KSW 29 Fight Breakdown: Mamed Khalidov vs. Brett Cooper

Brett Cooper The main event of KSW 29 is a three-round middleweight bout between Mamed Khalidov and Brett Cooper. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Khalidov is a -705 favorite (bet $705 to win $100) while Cooper is a +435 underdog (bet $100 to win $435). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Khalidov at -705 and Cooper at +435, and so far the line has stayed steady. I agree with Khalidov being a big favorite here as I see him as a sure-fire winner in this spot. Here’s why. Khalidov (29-4-2) is one of the best-kept secrets in MMA. The 34-year-old Chechen is currently riding a nine-fight win streak with victories over the likes of Jesse Taylor, Melvin Manhoef, Maiquel Falcao, Matt Lindland, Kendall Grove and James Irvin, and is undefeated in his last 10 outings. He is actually 26-1-2 over his last 29 fights and realistically should be in the UFC, but for whatever reason (likely contractual obligations with KSW) he’s not. The KSW middleweight champ is a highlight-reel fighter with 28 finishes in his 29 wins, including 11 knockouts and 17 submissions. He is an absolute beast, and I would love for him to get a chance to compete in the Octagon agains the best in the world. He enters the fight against Cooper as a big favorite, and deservedly so, as he will likely get a stoppage win as he continues to pad his record as he looks to make big money fighting in Poland — and hopefully, soon, in the UFC. Cooper (20-10) was once one of the top middleweights in Bellator, but has simply fallen from grace over the last few years. The 27-year-old American went 7-5 overall in Bellator with wins over the likes of Dan Cramer and Kendall Grove and losses to Alexander Shlemenko (x2), Brandon Halsey, Doug Marshall and Steve Carl. Cooper is a well-rounded fighter with good wrestling, a decent chin, knockout power in his strikes and good cardio. For a while I thought Cooper was going to be the Bellator middleweight champ, but it just seems like he doesn’t have it anymore. He started fighting as a pro when he was 18, so perhaps all the years of punishment on his body and brain has taken a toll on him. He has not looked good at all recently, having lost three of his last four bouts, and it looks like his career could be winding down sooner than expected. KSW is giving Cooper a big opportunity to take on Khalidov in a fight Cooper took on short notice, and if Cooper wins he will re-cement himself as a middleweight contender, but another loss — especially in devastating fashion — could have the California native thinking about hanging his gloves up. A few years ago I would have imagined this to be a competitive matchup, but Cooper has really declined and Khalidov is better than ever. Khalidov isn’t a great wrestler or anything, but somehow I see him getting this fight to the mat and sinking in a submission for a highlight-reel victory. The line is definitely not cheap at -705, but realistically he should be a clear winner here and I can’t blame anyone who wants to stick him in their parlays.

Written by Adam Martin.

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