While the UFC remains on its short hiatus, the weekend is not lost for those interested in MMA betting. LFA 11 will air on AXS TV this Friday night (May 5, 2017), and Cage Warriors 83 can be seen on UFC Fight Pass Saturday afternoon (May 6, 2017). The Cage Warriors card emanates from Newport, Wales, and it caters to the locals nicely, as the organization has become so adept at doing. Lewis Long (14-4) should get a nice boost from the hometown crowd as he battles with UFC veteran Che Mills (16-9) for position in the organization’s welterweight division.
After bouncing between lightweight and welterweight early in his career, Long decided to make 170 his home in 2014. Since then, he has gone 7-1, with the lone defeat coming at the hands of UFC veteran Andreas Stahl. Each of those seven victories has been by stoppage as well (five submissions and two TKOs). Mills has not seen the same type of success recently, dropping four of five bouts since being released by the UFC in 2013 and suffering stoppage losses on all four occasions. Mills still presents a danger on the feet, but has struggled deep in fights and on the mat, two things Long will look to take advantage of here.
The competitors in the co-main event seem to be in a more similar place in respect to their form. Soren Bak (8-1) has spent his entire cage in Scandinavian promotions like Cage, European MMA, and most recently EuroFC. It was in that last promotion that he suffered his first career defeat, and he’ll be looking to rebound nicely in the biggest exposure the 24-year-old has yet receive in his MMA career. He’ll be facing a much older opponent in Scot Clist (11-3), but not necessarily a vastly more experienced one. Clist used his sharp striking to put together a four-fight win streak recently, but like Bak, he also suffered a loss in his most recent outing. A win will be important to establish either fighter in the Cage Warriors lightweight division.
Another Welshman finds himself on the main card, as undefeated bantamweight Josh Reed (6-0) hopes to keep his record unblemished against Gavin Kelly (7-3). Reed holds a win over their common opponent Ben Rees while Kelly suffered the first loss of his career against the same opponent. Will those results portend a seventh victory for Reed here, or will Kelly spoil the party for the home fans?
Finally, former Cage Warriors title challenger Mohsen Bahari (9-3) will look to work his way back to a title shot after competing just once in both 2015 and 2016. A more active 2017 could lead to an eventual shot against welterweight champion Karl Amoussou, and Bahari’s well-rounded style — he holds three wins each by TKO, Submission, and Decision — can give anyone in Cage Warriors some problems. His opponent will be Cage Warriors debutante Giovanni Melillo (6-1). Speaking of Amoussou, the Italian’s lone career loss came to the champion on a Venator card last year, however, two wins since that have earned him an invite to Cage Warriors.
MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting odds for Cage Warriors 83 today (May 4, 2017) at Several Bookmakers. Check them out below…
|Lewis Long -165|
|Che Mills +125|
|Soren Bak -150|
|Scott Clist +110|
|Josh Reed -215|
|Gavin Kelly +165|
|Mohsen Bahari -265|
|Giovanni Melillo +185|
Brad’s Analysis: Recent Cage Warriors cards have seen underdogs have a tremendous amount of success. But looking at these matchups, Clist is the only one who I might pick outright. Mills certainly has a shot early against Long — who has taken plenty of damage in previous fights — but at this point the book on Mills is well-known, he’s a dangerous striker, but fades and offers virtually nothing on the mat. Long has proven proficient at navigating those early waters and eventually finding his way to his opponent’s back, something that will likely result in the end of this bout, especially if it happens in the second or third round.
Clist has the edge on the feet against Bak, but he has to worry about the Dane’s ground game. Bak has five career submissions, and Clist struggled against Martin Svensson in his last outing. I think Clist can make his hands work here, but trusting him to shore up some of the gaps in his game at 38 years old is a tricky enough proposition that I’ll hold out for something +150 or higher to make a play.
Young fighters in the UK have a habit of getting into grappling matches. It could be the lack of defensive wrestling in the region, or simply that there are so many submission-based fighters competing, but there are plenty of fighters like Kelly who have multiple submission wins and losses on the records. I expect Reed to add another submission loss, as he simply looks to be a superior grappler in every phase, and Kelly will likely oblige him on the mat.
Bahari has only run into struggles against the upper echelon of European fighters, and Melillo has never shown himself to be on that level. Karl Amoussou is the only really quality fighter he’s faced, and he didn’t make it out of the first round there. Bahari will probably have many advantages in this fight, but the biggest is on the ground, where his wrestling should secure him top position, and he can work his way towards a submission, which I expect him to get.
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