Bellator 119, also known as the show before Bellator delves into the PPV business, comes to us from Rama, Ontario, Canada as an event that has been ravaged by injuries. We are temporarily missing out on a featherweight fight between Fabricio Guerreiro and Shahbulat Shamhalaev as well as Brett Cooper vs Brandon Halsey in a middleweight semifinal tilt, but what we have here should still be good fun.
In the main event, two newcomers to the Bellator featherweight finals look to get in a long line of featherweight contenders – German grappler, Daniel Weichel (33-8) will look to extend his 5-fight winning streak over 24-year-old wrestler, Desmond Green (11-2). Weichel is a hell of a lot of fun to watch. The M-1 veteran is fantastic on the ground, boasting 20 submission wins to go along with his five knockouts, while the up-and-comer in Green is preparing to enter the most important (and biggest) fight of his life. For all of the great things we can say about Weichel, I always tend to bet on the wrestler. That said, Green, if he can’t get it to the ground, is in trouble. His stand up is weak, and even though Weichel doesn’t have fantastic striking, it’s still far ahead of Green’s. Weichel has 19 career first round finishes, so watch out for the sub attempts while both men are still dry. As the fight goes on, Green is at an advantage, as he has the ability to put and keep Weichel on his back. A grindfest, this has the potential to be.
I never got why Chris Horodecki (20-4-1-1) wasn’t invited to the UFC after the WEC folded. I get that he lost his last fight in the promotion, but losing to Donald Cerrone is something that many UFC vets past and present have done. Since that night in 2010 at WEC 53, the 26-year-old Canadian has gone 4-1-1-1and is 1-1-1 in Bellator with a win over Chris Saunders, a draw against Mike Corey, and a knockout loss to Mike Richman. He’s facing Sengoku and Bellator vet, Marlon Sandro (24-5-1). You have to think that the winner of this fight gets into the next featherweight tournament, which has been up and down for the 37-year-old Sandro. He made it to the finals of Bellator’s Summer Series 2011 only to fall to Pat Curran, then the season six finals, losing to Daniel Straus, then made it to the season 8 semifinals to lose to Frodo Khasbulaev. So, he’s only lost to the best of the best contenders and champions, but he’s getting older. How much does he have left in the tank? Horodecki can’t seem to overcome mediocrity of late, but at only 26 years old, you have to think a big win over Sandro can get him onto the next stage of his career. Horodecki is a solid kickboxer, and while Sandro may think he can stand up with the vet, it’s probably best the Brazilian take him down where he has a clear advantage.
Heavyweights are up next, which could mean a wild knockout or just a weird affair (such is the Bellator heavyweight division), with a fight between undefeated Raphael Butler (8-0) and journeyman, Nick Rossborough (23-18). Butler, Bellator hopes, is their next home-grown star. He’s a veteran boxer, going 35-12-2 in his pro career, and in MMA he’s been a monster, finishing all 8 of his fights (5 KOs, 3 subs, although two of the submissions were tapping to strikes). Rossborough, you have to wonder, may want to play spoiler to Butler’s coming out party on cable TV. If he takes down Butler, the striker is in trouble. Rossborough may have a spotty record, but he can submit a boxer. All of this is easier said than done, and it’s likely we’ll see a violent finish.
Opening the show is a personal favorite of mine, Marius Zaromskis (19-8-1). He will try to snap his two-fight losing streak and will make his return to the Bellator cage after a 17-month absence to face Vaughn Anderson (16-2-1). The winner of this will likely end up in the next welterweight tournament, and this can be a fun one. Zaromskis is as flashy as the come. You’ll see kicks, flying strikes and spinning **** galore. Vaughn is more tempered, but just as dangerous. Anderson doesn’t want to lose two in a row, so he’s going to be trying to come back from a loss against War Machine last September. Both men have their backs against the wall, so you may see Zaromskis holding back his kicks due to Vaughn’s incessant takedowns. Vaughn hold’s the clear advantage on the ground and will be looking to maneuver Zaromskis into position to make him tap.