Gabe Killian’s Dive into the Bellator 115 Main Card

Cheick KongoBellator 115 will be live from the Reno Events Center in Reno, NV on Fri., April 4th, 2014 with 10 scheduled bouts, including a four-fight main card that will be broadcasted live on Spike TV at 9pm ET. Betting lines for the main card will be made available at Several Bookmakers. Kicking off the action on the main card is a middleweight tournament semi final match-up that pits together Dan “Cosmo” Cramer and Jeremy Kimball. Cramer has not seen action in over a year, when he was knocked out by Brett Cooper in the third round of action at Bellator 92. After having his three-fight winning streak snapped and taking a lengthy layoff, “Cosmo” is ready to get back in the win column with his eyes set on the Bellator 185 pound gold. Kimball was riding an impressive winning streak in his own right, having struck together six victories, with five of them coming by way of stoppage. The streak included notable victories over Tommy Speer, Chidi Njokuani, Drew McFederies, and Keith Berry. Unfortunately, said streak was snapped in his last outing against Perry Filkins, where he lost via rear naked choke with less than a minute remaining in the fight. Looking to get back to his winning ways, I expect Kimball to enter this bout hungry for the finish. MMA Oddsmaker Nick Kalikas released Cramer as a -215 betting favorite, with the return on the underdog Kimball being +165, and the public has come in betting on Cramer, driving the betting lines to the current -285/+205. At these odds, I would side with the underdog, as I think this match-up will be much more closely contested than the odds suggest. Next up is a non-tournament middleweight bout between five-time Bellator veteran Mikkel Parlo and promotional newcomer Johnny “Tattooed Terror” Cisneros. Denmark’s Parlo is a talented striker who is 3-2 in his Bellator career, with both losses coming via T/KO. Now, coming off a second round TKO loss at the hands of recent middleweight title challenger Brennan Ward at Bellator 107 five months ago, Parlo is looking to impress and earn a spot in the next Bellator middleweight tournament. Cisneros also last saw action five months ago, where he defeated Melvin Costa via unanimous decision in the King of the Cage promotion. The California native now has an 8-2 record, with five wins coming by way of T/KO, and he will be looking to make a statement in his promotional debut. The betting odds for this match-up were released yesterday, with Parlo being a heavy favorite at -900, and Cisneros being a big underdog at +500. However, money has been coming in on the dog, as the betting line has shifted to -530/+350. While I think Parlo should win this fight, I think -530 is still too much juice to pay for him. Considering he has been knocked out twice in Bellator and the fact that Cisneros packs power, I would not risk laying that much juice with him. At these odds, the value is still with Cisneros, so I agree with the early action. The co-main event of the evening will be a welterweight tournament semifinal bout between recent title challenger Andrey Koreshkov and Pennsylvania’s Sam Oropeza. The Russian is a very talented striker with the lone loss in his professional mixed martial arts career coming to now-former Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren. Since the loss, Koreshkov has bounced back with two wins, including an incredible first round TKO of UFC and Strikeforce veteran Nah-Shon Burrell at Bellator 112 just a couple of weeks ago. Oropeza rides an impressive six-fight winning streak which includes two victories in the Bellator promotion, the most recent one coming in an upset TKO victory over Cristiano Souza a couple of weeks ago at Bellator 112. A well-rounded fighter, Oropeza owns all 11 of his professional mixed martial arts career victories by way of finish. He will be the betting underdog heading into this match-up at +305, while the Russian is the favorite at -425. Since being released, the odds for this scrap have remained intact, and while I could see Oropeza getting his hand raised, I do favor the Russian to have his way with him, and -425 sounds about right. The undefeated Vitaly Minakov will defend his Bellator heavyweight title against UFC veteran Cheick Kongo in the main event of the evening. The Russian has been very impressive in his Bellator career, having gone 4-0 with all four wins coming by way of T/KO. Kongo is 2-0 in his Bellator career, since being released by the UFC, even though he was 3-2 in his last five fights with the promotion, and 4-2-1 in his last seven. MMAOddsbreaker’s Nick Kalikas released the Russian as a -285 favorite, with the return on the underdog Kongo being +205. Early action has come in on the veteran, moving the line to -210/+160. The Frenchman has the edge in experience over the Russian, but I expect Minakov to retain his title, largely due their difference in age and Kongo’s diminishing chin.

Written by Gabe Killian

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