Bellator 97 Bet: Anthony Leone (-230) vs Frank Baca (+170)

Bantamweight bout: Anthony Leone (-230) vs Frank Baca (+170) Fight Breakdown: The Bellator 97 card features a preliminary bout between Anthony Leone and Frank Baca in the opening round of the Bellator Summer Series bantamweight championship tournament. Leone is currently the favorite at -230 ($230 to win $100) while Baca is the underdog at +170 ($100 to win $170) at Several Bookmakerss. Anthony Leone (12-5 MMA, 2-0 Bellator) will be fighting for the third time in Bellator, coming off two Split Decision wins over Claudio Ledesma and former Bellator Bantamweight Champion Zach Makovsky. He is undefeated (3-0) since dropping down from featherweight to the bantamweight division over a year ago. Leone is stepping into enemy territory when he faces New Mexico’s Frank Baca and I believe he’s prepared to go to war. Leone is an aggressive fighter who likes to dictate the pace and control where the fight goes. He’s strong and effective with his striking but does not have knockout power. Anthony Leon has remarkable submission defense, despite having two submission losses on his record. The losses came at the hands of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black-belt Brylan Van Artsdalen and current UFC interim Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao, also a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black-belt. Leone also has good takedown defense, and when he does get taken down, he’s very hard to keep down; he springs back to his feet almost immediately. Leone compliments his takedown defense with noticeable offensive wrestling, as he’s gotten the takedown on the majority of his attempts. Frank Baca (16-2 MMA, 0-0 Bellator) makes his Bellator debut carrying with him a two-fight win streak. Baca is fighting in his home state of New Mexico for the first time in his professional mixed martial arts career. He has good footwork and notable striking defense. Frank Baca’s jab is one of his favorite weapons in his arsenal. Some might question his chin; he’s been dropped several times, though never knocked out. He recovers good and fast, getting right back into the fight. Baca is tough and fights with a lot of heart. He will give it his all for the entirety of this three round bout. Frank Baca lives in Albequerque and does not train at Jackson’s MMA… And here I sit in my bubble of befuddlement, scratching my head, wondering why… Fight Prediction: I think Anthony Leone is the superior fighter here; he is better than Frank Baca everywhere. Leone should have the upper-hand, regardless of where the fight goes. He will use his size advantage and aggression to bully Baca for three rounds en route to a Unanimous Decision victory. Gabe’s Pick: Anthony Leone by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Anthony Leone -230

Written by Gabe Killian

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