The ball keeps rolling on Bellator’s ninth season this Friday, as Bellator 101 (which is the organization’s actual 100th event, FYI) heads to Portland, Oregon for the opening round of the Lightweight tournament, and a Bantamweight tournament main event as well.
The Lightweight tournament features some faces who will be familiar to the Spike TV MMA crowd, as both Marcus Davis and Rich Clementi were featured on The Ultimate Fighter during their UFC stints. Those two veterans are in tough against Alexander Sarnavskiy and Ricardo Tirloni, respectively. Another UFC veteran, John Alessio, takes on highly touted prospect Will Brooks, and rounding out the opening round, last season’s runner-up, Saad Awad takes on yet another TUF vet in Martin Stapleton.
Today, MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for the Bellator 101 main card at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Check them out below:
Bantamweight Tournament Opening Round Fight
Joe Warren -505 Nick Kirk +335
Lightweight Tournament Opening Round Fights
Alexander Sarnavskiy -350 Marcus Davis +250
Will Brooks -280 John Alessio +200
Saad Awad -280 Martin Stapleton +200
Ricardo Tirloni -190 Rich Clementi +150
Ryan Healy +185 Marcin Held -265
Andy Uhrich +260 Nathan Coy -380
Brad’s Analysis: So far in season 9 we’ve seen a tournament with some well-matched fights (Featherweight), one with some very wide lines (Welterweight), and the theme in this tournament is prospect versus veteran. It seems like Bellator under Viacom’s direction is looking to cash in on some of the old UFC name power, given all the UFC and Spike TV connections on recent cards.
When looking at these fights, I just don’t think that is going to work. I don’t think Marcus Davis has any method to victory against Alexander Sarnavskiy, as he is inferior both physically and skill-wise. The one worry about ‘Tiger’ is his fight IQ, as the same things I just mentioned could have been said about his recent loss to Rich Clementi as well.
John Alessio hasn’t shown much spark in his recent fights, especially when it comes to fighters who are able to take him down and set up shop in top position. Brooks has that ability, and I think he’ll cruise to a decision against a fighter who is less dangerous than men he’s already beaten, like Ricardo Tirloni and Satoru Kitaoka.
The one man Brooks has been unable to defeat thus far, Saad Awad is back in action and looks set to find success against Martin Stapleton, although if the bout goes deep, Awad’s cardio has been a concern in the past.
Finally, Rich Clementi looks to advance in another Lightweight tournament, but his reliance on his submission game to win fights of late is going to make that very difficult against a skilled grappler like Ricardo Tirloni. Tirloni under 2-to-1 is definitely an enticing line to me for parlays, and potentially more if money comes in on the dog.
Keep an eye out for Bellator prelim lines that will be coming out later this week.
Brad began following MMA closely in 2004, and started writing about the sport in 2008. Since then he has contributed to websites like Sportsnet.ca, but now primarily writes and edits for MMAOddsbreaker.com. You can also follow Brad’s personal MMA bets on his website.