Bellator Salute The Troops takes place Friday, December 20 at Neil S. Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii. The offshore sportsbooks recently opened up the betting odds for the main card, and here they are.
Bellator Salute The Troops Opening Odds
Josh Barnett -245
Ronny Markes +195
Erik Perez -350
Toby Misech +275
Alejandra Lara -169
Veta Arteaga +139
Tywan Claxton -700
Braydon Akeo +500
Joey Davis -900
Chris Cisneros +500
And here are my initial thoughts on the Bellator Salute The Troops Opening Odds:
- The main event certainly seems like a matchup booked with the desire to get Barnett a win. Even though Barnett is 42 and hasn’t fought since 2016, he is still one of the most accomplished heavyweight MMA fighters of all time. He’s fought the best heavyweights in the world for over 20 years and even at this stage of his career is still one of the better heavyweights in Bellator. Markes, meanwhile, flamed out of both the UFC and PFL. He constantly missed weight in PFL and was very inconsistent with his performances there. At one point, Markes was a highly-touted middleweight prospect. Now, though, he’s a guy fighting at heavyweight because he can’t make any other weight class. Barnett should arguably be an even bigger favorite here, as I expect him to dominate the matchup and get his hand raised.
- The co-main event also looks like a fight designed to get Perez a victory in his Bellator debut. Even though Perez hasn’t fought in over a year, he enters his Bellator debut on a five-fight win streak. He’s a guy the UFC should have never cut, and this will likely wind up as a very nice signing for Bellator. Misech, meanwhile, has some nice wins on the regional scene but hasn’t fared too well in Bellator so far. Look for Perez to really impress in this showcase fight.
- In the women’s flyweight division, we have a more even matchup between two fighters in a similar spot in Bellator’s 125lbs weight class. They are both good enough to beat the mid-tier of the division, but not good enough to beat the elite. This one could go either way and considering how close it is, it’s probably a dog-or-pass situation.
- Even though he lost to Emmanuel Sanchez in his last fight, I still view Claxton as one of the best featherweight prospects in Bellator and this appears to be a good matchup for him to get back on track with. Akeo only has one pro fight and going up against a guy who has been racking up solid fight experience in Bellator in the form of Claxton, you have to go with the fighter who is the more proven commodity here.
- And finally, we have another top prospect fighting in the form of Davis, who looks like a future welterweight contender in Bellator. Davis is just 25 and has already racked up all six of his pro wins in Bellator, including four knockouts. Cisneros is 39 and has lost his last three fights in a row and seems to be the guy Bellator brings in to lose to its prospects. Look for Davis to score another finish here.