Weekend MMA Preliminary Betting Lines – Bellator 114 and WSOF 9

Bellator 114While middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko and semifinals in two different tournaments will be in the spotlight on Friday night on Spike TV, Bellator has an interesting slate of prelims set to air on their Spike.com stream before we get to the TV portion of the card. Former featherweight tournament finalist Rad Martinez returns to action for the first time in over a year to take on one of the many members of the fighting Bertos, Edson. While MMA’s Berto brother doesn’t bring the most impressive record to the cage, he is extremely dangerous with his hands and especially his heel hooks. Nine of Berto’s 17 career victories have come via the painful submission, so Martinez will have to be at his best to come back with a victory. Another featherweight tournament finalist also makes an appearance on the undercard as season nine’s runner-up Justin Wilcox takes on Jason Fischer, a man who would hold an unblemished record if it weren’t for David Rickels. This is an interesting style clash, as all of Fischer’s wins have come via stoppage, while Wilcox has 70% of his wins by decision. Finally, one of Bellator’s best hopes of a homegrown prospect looked to go up in smoke last September when Bubba Jenkins was upset as a massive -1400 favorite against Larue Burley. Jenkins dusted himself off, got back into the cage in November and showed improved cardio en route to the third round TKO victory. He looks to continue to rebuild his momentum here against Sean Powers, a tall, lanky grappler who could prove an interesting test both standing and on the ground simply due to his length. Today, MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for the Bellator 114 prelims at Several Bookmakers. Take a look: ——————– PRELIMNARY CARD (Spike.com, 7pm ET) Rad Martinez -405 Edson Berto +285 Justin Wilcox -270 Jason Fischer +190 Bubba Jenkins -1200 Sean Powers +600 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: The public reaction to these undercard fights always seems to be drastic, so I can understand why some of these lines are higher than they should be. Martinez is the better wrestler against Berto, but if he takes it to the ground he’ll have to worry about leg locks. If it stays standing, Berto is a solid striker who kept things competitive with Patricky ‘Pitbull’ in a recent outing. This is a dangerous fight for Martinez wherever it takes place. I obviously favor him to win, but I don’t like him for a bet now, nevermind when the public gets through with this line. I have a little bit more confidence in Justin Wilcox, but I wouldn’t call this a lock or anything. At 145 he’s just such a powerhouse that anyone who ends up grappling with him — especially from the bottom, which is where Fischer will end up — is going to have a tough time. That said, Wilcox doesn’t have the most stout chin and his striking defense leaves something to be desired, but he should come through here. Speaking of overpriced lines. Something about Bubba Jenkins (and high-level wrestlers in general) makes them get an absurd amount of respect from MMA bettors. Jenkins is a decent prospect, but based on what I’ve seen I don’t think he ever develops into a champion, and he’ll struggle in fights a great deal more than he should. The Burley fight was an obvious example, but he’s even had issues in some of his wins. Powers isn’t a phenomenal fighter, but he’s going to have a great deal of length here and that could cause problems since Jenkins doesn’t set up his takedowns well in MMA (despite having excellent wrestling once he gets tight). If Powers can make Jenkins work for everything, we’ll see how much his cardio has really improved. At any rate, lay four figures on Bubba at your own risk. ——————– WSOF 9Before WSOF 9 hits the airwaves on NBC Sports Network on Saturday evening, that organization will also have a stream of their preliminary bouts on the internet. While there are a couple of interesting bouts on the undercard featuring prospects, let’s focus on the more known quantities in terms of betting lines. Mike Corey was putting together a solid run in Bellator back in 2011 and 2012, going to a draw with Chris Horodecki and then beating Ronnie Mann before falling to Daniel Straus. He has not fought since that loss to Straus in April 2012 however, meaning he’ll be about two weeks short of a full two years out of action when he takes on Shane Kruchten on Saturday. Kruchten opened his career with losses to two solid fighters in Gerald Meerschaert and Luke Zachrich. Since then he has won 11 consecutive fights and moved down to 145lbs. Both fighters like to use their grappling to set up submissions, but Corey is the better grinder. This may come down to how cage rust affects him. The other interesting prelim is between UFC veteran John Gunderson and Chris Gruetzemacher. Gunderson is a veteran of more than 50 pro fights, but since he stepped up to a higher level of competition by joining the IFL in 2007 and subsequently the UFC, he’s only gone 12-10. Gruetzemacher is another fighter on an impressive hot streak, winning ten in a row, including victories over WEC veterans Roli Delgado and Frank Gomez. Gunderson’s ground game is always dangerous, but he will be outmatched on the feet if he can’t take this one down. These lines were also opened at Several Bookmakers by Nick Kalikas. Check them out: ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (Internet Stream, 6pm ET) Mike Corey -280 Shane Kruchten +200 Chris Gruetzemacher -160 John Gunderson +120 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: I think we’ll see one veteran come through (Corey) and one falter (Gunderson). I fear that the Corey line may move a bit too far to be playable because of the unknown quantity that is Krutchen not receiving much respect. In the other bout, John Gunderson is likely to have the same issues he had against Dan Lauzon where he ends up getting trapped on the feet against a superior striker. Gruetzemacher has shown some power, but Gunderson has been difficult to finish, so this could drag out again, but Gruetzemacher seems to be on the way up, while Gunderson is definitely on a decline.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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