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Bellator 213 predictions, preview for ‘Macfarlane vs Letourneau’ on DAZN

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Ilima-Lei Macfarlane
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane
Bellator MMA

Bellator 213: “Macfarlane vs. Letourneau” airs tomorrow night (Sat., Dec. 15, 2018) from Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. The main event will see an undefeated champion put her Flyweight title on the line, but she’s only one of THREE undefeated fighters on this card.

Let’s break it down:

125 lbs.: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (8-0) vs. Valerie Letourneau (10-6)

There’s little question that the entire Flyweight division was built around the Hawaiian born Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, and on Saturday night she can return home and reign triumphant in front of a roaring partisan crowd. Valerie Letourneau is not here just to be a footnote to Macfarlane’s story though. Coming off her second straight win on the last card Macfarlane headlined, the former UFC Strawweight contender continued to show why she should have been fighting at Flyweight the entire time. Letourneau stands 5’7” with a lengthy 68.5” reach for the weight class, and her striking makes her “Trouble” for anyone at Flyweight.

Macfarlane routinely gives up the size advantage in her fights though. The diminutive “Iliminator” stands 5’4” with a 66.5” reach, so she’s fairly close in range but will give up even more height than it reads on paper, as Letourneau stands up very tall with her opponents. That’s not bad news though since Macfarlane is a 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Eddie Bravo who has won 62% of her fights (five out of eight) by submission. The closer she is to your knees the worse it gets for you as she’ll take you down for an armbar or sink in that rear naked choke. Even though Letourneau has never been submitted in a fight, there’s always a first time for everything.

Final prediction: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane submits Valerie Letourneau in round two

185 lbs.: Lyoto Machida (24-8) vs. Rafael Carvalho (15-2)

A home state world title defense obviously has to be the main event, but the Bellator MMA debut of Lyoto Machida is equal in significance and should draw many casual observers to this card. “The Dragon” is both a former UFC Light Heavyweight champion and a former Middleweight contender, having finished his WME-IMG tenure with a close win over Eryk Anders and a front kick that destroyed Vitor Belfort in his final fight. A third straight win would make him an immediate contender in a division that is suddenly rich with options.

Former champion Rafael Carvalho would love to make a statement against his fellow Brazilian and get right back in line to reclaim his crown. After a one-sided humiliation by Gegard Mousasi, there’s a lot for Carvalho to prove by fighting a fellow former champion. The numbers are actually fairly good for Carvalho. He stands 6’3” with a very large 78” wingspan, while Machida is 6’1” with only a 74” reach. The thing that has always benefited Machida when the numbers don’t lie is his unorthodox striking techniques that come from a karate based background. He lulls opponents into a false sense of security and then rushes forward with an unexpected and almost always devastating strike. Carvalho has only been knocked out once (by Mousasi) but Machida will test that chin.

Final prediction: Lyoto Machida defeats Rafael Carvalho by unanimous decision

170 lbs: Neiman Gracie (8-0) vs. Ed Ruth (6-0)

Coming off his seventh submission in eight fights, there can be little doubt about what Neiman Gracie wants to do and how he wants to do it. The fourth generation Gracie (nephew to Renzo Gracie) has mowed through one foe after another and done it all under the bright lights, starting with World Series of Fighting and quickly transitioning to Bellator. At 6’0” tall with a 73” reach it’s not his range or strikes that opponents worry about - it’s his shoots, leg trips, throws and takedowns. If you go to the mat with him your night is over.

Ed Ruth is potentially the man to break the dominant streak Gracie is on because he will not fear the canvas. The three time NCAA champion for Penn State is the only Nittany Lion that “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis will crow is better than him, and he’s taken his collegiate excellence and used it to run up a thus far flawless MMA career. What’s scary is that Ruth has not even needed to out-wrestler opponents to do it, scoring knockouts in 83% (five out of six) of his bouts. He gives up a small amount of height at 5’11” but his 77” reach presents Gracie with a problem jiu-jitsu alone can’t solve, and unlike his other opponents Ruth has the tools to work his way out of a takedown back to his feet. This should be a war.

Final prediction: Ed Ruth defeats Neiman Gracie via split decision

205 lbs.: Muhammed Lawal (21-7, 1 NC) vs. Liam McGeary (12-3)

Both fighters have seen better days in this division. McGeary has lost three out of his last four bouts and in the one fight he did win he got rocked under 20 seconds in. The once undefeated giant of the division (6’6” with 81” reach) has become ripe pickings for any 205er looking for a win. After an impressive seven fight win streak over a two year span that included winning a Heavyweight Grand Prix in Japan, “King Mo” Lawal has lost three of his last five including a quick and vicious knockout in the opening round of Bellator’s own Grand Prix.

Even though Lawal publicly declared he would return to Middleweight after that humbling loss, here he is again fighting at Light Heavyweight, which at least is a smarter decision than continuing to fight Heavyweights. Nevertheless there is a massive size disparity here given Lawal just barely cracks six foot, although he does have an impressive 79” wingspan. It’s not going to be contested standing though. Lawal is going to do what he almost always does when he fights bigger, heavier opponents (such as Cheick Kongo) and default to his wrestling background. Since McGeary has shown zero AND I MEAN ZERO ability to stop a takedown Lawal would be utterly foolish not to go for it even if it means taking a knee. The bigger they are the harder they fall.

Final prediction: Muhammed Lawal wins a unanimous decision

155 lbs.: Kona Oliveira (1-0) vs. Nainoa Dung (1-0)

With equally minuscule pro fighting records between these two Lightweights the only discernible difference is size, and if the numbers aren’t lying to me Oliveira is a massive 6’1” and 185 lbs. I’m not even sure that should be legal against the young 19 year old Dung but his last name may wind up being more apt than he intended.

Final prediction: Kona Oliveira makes a literal Dung heap in under a minute

That’s a wrap! will deliver coverage of Bellator 213 tomorrow with DAZN fights starting 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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