Bellator 204 takes place Friday, August 17 at Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The offshore sportsbooks recently released the opening odds for the main card, and here they are.
Bellator 204 Opening Odds
Darrion Caldwell -210
Noad Lahat +160
James Gallagher -230
Ricky Bandejas +170
Logan Storley -280
AJ Matthews +200
Tywan Claxton -350
Cris Lencioni +250
And here are my initial reactions to these odds:
– In the main event it’s hard not to favor Caldwell over Lahat even with him moving up a weight class. Caldwell (11-1) is on a three-fight win streak and pretty much cleaned out the bantamweight division which is why he is moving up in weight. Lahat (12-3) is 3-1 overall in Bellator but has beaten some pretty mediocre competition and overall just hasn’t impressed me. I just feel like Caldwell is a way better fighter and even moving up in weight he should be able to dominate Lahat in this matchup. He was already a huge bantamweight and I don’t feel like he’ll be undersized as a featherweight. He’s a potential future two-division Bellator champion.
– The Gallagher vs. Bandejas fight is one of the best fights on the card. Gallagher (7-0) is one of the Bellator’s top prospects. He’s 4-0 so far in Bellator and in his last fight he submitted Chinzo Machida. However, that fight was over a year ago and he will be moving down a weight class for this bout so there’s lot of question marks here. Bandejas (10-1) is on a five-fight win streak and defeated veteran Nick Mamalis in his last fight. He also holds a notable win over Merab Dvalishvili from earlier in his career and his lone loss came against UFC veteran Nick Pace. As far as upsets go, this is probably the one fight on the card where I can see it happening. I think you have to fade Gallagher coming off the layoff and take the plus money on Bandejas here. As talented as Gallagher is, Bandejas has actually fought and beaten a higher level of competition so this is a good opportunity to fade the guy with hype and take the underrated guy who is a bit more of an unknown.
– Another fight that should be a mismatch sees Storley take on Matthews. Storley (8-0) is an incredible prospect with a tremendous wrestling pedigree. He’s undefeated in MMA and has a 3-0 record so far in Bellator. Matthews (9-7) beat Kendall Grove by split decision in his last fight but prior to that had lost four straight fights. I just don’t see Matthews being on the same level as Storley and I fully expect him to utilize his takedowns to get this fight to the groud and grind out a decision.
– Another lopsided fight sees Claxton take on Lencioni. Claxton (2-0) has won his first two fights in Bellator by knockout. Lencioni (4-1) is coming off his first career loss and overall has just a 1-1 record in Bellator. These are two prospects without too much experience so it might not be smart to lay so much juice on an unproven fighter like Claxton, but he should win the fight.