Bellator 117 comes to us from the land where MMA was born (kind of), Iowa. Council Bluffs, Iowa to be exact. Plenty of tournaments continue on in this season 10 card, but most importantly, we’ll see the second Bellator welterweight champion crowned.
With Ben Askren sent to the hills of ONE FC due to his ‘boring’ fighting style, the welterweight belt is up for grabs. We have season eight tournament winner, Douglas Lima (25-5) fighting season nine tournament winner Rick Hawn (18-2). Both men have said this will likely be a stand up war, and while Hawn has Olympic-level judo to fall back on, Lima has excellent stand up. Both have heavy hands, combining for 22 knockouts in their career. Hawn is 37-years-old to Lima’s 26, but I’m not sure if age will be a factor here. Both men are primed and ready for this battle, and Hawn has shown no signs of slowing down. Size, however, could be the difference. Lima is a monster of a welterweight who cuts down from well over 200 pounds for the fight. Hawn was preparing for another lightweight bout when he decided to join the season nine tournament as a late-replacement. While Hawn is better on the ground with top control and in the clinch, if he gets in a bad situation with his back to the mat, Lima has the size and ability to keep him down. On the feet, Lima has the slight advantage, but both men have the ability to KO the other. This should be a great, fun fight. One that would be won by Ben Askren.
The lightweight tournament continues, as Patricky Freire (12-5) will face Derek Campos (14-3) in the semifinals after knocking out Dave Rickels at Bellator 113. Freire has been on a bit of a resurgence, winning his last two since losing 4 out of 5 fights spanning 2011 to the beginning of 2013. He’s a solid fighter, a BJJ blackbelt with strong hands, but he fades late into fights and doesn’t do that well off of his back, which will be a big problem against Derek Campos, a former King of the Cage champion. Freire has the advantage in every way on paper, but as the fight gets going, expect Campos to slowly wear down the elder Freire into a decision win. It’s his MO.
Poland’s Marcin Held (17-3) is looking to make it to another lightweight tournament final, and all who stands in his way is current dark horse of the season, Derek Anderson (11-0). Anderson wasn’t even supposed to be here, but he cemented his place in this Bellator tournament with a huge knockout over Brandon Girtz at Belaltor 113, which supplemented his win over Patricky Freire, who is on the other side of the bracket. Anderson is a tempered bull in a china shop. He has 10 finishes in his 11 fights, only failing to stop Freire. Held is a grappling ace, holding nine submission wins at only 22-years of age. In his last outing, he submitted Rodrigo Cavelharo in just over a minute with a toe hold, and has looked brilliant in his 6-2 Bellator career. This fight should be fantastic. Anderson doesn’t want to give an inch and Held is used to getting what he wants to take. Expect lots of scrambles and the typical shocking Bellator finish. Tough one to confidently lay money on, but Held has been on fire.
Karl Amoussou (16-6-2) went 0-2 in 2013, so the Frenchmen looks to get his fighting career back on track against King of the Cage vet David Gomez (16-7). While Gomez is a tough, all-around fighter brandishing nine knockouts, he’s only won two out of his last five fights and will be fighting a highly-motivated Karl Amoussou, which is scary for any man not named Ben Askren. Expect this to be a stand up fight, with both men looking for the knockout. Amoussou has claimed to have evolved his game a bit, so he may work to change levels and nab a takedown if it’s there, but this fight screams “knockout.”