little more than 50 percent of his fights by stoppage (12 out of 23) and just over 25 percent via decision (seven out of 23). He's tall (6'4") and lanky (82" reach) and opponents can and will find their chins touched. The intriguing thing is that "Spartan" is even taller -- three inches taller -- and he's also eight years his junior at only 32. The big question mark for Queiroz is if only having two fights in a three-year span will hurt him. Kongo may be older, but he's more active, and he wants one more crack at the title.

Someone find a way to get Minakov back to the United States so we can settle this issue once and for all.

Final prediction: Vinicius Quieroz via split decision

155 lbs.: David Rickels (16-4, 1 NC) vs. Bobby Cooper (12-5)

"The Caveman" David Rickels was looking for redemption when he faced Michael Chandler at Bellator 145. He lasted a round longer than their first encounter, but sometimes a fighter just has your number. And when it comes to Rickels it's clear Chandler has his. That said, there's very little shame in Rickels game given he's only lost four fights half of those losses are to Chandler. Rickels epitomizes "live by the sword, die by the sword" in Bellator MMA and is a fan favorite for his over-the-top ring entrances and explosive finishes.

Bobby Cooper seems hand picked to give "Caveman" fans what they want. Rickels lives a short distance away from the Kansas Star Casino, and while the whole town of Derby might not fit in the venue (population 22,000), he'll easily get one of the loudest pops of the night. Cooper picked up a slightly surprising split decision win over Pablo Villaseca at Bellator 139, but is incredibly inconsistent, having lost by the same razor thin margin to Andy Uhrich his previous fight. Andy Uhrich was promptly fed to the wolves and if you don't see that's what's happening here you're kidding yourself.

Final prediction: David Rickels finishes Bobby Cooper in the first round

185 lbs.: Kendall Grove (22-15, 1 NC) vs. Francisco France (13-3-1)

This is a little less of a one-sided fight than the previous affair. "Da Spyder" Kendall Grove showed off some improved striking technique against "Mexicutioner" Joey Beltran at Bellator 143, but still lacks the consistency one would expect of a The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winner. He seems to trade a win and a loss in every other fight, or occasionally two and two, but he always stays on the sunny side of just over .500. Meanwhile, "Kiko" France hasn't lost a fight since 2012 (one draw, six wins), including his Bellator 146 debut.

If the changes Grove professed he made after beating Beltran are real they'll show in this fight. It's hard to tell what that fight proved since Beltran is himself much like Grove, staying just over .500 while bouncing in and out of different organizations. The intriguing thing is that nearly 100 percent of France's wins are by submission (12 out of 13) and trying to tap out the black belt Grove is notoriously difficult -- only three men have done it in nearly 40 fights. If you enjoy Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournaments this may be for you. Then again, Grove may think he can stand and bang, get swept by France, and find an arm under his chin before he has a chance to defend. Their age is the same but Grove's mileage is a big factor.

Final prediction: Francisco France via a very close decision

145 lbs.: Gaston Reyno (5-0) vs. Chuka Willis (6-2)

A change in the Bellator 150 line-up found this fight promoted to television and both men will certainly look to take advantage of the opportunity. Reyno is a Uruguayan prospect who has never been past round one in a pro bout with two wins by technical knockout and three submissions. As fate would have it, Reyno's impressive Bellator debut was also on a card headlined by Cheick Kongo. Willis may best be remembered for being kneed and elbowed to death by Hakeem Dawodu. Only three of six wins are by technical knockout, but that includes his current two-fight win streak. His best bet is to draw Reyno into deep waters and try to get a decision but I'm betting this looks a lot like the Dawodu fight.

Final prediction: Gaston Reyno picks up another first round technical knockout

125 lbs.: Lena Ovchynnikova (10-3) vs. Rebecca Ruth (5-1)

I'd like to tell you both fighters are Invicta FC veterans who were looking to break out big on the Bellator stage -- but I can't do that. Most of Ruth's career has been in Shamrock FC and most of Ovchynnikova's has been in the Ukraine or India. Ovchynnikova seems to be talented but frustrated in MMA, losing three of her last five, having no trouble picking up world titles in kickboxing over the same span.

The more telling fact may be that Ruth's one career loss is to the underrated Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger, who gave Tecia Torres a tough test at UFC 194. Ruth has finished opponents by technical knockout in every other fight. Standing with a world champion kickboxer could either be her biggest mistake or her grandest triumph, but the smart game plan would be to take Ovchynnikova to the ground and add on to her mounting pile of MMA frustrations -- and that's what I expect.

Final prediction: Rebecca Ruth via decision

That's a wrap! will deliver live coverage of Bellator 150: "Kongo vs. Quieroz" this Friday night, with real-time results 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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