Bellator 134 Fight Breakdown: Linton Vassell vs. Sokoudjou

sokoudjou1 One of the main card bouts at Bellator 134 is a three-round light heavyweight bout between Linton Vassell and Sokoudjou. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Vassell is a -300 favorite (bet $300 to win $100) while Sokoudjou is a +220 underdog (bet $100 to win $220). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Vassell at -260 and Sokoudjou at +180, and so far action has come in on the favorite Vassell. I agree with Vassell being the favorite here as I fully expect him to defeat Sokoudjou. Here’s why. Vassell (14-4, 1 NC) has been impressive in Bellator, going 3-1 overall in the promotion with wins over Virgin Zwicker, Trevor Carlson and Matt Jones and losing to champion Emanuel Newton. The 31-year-old Brit is a solid all around fighter who finishes fights, having earned five T/KO wins in his career as well as seven submission wins. Prior to the Newton fight he had won nine fights in a row and he proved in defeat to Newton that he is a solid fighter in his own right. Although he is older than Sokoudjou, he’s taken less wear and tear on his body so in fight years he’s actually younger. Vassell has lost two fights via T/KO in his career and he will have to watch out for Sokoudjou’s power, but as long as he doesn’t get knocked out he should be able to out work Sokoudjou and possibly even get a submission win should he be able to get the takedowns on Sokoudjou once he gasses. Sokoudjou (16-12) broke onto the MMA scene eight years ago with his knockouts of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ricardo Arona in PRIDE, but over the years we’ve come to realize those knockouts were not indicative of the fighter he would become. The 30-year-old native of Cameroon is 2-0 in Bellator so far with wins over Terry Davinney and Malik Merad, earning stoppages in both of those bouts. However, both of those fighters are very mediocre and beating them shouldn’t mean Sokoudjou is “back” or anything like that. There’s no doubt he has knockout power (10 career knockouts), but his cardio is really bad and his chin is awful as he’s been knocked out eight times in his career. He’s also not great on the ground, having been submitted twice in his career. To beat Vassell he will have to get a quick knockout because the longer the fight goes the more it favors Vassell. But it’s hard to trust him to do that, and that’s why he enters this fight as the dog despite being the “name” fighter in the matchup. Sokoudjou has about two minutes to win this fight on the feet, but that’s it. I don’t think he’s going to be able to get the knockout blow, and I expect him to gas pretty quickly, get taken down, and get submitted by Vassell someone in the early-to-mid stages of the fight. I really like Vassell and think Sokoudjou is past his prime so I think this is a good spot to fade the veteran. At the price Vassell looks like a good parlay piece this weekend so don’t hesitate to use him.

Written by Adam Martin.

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