Bellator 114 Fight Breakdown: Brett Cooper (-185) vs. Kendall Grove (+170)

Brett Cooper One of the main card bouts at Bellator 114 is a middleweight semifinal between Brett Cooper and Kendall “Da Spyda” Grove. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Cooper as a -185 favorite (bet $185 to win $100), while Grove is a +170 underdog (bet $100 to win $170). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Cooper at -185 and Grove at +145, meaning so far there has been a little action on Cooper as the line has tightened. I’m actually surprised the line hasn’t been pushed more in Cooper’s favor, and I am picking the favorite to win this fight. Here’s why. Cooper (19-9) is one of Bellator’s best middleweights and one of the more underrated 185lbers in the world of MMA. The 29-year-old is a very good wrestler with knockout power, submissions, and he also has a big heart. Although Cooper is coming off of back-to-back losses, keep in mind he was super competitive in his five-round decision loss to Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko, a performance which should actually raise his stock after his surprise knockout loss to Doug Marshall. Cooper is a very smart fighter and does what he has to do to win, and although his chin has let him down in the past, he’s overall one of the more consistent middleweights outside of the UFC and arguably the favorite to win this middleweight tournament. Grove (20-13-1) is a UFC veteran and is so far 1-0 in Bellator with a decision win over Joe Vedepo in his debut to earn a tournament birth. The 31-year-old is a very tall and rangy middleweight and he uses his long limbs to batter his opponents as well as fish for submissions. A long-time student of the game who has fought a who’s who at 185lbs, Grove has gone 8-4 since leaving the UFC and deserves his chance to fight in Bellator, but he’s not being given an easy route to the title here at all against Cooper. Although Grove does have knockout power and could catch Cooper’s chin if he lands flush, he will have to defend his opponent’s takedowns and that’s going to be no easy feat. Despite him being a bigger name than Cooper, Grove is a deserved underdog heading into this battle. As long as he doesn’t get caught on the feet, Cooper should be able to use his wrestling advantage to take this fight to the ground, beat up Grove with strikes from the guard, and either win a clear-cut decision on the judges scorecards or get a stoppage victory. At -185 for Cooper, I believe this is a favorite or pass situation. I actually thought Cooper would be a bit higher here so I think there’s a bit of value on him in this spot. There’s also the total that is of interest as the UNDER 2.5 rounds prop is +155, so if you think there’s a finish in the fight that has some value for sure.

Written by Adam Martin.

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