After Bellator’s season 10 premiere, which featured the best result the organization could have hoped for in the light heavyweight tournament and some of the worst at featherweight, the company moves on to the heavyweights. An eight-man bracket should either provide some quick, violent finishes or drawn-out, plodding matches. Hopefully, for all our sakes, it ends up being the former. Even though the heavyweight tournament is going on, the more relevant attraction on the card is Eduardo Dantas’ second defense of his bantamweight title. Many forget that — because of a knockout loss to Tyson Nam in a fight outside of Bellator — Dantas was talked about as one of the top 135ers in all of MMA after dominating Zach Makovsky to win the title in April of 2012. He faces late replacement Anthony Leone in a bout that is very reminiscent of the one Dantas captured the title in. Last week’s Bellator event featured three favorites coming through and three underdogs winning, so it’ll be interesting to see how the lines move and fights play out after looking at the opening odds MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas set at Several Bookmakers today. Take a look: ——————– MAIN CARD (Spike TV, 9pm ET) Eduardo Dantas -855 Anthony Leone +485 Lavar Johnson -120 Ryan Martinez -120 Peter Graham -125 Siala-Mou Siliga -115 Alexander Volkov -280 Mark Holata +200 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike.com, 7pm ET) Blagoi Ivanov -190 Rich Hale +150 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: Interesting card in place here from a betting perspective, since there’s a little bit of everything. A massive favorite, a fairly big favorite and three bouts near a pick em. In itself that doesn’t make it interesting, but what does is that except in the main event, I see a path to victory for every fighter. Let’s get this out of the way, Eduardo Dantas should dominate Anthony Leone. Leone strength is his wrestling, and Dantas is difficult to takedown, and extremely dangerous if he does get taken down. Aside from that, ‘Dudu’ has a colossal advantage on the feet. Dantas is longer, faster, more technical and more varied in his striking. He’s one wild rush and Tyson Nam punch away from being considered one of the top five bantamweights in the world, and rightly so. Even though this should be a short night for Leone, it’s going to seem awfully long while he’s in there. Lavar Johnson hits really hard. That’s the only thing he does well. Actually, I lied, he has a funny nickname too. Unfortunately, when you’re 36 years-old and your success is predicated on hitting your opponent it would behoove you to have one of three things: 1) Takedown defense, 2) Submission defense, or 3) A good chin. Johnson has none of those atttributes, and that’s why I’m picking Ryan Martinez to win and hoping for some plus money on him. Johnson could win, because he hits really hard, but Martinez certainly has more ways to win throughout a greater portion of the fight. Speaking of more ways to win, I’m still a little shocked by Mighty Mo flexing a submission game last time out against Ron Sparks. The crazy thing is, Peter Graham isn’t much (if any) better on the ground. Could Mo make it two subs in a row? The fact that this is a legitimate question tells you everything you need to know about heavyweight MMA in 2014. Graham has marginally better takedown defense here and is certainly better on the feet than Sparks was, but I find it unlikely that Graham finishes Mo on the feet, he has terrible cardio and a severely lacking ground game. I’m undecided on a pick here, but again this is dog or pass. There’s a bit of a trend here. Very few heavyweight MMA fighters are reliable enough to lay significant juice on. Alexander Volkov is not one of them. He has a good jab, but not much power, not much wrestling and virtually no submission game. Mark Holata is fairly chinny, but he’s also got a wrestling advantage and decent power of his own. If he doesn’t choose to try to wrestle Volkov, this simply comes down to who lands first. Over +200 in a spot like that? Worth a flier to me. Blagoi Ivanov is probably the early favorite to win the tournament (and why his fight isn’t on the main card, I have no idea), and he’s probably the only favorite who you can say SHOULD come through. Even then, his best win is a toss-up between the fattest Ricco Rodriguez and a version of Kazuyuki Fujita who was fresh off a TKO loss to Travis Wiuff. Rich Hale might actually be a slightly better striker here, but his chin isn’t great and Ivanov should be significantly better on the ground… if he can get it there. Not something I’m looking to lay more than 2-to-1 on, but Ivanov should come through.