Bellator 87 Picks: Lightweight Quarterfinal Fight Lloyd Woodard (-115) vs. David Rickels (-115)

David-Rickels-hs Bellator 87 Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort, Mount Pleasant, Michigan Thursday, January 31, 2013 Lightweight Quarterfinal Fight: Lloyd Woodard (-115) vs. David Rickels (-115) Fight Breakdown: The co-main event of Bellator 87 features a lightweight tournament quarterfinal bout between Lloyd Woodard, who was a semifinalist in the season six lightweight tourney, and David Rickels, who was a semifinalist in the season six welterweight tourney. Both men opened as favorites at -115 (bet $115 to win $100) so this is a Pick ’em fight. Something to keep in mind is that Rickels’ last fight was at a catchweight of 160lbs, so this fight marks his official lightweight debut. Woodard (12-2) hasn’t fought since Bellator 66 last April, when he was knocked out by eventual lightweight tournament winner Rick Hawn. He’s best known for his bout against Patricky “Pitbull” Freire, when he snapped the Brazilian’s arm with a kimura. Woodard is an aggressive fighter who likes to move forward and he likes to finish fights. His problem, though, is that he’s not very technical and he leaves openings in both his striking and takedown defence, and it’s something that Hawn exploited in his last fight. Woodard is a talented fighter but you have to wonder what shape he’s going to show up in for this fight considering he hasn’t fought in nine months, so it’s likely he’s going to experience some of the dreaded ring rust. Rickels (11-1) is making the drop down to 155 after a somewhat successful career as a welterweight, where he went 10-0 to start his career before losing a contentious split decision to Karl Amoussou at Bellator 69. Rickels then decided to drop to 155, and in his last outing defeated David Fischer at 160lbs, so he’s gained some experience in cutting weight. He was already a decent-sized welterweight so at lightweight I expect him to be massive, but mwatch the weigh-ins to make sure the weight cut went smoothly, because if it doesn’t then he’ll likely gas hard during the fight. Ultimately I think he’s just going to be a lot bigger than Woodard and I think his size and power, along with his overall aggressive style, is going to be the difference in this fight. Fight Prediction: I think this fight is going to be a slugfest for as long as it lasts. Between the two of these fighters, 18 of their 23 fights have ended via submission or T/KO, and I don’t expect it to be a different case here as both men are very aggressive. Ultimately I think Woodard is going to leave an opening and Rickels is going to capitalize on it, finishing off his foe and advancing to the next round of the Bellator Lightweight Tournament. Adam’s Pick: Rickels via TKO (click for latest MMA odds) Adam’s Recommended Play: This fight is a Pick ’em for a reason, so don’t go too crazy on it. I favour Rickels slightly and feel he may be worth a small stab around -115, but watch the line movement because he could drop to a + underdog and at that point there would definitely be more value.

Written by Adam Martin.

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