Five Reasons to Watch Bellator 137

61f9e7fc98b11beda1f7427d58379565Bellator 137 emanates from the Pechanga Resort & Casino, in Temecula, California this Friday night. While the middleweight championship takes centre stage in the main event, two bantamweight bouts on the main card could have major implications for the 135 pound division. Here are five reasons to watch Bellator 137. The Bull looks aims to squash Da Spyder Newly crowned middleweight champion Brandon “Bull” Halsey makes the first defence of his title when he meets Ultimate Fighter Season 3 winner Kendall Grove. The 28-year old champion (8-0) dethroned former middleweight kingpin Alexander Shelmenko in his last fight at Bellator 126, ending a nearly two year title run by the Russian. Grove (21-14 NC) is coming off a win over former Bellator light heavyweight champion Christian M’Pumbu, at Bellator 127 last October – his third victory in his last four fights.  Despite Grove boasting the experience factor heading into this one – having 36 career bouts compared to Halsey’s 8 – Halsey is a former NCAA Division 1 wrestler and has slick jiu-jitsu game. There is plenty of bad blood heading into this one, with Grove claiming Halsey is “juiced up guy”, so fans can expect an all out war between these two rivals.   Title Implications?  Two of the best bantamweight fighters outside the UFC face off in the co-main event, as former Bellator 135 pound champion Eduardo Dantas squares off with Mike “The Marine” Richman. The 26-year-old Dantas lost his championship belt in his last bout at Bellator 128, coming up short in a decision loss to Joe Warren this past October. Dantas (16-4) looks to avoid back to back losses for the first time in his career. Richman (18-5) meanwhile has remained undefeated since dropping to the bantamweight division in last year, notching two first round knockouts over Ed West and Nam Phan. It’s no secret “The Marine” will want to keep this fight on the feet and look for the knockout, while the Nova Uniao product will want to take this fight to the canvas and earn his seventh victory by submission. That’s easier said than done though, as through his 23-fight career, the 29-year old American has never been submitted. In all likelihood the winner of this matchup will take on current champion Marcos Galvao for the Bellator bantamweight title.   Staying Undefeated Pinnacle MMA product Darrion Caldwell looks to keep his unblemished record in tact when he faces off with Bellator Summer Series tournament winner Rafael Silva. Caldwell (6-0) makes the drop to bantamweight for the first time in his career and will have a significant height and reach advantage going into this fight.  With just six fights in his career, facing off with a former title challenger in Silva is a huge step up in competition. Silva (22-4) had his 13-fight win streak snapped last year, when he lost to Joe Warren by unanimous decision at Bellator 118, but recently rebounded in a win over Rob Emerson this past October at Bellator 127. With the bantamweight division wide open at the moment, the winner of this matchup could be close to a title shot.   Gonzalez going for Gold Strikeforce and WEC veteran Fernando Gonzalez looks for his fourth win in a row as he meets 27-year old Curtis Millender. The 31-year old Gonzalez (23-13) has remained undefeated since his Bellator debut last July, taking out the likes of Karl Amoussou, Karo Parisyan and Marius Žaromskis in the process. Millender (7-1) suffered the first loss of his career in his last fight against Brendan Ward this past February at Bellator 134, and looks to steal the thunder from his American counterpart. Should Gonzalez earn another victory in the Bellator cage, it’s possible he could leapfrog Paul Daley and become the next challenger to the winner of the upcoming title fight between Douglas Lima and Andrey Koreshkov on July 17th.   Prospect Watch  A pair featherweight prospects face off the preliminary portion of the card as Jordan “Pretty Boy” Parsons battles Brazilian Julio Cesar Neves Jr. Parsons (8-1) is coming off a highlight reel victory over Tim Bazer at Bellator 117, but has been sidelined this past year due to injury. Neves Jr. (30-0) looks for his third straight victory in Bellator and boasts 27 career finishes on his 30 fight resume. Neither of these fighters are afraid to stand and trade, but both combatants have also shown they are  also well versed on the mat. With contenders Pat Curran and Daniel Strauss both losing to current featherweight kingpin Patrico “Pitbull” Freire recently, the winner of this prelim matchup could be situated nicely in the 145 pound title picture.   Here’s the full lineup of Bellator 137 Main Card 185lbs- Brandon Halsey (8-0) vs. Kendall Grove (21-14) (Middleweight Championship)  135lbs- Eduardo Dantas (16-4) vs. Mike Richman (18-5) 170lbs- Fernando Gonzalez (23-13) vs. Curtis Millender (7-1) 135lbs- Darrion Caldwell (6-0) vs. Rafael Silva (22-4) Preliminary Card 185lbs- Ben Reiter (15-0-1) vs. AJ Matthews (7-3) 205lbs- Razak Al-Hassan (12-4) vs. Virgil Zwicker (13-4-1) 135lbs- Joe Taimanglo (20-6-1) vs. Antonio Duarte (18-5) 145lbs- Julio Cesar Neves Jr (30-0) vs. Jordan Parsons (10-1) 170lbs- Jesse Juarez (22-9) vs. Ricky Rainey (10-3) 135lbs- John Yoo (0-0) vs. Albert Morales (1-0) 135lbs- Shawn Bunch (3-1) vs. Rolando Perez (7-4-2) 155lbs- Steve Kozola (5-0) vs. Ian Butler (1-1) 135lbs- AJ Jenkins (17-5) vs. Arlene Blencowe (5-4)

Written by James Lynch

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