While Bellator 167 won’t have a title on the line like the card the night prior, it will be headlined by another important match in the promotion’s bantamweight division. Back in July, Joe Taimanglo handed impressive prospect Darrion Caldwell his first ever MMA loss. Down two rounds on the scorecards, Taimanglo secured a tight guillotine immediately when Caldwell shot to begin the third forcing a tap just nine seconds into the round. Caldwell closed as a massive -1375 favorite (bet $1,375 to win $100) at Several Bookmakers sportsbook, with Taimanglo a +900 underdog (bet $100 to win $900). The win was the biggest of Taimanglo’s career, and the second-largest upset of the year by the odds. Now, four months later, Caldwell has a chance at redemption. He had dominated all of his previous opponents, showing an excellent mix of his NCAA-championship caliber wrestling, and a slick ground game fine tuned for MMA. He was even looking good against Taimanglo prior to getting caught and could have very likely been in the running for a title shot with a win. That could still be on the table if he gets past Taimanglo in convincing fashion, so both men will have their eyes fixed on Friday’s Bellator 166 main event. Bellator 167 also features a featherweight bout between Justin Lawrence and John Teixeira. Lawrence has gone 5-1 since being released from the UFC while Teixeira brings an eight-fight winning streak into this bout. Both of these men are used to split decisions in Bellator, as Lawrence lost one to Emmanuel Sanchez, while all three of Teixeira’s wins have come via that method. The main card is rounded out by a women’s flyweight bout between Ilima-Lei Macfarlane and Emily Ducote, and rising welterweight prospect Andre Fialho will face his first big step up in competition against Chidi Njokuani. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting odds for Bellator 167 today at Several Bookmakers. Take a look: ——————– Bellator 167: Taimanglo vs. Caldwell 2 DECEMBER 3, 2016 WinStar World Casino & Resort | Thackerville, Oklahoma MAIN CARD (Spike TV, 9pm ET) Joe Taimanglo +435 Darrion Caldwell -705 Over 2.5 -105 Under 2.5 -135 – John Teixeira -105 Justin Lawrence -135 Over 2.5 -210 Under 2.5 +160 – Emily Ducote +210 Ilima MacFarlane -290 Over 2.5 -190 Under 2.5 +150 – Andre Fialho +135 Chidi Njokuani -175 Over 1.5 -105 Under 1.5 -135 – ——————– Brad’s Analysis: Caldwell showed himself to be a superior fighter to Taimanglo, especially early on in their first meeting, and I think he carries that through to this bout. I wouldn’t be surprised if Caldwell comes out with a point to prove and scores a quick stoppage. However, even if that doesn’t happen, I would be shocked if Taimanglo manages to pull off another upset. Caldwell made a careless mistake, and he seems like the type to learn from that rather than continuing to get stuck in bad habits like other prospects. There is rarely much to remember about Teixeira fights. That could account for him being involved in so many split decisions, as little of consequence tends to happen during his fights. Still, he does enough to pull out victories in most cases. I lean towards Lawrence here, however. He’s a slightly bigger fighter with a solid wrestling game who shouldn’t find himself in too many 50-50 positions where Teixeira can edge the judges his way. Lawrence isn’t the most reliable fighter himself, but at his best he’s far and away the most skilled fighter Teixeira has faced. Both Macfarlane and Ducote rely primarily on their grappling games, but I’ve been more impressed out of what I’ve seen from Macfarlane thus far. She’s favored too highly in this spot however, as Ducote has some slick skills and could potentially outwork Macfarlane if this fight goes deep. The Hawaiian should pick up another win to stay undefeated, but it’s not something I want to bet. Still just 27, Njokuani is closing in on a decade as a pro fighter, and he’s made massive improvements in his game during that time. Once just a Muay Thai striker who could be exploited in several areas, he has rounded out his game to include very good takedown defense and solid defensive grappling. Neither will likely come into play against Fialho, who comes out looking to remove his opponent’s head from the opening bell. If Fialho can navigate Njokuani’s length to get inside, he’ll land shots on the taller fighter and potentially score a knockout. However, if this turns into a ranged striking battle, Njokuani has a huge edge. I think that Fialho is still young and reckless enough to charge through Njokuani’s outside game and make this a dirty fight that favors him. As a decent underdog he could be worth a look, or if props are released for this fight, his inside the distance line will be interesting.