Bellator 98 Date: September 4, 2013 Arena: Mohegan Sun Arena City: Uncasville, Connecticutl Bantamweight bout: Joe Warren (-1000) vs Nick Kirk (+650) Fight Breakdown: Bellator 98 features a main card match-up between Joe Warren and Nick Kirk in the opening round of the promotion’s Bantamweight tournament. Warren is currently the very heavy favorite at -1000 (bet $1,000 to win $100), while the return on the underdog Kirk is +650 (bet $100 to win $650) at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. JOE WARREN (8-3 MMA, 6-2 Bellator) is stepping back inside the Bellator cage following a decision win ten months ago and a stint as coach on the Spike TV reality series ‘Fight Master’. Joe Warren is a extremely talented Greco-Roman wrestler who can take opponents down at will. He loves going for the double leg takedown and nearly always gets it. Warren is a real grinder. He likes to take opponents down using his famous double-leg and beat them up on the mat. On the feet, it’s no secret that he has one move that he loves to use: his overhand right. It is without a doubt his favorite punch to throw and he is always looking to land it. While he is capable of throwing heavy hands, Joe Warren’s striking defense is nothing to write home about. On top of that, he does not have a good chin. Against a talented striker, the fight could always prove to be dangerous for Warren, if he so chooses to stand and trade for too long. Splitting training time between Team Quest and Team Rhino Sports, the 36 year old Joe Warren will be well conditioned going into this bout, and he will be looking to put together a win streak as he works his up through the tournament for a crack at the 135 gold. NICK KIRK (10-2 MMA, 0-2 Bellator) will be stepping into the Bellator cage for the third time and will be looking for his first win inside the promotion. Ranked the number one Bantamweight in Minnesota, Nick Kirk likes to strike until he starts getting hit more often than he’d like due to his poor striking defense, at which point he switches things up and goes for takedowns. There really isn’t much tape to study on him, but Nick Kirk is well-conditioned, and is generally a decent fighter, but I don’t believe he is Bellator-caliber. The fact that his only two career losses have come inside the Bellator cage almost assures it, but he was never finished, put on good fights, and went the distance both times, one of them being a Split Decision. I think Nick Kirk’s best and practically only chance at a victory in this bout would be to land a knockout punch, as Joe Warren does not have a good chin, and has recently suffered two brutal knockout losses, and likely being in the later stages of his professional mixed martial arts career. Fight Prediction: At first Warren will look to put Kirk away with the over-hand right, but after Kirk’s chin holds up, Warren will look to take him down and beat him up, in style. Gabe’s Pick: Joe Warren by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Parlay Joe Warren -1000 with Alexander Schlemenko -600 for a very fair line of -353.