Bellator 120 Fight Breakdown: Michael Chandler (-900) vs. Will Brooks (+500)

Michael Chandler The co-main event of Bellator 120 is a five-round title fight for the interim Bellator lightweight championship between former titleholder Michael Chandler and tournament winner Will “Ill” Brooks. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Chandler as a -900 favorite (bet $900 to win $100) while Brooks is a +500 underdog (bet $100 to win $500). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Chandler at -705 and Brooks at +435, meaning there has been lots of action on Chandler. I agree with the money coming in on Chandler as I also believe he wins this fight. Here’s why. Chandler (12-1) is the former Bellator lightweight champion and is amongst the most well-rounded 155ers on the planet. The 28-year-old Alliance MMA fighter is 9-1 overall in Bellator and holds notable victories over Eddie Alvarez, Marcin Held, David Rickels, Rick Hawn, Patricky Pitbull, Akihiro Gono, and Lloyd Woodard. He has excellent wrestling, wicked striking, underrated submissions, he’s fast, he has great cardio, and his chin is solid to boot. In short, he’s one of the best in the game. However, he is coming off his first career loss, a controversial split decision setback to Eddie Alvarez back at Bellator 106. Chandler was scheduled to fight Alvarez in a trilogy bout this weekend, but Alvarez was recently removed from the fight due to a concussion and now Chandler takes on late-notice replacement Brooks in an interim title bout. It’s a fight that stylistically favors Chandler, who is just as good a wrestler as his opponent and who is the better overall striker, and that’s the reason why he is such a big favorite going into the bout. Brooks (13-1) won the Bellator season nine lightweight tournament to earn his crack at the Bellator title. He was originally set to fight Nate Jolly on the card but promoted to the co-main event when Alvarez got injured. The 27-year-old American Top Team representative is 5-1 overall in Bellator with wins over John Alessio, Alexander Sarnavskiy, Ricardo Tirloni, and Saad Awad, who he defeated in the pair’s rematch after Awad shockingly knocked out Brooks in their first meeting. But Brooks has bounced back nicely since that knockout loss, having won four in a row and looking better and better with each passing fight. He is an athletic specimen with excellent wrestling and good ground and pound. His striking is also improving and he’s fast. Overall he’s a very solid prospect but he’s not proven to be a top-ranked lightweight like his opponent Chandler, and that’s why you see Brooks enter the fight as a big underdog this weekend despite having such a stellar record. I think Chandler is going to stuff Brooks’ takedown attempts and keep this fight on the feet, where he is a little bit faster with his strikes, and I think Chandler is going to earn the knockout to take home the interim title. Chandler should win this fight but there isn’t much value in the current line of -900. Still, I believe it’s a favorite or pass situation. The total might be the better bet in this fight, with UNDER 2.5 rounds being available at -145. I do think there should be an early knockout in this one so that’s probably the best bet to make from what’s been offered so far by the books. Keep an eye out for the Chandler wins inside the distance prop as well.

Written by Adam Martin.

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