Bellator 105: Saad Awad (+145) vs “Ill” Will Brooks (-165)

Will BrooksBellator 105 Date: October 25, 2013 Arena: Santa Ana Star Center City: Rio Ranch, New Mexico Lightweight bout: Saad Awad (+145) vs “Ill” Will Brooks (-165) Fight Breakdown: The main event for Bellator 105 will be a rematch between Saad Awad and Will Brooks in a lightweight tournament semifinal bout. Awad entered the first bout as a big underdog and scored the upset, so this time around the odds makers have given him more respect, making him only a small underdog at +145 ($100 to win $145), while Brooks remains the favorite, only this time at a much lower line of -165 ($165 to win $100) at Several Bookmakerss. SAAD AWAD (15-5 MMA, 3-2 Bellator) is coming off a first round rear-naked choke submission victory over Martin Stapleton at Bellator 101 just one month ago. He now looks to prove that his initial victory over Will Brooks at Bellator 91 eight months ago was not a fluke, and he will likely look to produce similar results. He likes to blitz opponents early and find the finish as soon as possible. The fact that 13 of his 15 professional mixed martial arts career victories have come by way of finish and all of them in the very first round goes a long way prove that sentiment. Six of them have been knockouts, and seven have been submission finishes. Awad is a good striker, both offensively and defensively. His striking defense is also good, though he does not have a very good chin. He has a decent sprawl and takedown defense. Like most one-round fighters, he does not have the greatest conditioning, and will be at a disadvantage in that department as he heads into this rematch. He has a solid ground game, both from top and bottom positions. He works reversals well and makes excellent transitions. He likes to work a powerful ground and pound attack while simultaneously looking for submission opportunities. His go-to’s are the rear naked choke and the guillotine, except he’s only managed to secure one victory by guillotine, while earning four via RNC. “ILL” WILL BROOKS (11-1 MMA, 3-1 Bellator) is coming off a very impressive performance against John Alessio at Bellator 101 just one month ago. He dominated the veteran en route to a unanimous decision victory, reaching the semifinal round of the lightweight tournament, where he looks to seek revenge in a rematch against Awad, who knocked him out in their initial meeting which handed him the first and only loss in his professional mixed martial arts career. A former high school football star whose career was cut short due to a knee injury, Brooks is a very explosive athlete. He loves to strike and his skills improve fight to fight. He is a wrestler who has the ability to knock you out with a flashy headkick. He is great on the ground, being quite a talented wrestler. He completely dominates opponents with his powerful offensive wrestling, not allowing them to get anything off in the fight. Brooks has a strong top game and works a vicious ground and pound attack. Training out of American Top Team in Coconut Creek, F.L., Brooks has good conditioning and will be able to go the distance against Awad without gassing. Fight Prediction: I think this rematch will see Brooks displaying his superior wrestling and being quite dominant with it. Gabe’s Pick: Will Brooks by Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Will Brooks -165 for a big value play. I think getting him at anything better than -280 is a big steal. Note: I had a big value play on Awad as a big dog in their initial match-up. This time around, thanks to the result of the first fight, the value is with Brooks. He is the superior athlete and fighter, and unlike last time, he is mentally focused heading into this bout. Let’s take the value here and collect.

Written by Gabe Killian

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