Bellator 125 Play: Brian Rogers (-145) vs Rafael Carvalho (+125)

carvalhoBellator 125 Date: September 19, 2014 Arena: Save Mart Center City: Fresno, CA Middleweight bout: Brian Rogers (-145) vs Rafael Carvalho (+125) Fight Breakdown: The co-main event for Bellator 125 in Fresno will be a three-round middleweight contest between a pair of violent strikers who always look for the finish, and action is certainly expected when Bellator veteran Brian Rogers takes on promotional newcomer Rafael Carvalho. Rogers is the favorite at the sportsbooks heading into this bout at -145 ($145 to win $100) and the return on the underdog Carvalho is +125 ($100 to win $125) at Several Bookmakerss. Brian Rogers (11-6 MMA, 4-4 Bellator) snapped a two-fight losing skid at Bellator 119 just over four months ago, scoring a second round highlight-reel flying knee knocking of Adrian Miles. It was a very impressive outing for Rogers, who will be looking to make it two in a row against Carvalho. The former football player possesses great speed and cardio; he moves fast for a middleweight, and has incredibly quick hands, too, as he likes to get quick powerful shots in that often stun opponents. Rogers has excellent stand up skills; he has been training in Karate since childhood, before graduating to other forms of mixed martial arts. His takedown defense is excellent, but he does not have the greatest chin. It usually holds up, but he’s been put away twice before, as Andreas Spang and current Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko have both knocked him out. Training out of FactoryX Muay Thai in Englewood, CO, Rogers will be prepared for three rounds of action against the Brazilian. Rafael Carvalho (9-1, 0-0) is set to make his Bellator debut and enjoys an impressive eight-fight winning streak, with seven of the victories coming by way of TKO, and four of them in the very first round of action. He is a talented striker with good striking defense who possesses a variety of excellent kicks, including powerful leg kicks, a nice high kick and solid front kicks. He possesses power in his hands, as well, especially in his overhand right, which he loves to throw often, though sometimes making the mistake of telegraphing it. The Brazilian has very good footwork and head movement, and likes to pressure his opponents on the feet. He works a nice jab, has a solid straight left, an effective right hook, and does a very good job of putting some 2-3 punch combinations together. Carvalho is strong in the clinch and has great takedown defense. When taken down, he does a very good job of finding his way back to his feet. He has strong hips and great balance, so he often finds success in keeping his fights standing, where he generally holds an edge over his competition. On top of it all, the Brazilian has solid cardio, so he will be game for 15 minutes of action against the Bellator veteran, should the fight hit the judges’ scorecards for a decision. Gabe’s Thoughts: I think Rogers is going to try to win a stand up battle here, but I believe Carvalho is the superior striker, so I expect him to get the better of the Bellator veteran on the feet, en route to a possible T/KO stoppage or unanimous decision victory on the judges’ scorecards. Aside from another highlight-reel knockout from Rogers, I don’t see him winning this fight. I don’t think he will find success in outpointing the Brazilian, so I feel this is Carvalho’s fight to lose. At the current underdog odds of +125, I do favor him for a large wager, as I think he should be the betting favorite heading into this his first Bellator middleweight affair. Gabe’s Call: Carvalho by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Rafael Carvalho (+125) 4u to win 5u

Written by Gabe Killian

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