Bellator 105 Main Card Preview for ‘Awad vs Brooks 2’ in Albuquerque

Bellator 105Bellator rolls on as we take a trip down south to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the semifinals of the season nine lightweight tournament will continue with a few feature fights to help round out the card before the inaugural Bellator PPV. In the main event, we have season eight tournament finalist Saad Awad (15-5) taking on a man he knocked out in 43 seconds back at Bellator 91, Will Brooks (11-1). Yes, that sole loss belongs as a notch on Awad’s belt, and that fight was also in New Mexico, for what it’s worth. Awad, as you could expect from his explosive strikes upside Brooks’ skull 10 months ago, is explosive in his violence. Brooks isn’t necessarily someone who can’t finish either, but Awad is a whole different animal. Brooks is a promising 27-year-old, but he’s only spent a few, good, years in the sport, and Awad has been around and has learned from his losses. Dave Rickels defeated him in the finals of the season eight lightweight tournament and he’s come back with a vengeance, finishing Martin Stapleton at Bellator 101 via nasty rear naked choke. This could go exactly how it did before, with Awad overwhelming Brooks from the start, or Brooks can try to make it an ugly fight against the cage. Considering Awad is dangerous from anywhere, with his strikes or via submission, this should be an uphill battle for Brooks once again. In the next Bellator season nine lightweight semifinal matchup, we have Ricardo Tirloni (16-4) fighting one of those Bellator-scouted Russians™ in the scary Alexander Sarnavskiy (24-1). Tirloni is a BJJ blackbelt who uses it fairly well inside the cage. He has eight submissions in his career, but if he can’t lock one up on an inferior opponent, he has trouble staying in the fight. He has a questionable gas tank and has lost 2 out of his last 3 fights and is 3-3 in Bellator. His opponent’s only loss is to Rich Clementi back at Bellator 77, that’s the man Tirloni defeated to move onto the semifinals, but this is a good example of MMA math devolving into an indecipherable numeral. Sarnavskiy is better than Tirloni everywhere, I can’t stress this enough. He trains with Alexander Shlemenko, has good cardio and in general can knock you out or submit you depending on how he feels that night. We did see Clementi drag him into deep waters, which affected Sarnavskiy, but he has looked fine in his fights since then. It could’ve been first time on American soil nerves? It’s something to consider though, as the vast majority of his wins have come in the first round. Still, if they’re battling gas tanks, you can still consider Sarnavskiy the favorite. In a heavyweight attraction, we have none other than K-1’s Mighty Mo (4-2) coming stateside to grace us with his… Mighty presence. Don’t pay attention to his record that may suggest he’s inexperienced, Mighty Mo has a winning record in boxing, and a less-than-stellar kickboxing record filled with plenty of highlight knockouts. Like anyone who spent the majority of their time on the kickboxing scene, Mo is not adept at grappling. I repeat: not adept. Josh Barnett and Semi Schilt have both submitted him easily. Barnett makes sense, but when Semmy puts you in a triangle to the delight of a Japanese crowd, you have submission defense problems. Yes, that was 2008, but all Ron Sparks (8-2) has to do is take Mo down. Who knows if Sparks will, though? Sparks is a banger, a true blue, red-blooded brawler that has lost his last two fights in a combined 72 seconds by getting sucked into his stand and bang mentality. If he does this against Mo – he will get knocked out. Let’s see how Sparks reacts to his back being against the Bellator wall with two losses in a row. He does have a decent, but rudimentary wrestling background, and he’s even won by keylock. That’s all you need to know to defeat Mo on the ground, so… In the main card opener, a middleweight feature fight will go down in the grey Bellator cage. Fighter number one is Eugene Fadiora (12-1), a British Bellator newcomer who has five knockouts and six submissions on his young resume, against late replacement Keith Barry (15-11) a 25-year-old spark plug with a knack for getting knocked out. Barry trains at Reign MMA with Mark Munoz and company, so you know he has good conditioning and mat game, but he just gets caught on the feet and on the ground. Dude eats shots. He’s as tough as they come, but he went 0-3 in Strikeforce and doesn’t do well against top competition, which Fadiora could be. We’ll find out.

Written by Jason Nawara

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