Bellator 118 Fight Breakdown: Joe Warren (-150) vs. Rafael Silva (+140)

Joe Warren The main event of Bellator 118 is a five-round title fight for the interim Bellator bantamweight championship between Joe Warren and Rafael “Morcego” Silva. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Warren as a -150 favorite (bet $150 to win $100) while Silva is a +140 underdog (bet $100 to win $140). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Warren at -155 and Silva at +115, and overall there has been modest action on the favorite Warren as the lines have tightened. This is a competitive fight for sure, but I lean Warren slightly and am picking him to win the fight. Here’s why. Warren (10-3) is the former Bellator featherweight champion. The 37-year-old is a world-class Greco-Roman wrestler who has transferred his skills on the mat well into the sport of mixed martial arts since making his MMA debut in 2009, and he’s arguably one of the most popular bantamweight fighters in the sport today. A tremendous wrestler with improving striking skills, Warren is overall a solid 8-2 in Bellator with notable wins over Travis Marx, Marcos Galvao, Patricio Pitbull, Georgi Karakhanyan, and Joe Soto, and he also holds early-career wins over KID Yamamoto and Chase Beebe. A great fighter with a brash personality, Warren is getting up there in age but before he calls it quits he wants to make a run at the Bellator bantamweight title. And with a win over Silva at Bellator 118, he will get his chance to become the first dual-division champion in Bellator MMA history. Silva (21-3) won the 2013 summer series bantamweight tournament with wins over Anthony Leone and Rodrigo Lima to get his crack at the bantamweight belt which belongs to Eduardo Dantas. However, he was injured and lost his title shot to the man he beat Leone, and then was pushed aside for Warren. But as luck would have it, Dantas himself pulled out of this fight with Warren and now Silva will get his crack at the interim belt — or, he would have had he not missed weight by two pounds. Because he came in heavy, Silva will not have a chance to win the interim belt, but he will still fight Warren for five rounds and if he wins he will take on Dantas for the actual belt later this year. Getting back to Silva’s credentials, the 29-year-old Brazilian has won 13 fights in a row and overall 17 of his 21 career victories have come via stoppage. A solid submission fighter with knockout power on the feet, Silva is one of the most underrated bantamweights out there and if he should upset Warren at Bellator 118, expect him to start getting he respect he deserves from fans and media alike. Although Silva is a dangerous finisher who certainly has all the tools to earn the upset, I think Warren should be able to use his wrestling to take this fight to the ground and grind out a five-round decision win and score the interim Bellator bantamweight title. I like Warren here but it’s hard to recommend laying juice on him given the strange, short-notice circumstances on this fight. However, I think the prop on Warren by decision, which is at +170, could be worth a small stab. But overall I don’t think it’s wise to lay juice on Warren due to all the question marks attached to this matchup.

Written by Adam Martin.

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