Bellator 118 Main Card Preview

Bellator 118After a two week absence, Bellator has made it’s way to Revel Atlantic City for a bantamweight title fight and a smattering of tournament bouts in the light heavyweight and welterweight divisions. This is an underrated show. I’m calling it. In the main event, we have former Bellator featherweight champion, Joe Warren (10-3) who in his second try, has made it through the bantamweight tournament and will look to become the first dual weight champion in Bellator history. He’s facing Rafael Silva (21-3), a product out of Brazil who has won his last 13 fights including two-in-a-row in Bellator, taking out Rodrigo Lima and Anthony Leion in the bantamweight Summer Series tournament. This matchup was made on the heels of Eduardo Dantas backing out of his scheduled title defense against Warren with a myriad of injuries, mostly to the dome. So now we have Warren, in a much, much easier fight than he would have against Dantas. Silva is coming in on short notice, and he’s simply not the overall monster Dantas has made himself to be. Warren should be able to pressure silva with his wrestling and grind out 25 minutes while keeping busy on top. Silva does have strong hands, he brandishes 8 knockouts, and he’s no slouch on the ground with 9 submissions, but Warren is like wrestling an alligator. He doesn’t stop and won’t stop. Silva’s best chance is to make Warren eat some hard shots as he makes his way inside. Pepper him, use length, just don’t let him touch you. Easier said than done, however. The co-main event is a welterweight semifinal matchup between scary Russian Andre Koreshkov (15-1) and late replacement Justin Baesman (14-4-1). Orignally, Koreshkov was supposed to fight Sam Oropeza (for the second time), before Oropeza missed weight and Baesman was brought in. What started as an interesting striker vs. striker matchup has been toned down a bit. Baesman is winless since coming to Bellator, but has a golden opportunity here to advance to a tournament final against Adam McDonough. It won’t be easy for Baesman to get there however, as he faces a dangerous striker in Koreshkov who has only stumbled when faced with an elite wrestler in Ben Askren. Baesman doesn’t have the wrestling credentials to trouble Koreshkov, so he’ll have to make this a dirty fight in order to have a shot at that $100,000. In a bantamweight feature fight, former WEC fighter Marcos Galvao (15-6-1) will stand across the cage from undefeated Thomas Vasquez (7-0). Galvao is looking to build on his current 2-fight winning streak, both TKO wins, over Shely Santana in Shooto Brazil and Tom McKenna at Bellator 108. For Vasquez this is his shot at the big time. He made his debut on Strikeforce Challengers in 2010, and has since bowled through his competition on the independent scene. Needless to say, Galvao holds a clear advantage on the feet, but on the ground this could be quite the fun fight. Vasquez is a maniac on the ground, perpetually moving and advancing position while throwing a plethora of punches in an effort to wear down his opponent. I feel live Galvao indeed has the advantage in both areas, but Vasquez is such a tornado, it’s hard not to be excited for this fight, a type of battle that Bellator puts on well. Opening the show is a light heavyweight tournament opening round. Englishman Liam McGeary (6-0) will put his spotless record on the line against another undefeated fighter, Mike Mucitelli (6-0-1). Between the two of these men, there is only one decision – a decision win for Mucitelli over Ryan McCurdy at Bellator 107. If I may be so bold with my analysis, Mucitelli has a 100% win rate over men with ‘Mc’ as the prefix to their last name. Hmph. Violence will be the name of this game, as both men have crazy finishing prowess, with Mucitelli brandishing 5 first round finishes (4 subs) and and McGeary only leaving the first round twice. Both of these men enjoy cranking the subs early on in the fight when both contestants are void of sweat and blood, but I wonder if they’ll be able to pull that off in this particular fight? It could be the case of both men wanting to test their stand up, or we can see who is definitively the better grappler? All that’s certain is that we will be in for a treat to kick us off on Spike, as violence will be delivered in short order, no doubt.

Written by Jason Nawara

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