Bellator 128 Fight Breakdown: Tiger Sarnavskiy vs. Dakota Cochrane

tiger-sarnavskiy One of the main card bouts at Bellator 128 is a three-round catchweight (160lbs) bout between Tiger Sarnavskiy and Dakota Cochrane. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Sarnavskiy is a -375 favorite (bet $375 to win $100) while Cochrane is a +285 underdog (bet $100 to win $285). MMA linesetter Nick Kalikas opened up Sarnavskiy at -505 and Cochrane at +335, and so far the action has mainly been on the dog Cochrane. I disagree with the action in Cochrane’s direction as I see Sarnavskiy winning this fight and being deserving of his big favorite status. Here’s why. Sarnavskiy (28-2) is one of the best lightweights in Bellator. Overall the 25-year-old Russian is 4-2 in Bellator with wins over Ricardo Tirloni, Marcus Davis, Tiago Michel and Tony Hervey and losses to Will Brooks and Rich Clementi. His last loss, against Brooks, was a surprise to many, but after seeing Brooks beat Michael Chandler the loss doesn’t look so bad in hindsight. Since that loss, Bellator has allowed Sarnavskiy to fight in Russia and he’s gone 3-0 with three submissions over mediocre competition. However, while he hasn’t been fighting great fighters, I like how he has kept busy because he’s a young fighter and the more cage time the better. In his career Sarnavskiy has 23 finishes in his 28 wins with six knockouts and 17 submissions. He is a very dangerous fighter, and certainly among the best fighters in Bellator’s lightweight division. With a few more wins, I think Sarnavskiy could even be fighting for the title. However, the one flaw he has is his wrestling as his takedown defence is weak. That could spell trouble when he fights the better wrestlers in the division, but going up against a guy like Cochrane who is an average, but not great wrestler, he should be okay, especially considering Cochrane took this fight on short notice. Look for Sarnavskiy to pick up another big win here against an overmatched opponent, and that’s why he’s a big favorite heading into the bout. Cochrane (17-6) is a decent regional-level lightweight but certainly not a top prospect. The 28 year old appeared on TUF 15, but lost to James Vick via split decision to get into the house and since then has bounced around the regional scene, with most of his fights coming in RFA. Cochrane is a pretty well-rounded fighter with decent wrestling, some submission ability, and even some knockout power. However, he has proven time and time again that when he takes a step up in competition he almost always loses, and certainly Sarnavskiy is a step up in competition. Cochrane’s path to victory in this fight is to wrestle Sarnavskiy and grind him out on the ground, but he’s making his Bellator debut on such short notice that I just can’t see him having the gas to go the full 15, and going against a guy like Sarnavskiy, giving up any second of the fight could spell the end of your night. We’ll see how Cochrane fares in this fight, but I think he’s overmatched here and I agree he should be a sizeable dog heading into the fight. Cochrane is an underrated fighter and it’s possible he could use a straight-wrestling gameplan here, but I just don’t see it happening with such short notice as I don’t believe Cochrane will be in good enough shape to go hard for 15 minutes. I think Sarnavskiy is dangerous in all areas of the game and I believe that he will be able to find a finish by either knockout or submission within the 15 minutes. The line is high at -375, but I also think it’s fair for a very likely winner and so I believe Sarnavskiy is a worth-while parlay piece in a two- or three-team parlay as I see him winning this fight in highlight-reel fashion.

Written by Adam Martin.

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