Bellator 86 Picks: Welterweight Title Fight Ben Askren (-450) vs. Karl Amoussou (+300)

BenAskren3-729084_crop_exact Bellator 86 WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma Thursday, January 24, 2013 Welterweight Title Fight: Ben Askren (-450) vs. Karl Amoussou (+300) Fight Breakdown: Ben Askren looks to defend his Bellator World Welterweight Title for the third time when he takes on Karl Amoussou, who won the Bellator season six welterweight tournament. If you’re looking for a stand-up bout that features back-and-forth action, look elsewhere because it’s quite likely this fight isn’t going to be very exciting. Askren (10-0) has proven himself to be one of the best welterweights in the world — we rank him in the top 10 at — but also one of the most unentertaining to watch. The 28-year-old American is one of the best wrestlers in MMA because he’s consistently able to get the takedown and frustrate opponents by controlling them on the ground, what Bellator commentator Jimmy Smith calls “death by 1000 cuts.” Sure, it ain’t pretty, but it’s effective, as we saw in his last outing against Douglas Lima, a fight that wasn’t even close. Askren has gone to six-straight decisions and has stated in the lead-up to this fight that he doesn’t mind going to a seventh, so if you’re expecting this fight to feature a highlight-reel finish look elsewhere. Askren’s key to victory is to get the takedown and not get subbed by Amoussou, and to avoid Amoussou’s standup attack when the fight is on the feet. If he’s able to do that, he will win. Amoussou (16-4-2) is a very talented and underrated fighter. The 27-year-old native of France has fought in promotions such as M-1, Pancrase, Dream and Strikeforce, and has been especially terrific in Bellator, going 4-1 during his tenure in the promotion including an incredible inverted heel hook victory over Bryan Baker to claim the tournament title. Amoussou is a well-rounded fighter but specializes in submissions, as he has nine career victories by tapout. However, he has often lost when he’s stepped up in competition, and Askren is going to be his toughest test to date. Amoussou’s key to victory is to defend Askren’s takedown and get a knockout on the feet, because if he gets taken down Askren is going to blanket him and it will be very difficult for him to sneak in a submission. Hopefully, the work he’s been putting in at American Top Team has helped him improve that aspect of his game, but in my opinion this is just a bad style matchup for Amoussou. Fight Prediction: Ben Askren is one of the best wrestlers in mixed martial arts, and we all know how hard it is to stop his takedowns. Karl Amoussou is a good fighter in his own right, but unless he’s developed some sort of super-human takedown defence he won’t be able to defend Askren’s shot. Askren is going to take Amoussou down and beat him up on the ground, but we’re probably going to see yet another decision from “Funky.” Adam’s Pick: Askren via unanimous decision (click for latest MMA odds) Adam’s Recommended Play: I can’t see Amoussou stuffing Askren’s takedowns so Askren should be a safe play for parlays.

Written by Adam Martin.

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