Bellator 121 Preview for ‘Prindle vs Thompson’ on Spike TV Tonight (June 6)

PrindleBellator season 10 is over, culminating in the first ever Bellator pay-per-view (PPV). Now, the Summer Series begins in earnest. Tonight (June, 6, 2014), we’ll have three of the four light heavyweight quarterfinal match-ups and a hard-hitting heavyweight battle in the main event. Eric Prindle (8-5-1) has carved a strange saga in Bellator. He came into the promotion 5-1, defeated Abe Wagner, then knocked out Ron Sparks to head to a heavyweight tournament final in which his groin was destroyed by an errant Thiago Santos axe kick. Prindle then moved on to get taken out in just over a minute by then-champion Cole Konrad, got disqualified for returning the favor to Thiago Santos, knocked out Vince Lucero in 12 seconds, then lost 2 more in a row to Peter Graham and Javy Ayala respectively. His opponent needs no introduction to the hardcore MMA fan, James Thompson (19-14-1) has fought just about everyone; Don Frye, Kimbo Slice, Alistair Overeem, Dan Severn, Alexander Emelianenko… Too bad he’s come out on the losing end of many of those fights, but he’s on a 4-fight current unbeaten streak after beating Polish superhero Mariusz Pudzianowski once, getting a no-contest due to a judging error in their next contest, then taking out Bob Sapp and Bobby Lashley in the SFL. Needless to say, this fight could end very quickly, or end up being a sloppy but crazy brawl from these two heavyweights. Both men are huge, and you have to think that this fight is an audition for Thompson for a future heavyweight tournament and a possible pink slip for Prindle if he loses. The Bellator Summer Series light heavyweight tournament quarterfinals open with Austen Heidlage (7-0) taking on fellow undefeated fighter in Philipe Lins (8-0). This fight has great potential for awesomeness. Heidlage has finished all of his fights. Yes, the 24-year-old has 6 subs, and 1 TKO. He’s fighting one of the bigger men from Nova Uniao, the gym made famous by Renan Barao and Jose Aldo. He’s got 4 knockouts and 2 submissions, but you can bet these two will be going hell for leather in the Bellator cage. Heidlage is making his Bellator debut, while Lins took out Travis Clark in 40 seconds with a rear naked choke. On the ground, I lean toward Lins, but Heidlage is crafty. On the feet, it’s Lins with the clear advantage, as his legacy is that of absolute monsters of the MMA Muay Thai community. In a light heavyweight feature fight, Sokoudjou (14-2) is making is Bellator debut on the heels of a a 2-fight losing streak, both finishes to Russian opponents that no one has ever heard of. Sokoudjou is taking on Terry Davinney (10-7) a submission specialist who has spent time at heavyweight. Basically what we have here is what should be a very violent fight where both men go for the finish or they get finished. Sokoudjou was a decent prospect when he was 4-1 in 2007 leaving Pride, but since he has been able to be finished 9 times, mostly by knockout. Luckily, Davinney doesn’t have the best stand up, but Sokoudjou isn’t immortal on the ground either. This is an interesting fight, in that both men will be giving it their all, but even if they do win, what will it lead to? Sokoudjou does have knockout power, and he has said he’s turned a corner in the gym, so look for him to come out banging. In the next LHW tournament quarterfinal, we have Carlos Eduardo (11-3) and Egidijus Valavicius (26-10) trying to advance. Valavicius has some deadly hands, with 15 knockouts overshadowing his 6 submission, but the 35-year-old Lithuanian has a knack for getting caught on the ground as well. He’s lost 5 fights via submission. Eduardo is also from Nova Uniao which could make for an interesting finals should he get that far. The winner takes on Liam McGeary, who already won his fight. Valavicius has tons of experience, but he’s nearing the end of his run, while Eduardo is just getting going at the tender age of 32. This is your usual grappler vs. striker fight. With Eduardo being the grappler. Finally on the prelims, we have the 3rd and final LHW quarterfinal as Kelly Anundson (7-2) fighting Bellator vet Rodney Wallace (21-8-1). Anundson is a veteran of TUF 19, while Wallace is on a 2-fight winning streak since he entered Bellator, winning his single fight in the promotion. Anundson is 1-0 in Bellator, defeating Volkan Oezdemir at Bellator 115 with a nasty neck crank. He’s got 5 submission wins, and is a savage on the mat. Wallace is the more well-rounded fighter, but Anundson is stronger, has a chip on his shoulder and is the younger fighter with less tread on the tires. This should be a good, close fight on paper, with Wallace having the advantage on the feet and Anundson on the ground.

Written by Jason Nawara

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