This Friday will be another packed one for MMA fans, with Bellator, WSOF, and RFA all putting on shows the help get your weekend started. Bellator’s event is the biggest of the three, as Spike TV will play host to a lightweight title bout, a potential #1 contender’s fight, and GLORY start Joe Schilling makes his second MMA appearance in recent months. Will Brooks will get a chance to face someone other than Michael Chandler for Bellator’s 155lb belt, as former WEC veteran Dave Jansen worked his way to a title shot by winning a tournament back in 2013 and then besting Rick Hawn in October to cement his status as the top contender. Brooks got two victories in a row over Chandler to become and remain the lightweight champion, but now has several new challengers waiting for their shot. The next title challenger after Jansen could be the winner of the bout between Marcin Held and Alexander Sarnavskiy. The pair of young Europeans have both impressed in Bellator, with Held using his dynamic submission game and Sarnavskiy showing his well-rounded skills en route to 14 combined wins in Bellator. The guaranteed fun portion of the card is Joe Schilling taking on Rafael Cordeiro in what might as well be a kickboxing bout. Schilling had a fun round a bit with Melvin Manhoef, and obviously Scott Coker and co are expecting the same out of this bout with Carvalho, a dangerous striker in his own right. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the lines for the four main card bouts of Bellator 136 and three preliminaries today at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Check them out: ——————– MAIN CARD (Spike TV, 9pm ET)
——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike.com, 7pm ET)
——————– Brad’s Analysis: I think the perennially underrated Jansen will give Brooks more trouble than a lot of people expect, especially if he uses the same gameplan he did against Rick Hawn. Jansen’s constant pressure could make Brooks uncomfortable, but I’m not sure if he will be able to use that to win three rounds and avoid Brooks’ takedowns at the same time. I think Brooks is the more likely winner, but I expect the line to get even longer, and if I do make a bet here it will likely be a flier on the challenger. I think Bellator wants Joe Schilling to do well, as he can be a big marketing chip for them as a crossover star with GLORY. I expect him to get the win here against Carvalho too. This is basically a kickboxing match, and Schilling is the more diverse and durable kickboxer of the two. Carvalho may be able to rock him in this bout, but as we’ve seen many times with Schilling, he is tremendously resilient, and he should be able to come back to win with a KO of his own, or on points. Marcin Held’s overall improvement, and Alexander Sarnavskiy’s questionable in-fight decisions should be what determine this bout, as Held can now use solid wrestling and striking to go along with his fantastic ground skills. Sarnavskiy has skills in all those areas as well, but he’s been beating a lower level of competition than Held, and faltering when he steps up. I like Held to earn himself a shot to become Poland’s second major MMA champion. Tony Johnson was once a decently touted heavyweight prospect, and while those days have passed, I think he can make life difficult for Volkov early in this bout. Eventually Volkov should find Johnson’s chin, or catch him with a sub after he tires, but I don’t have a ton of confidence in the Russian here, so I’ll stay away from a side, and perhaps only look at the O1.5.