Bellator 92 Picks: Middleweight Semi-Final Sultan Aliev (-290) vs. Doug Marshall (+210)

Bellator-89 Bellator 92 Pechanga Resort and Casino, Temecula, California, U.S. Thursday, March 7, 2013 Middleweight Semifinal Fight: Sultan Aliev (-290) vs. Doug Marshall (+210) Fight Breakdown: The Bellator Season 8 Middleweight Tournament continues with a semifinal matchup pitting slugger Doug Marshall against Sultan Aliev. Several Bookmakers currently has Aliev sitting as a -290 favorite (bet $290 to win $100), while Marshall is a +210 underdog (bet $100 to win $210). Aliev (9-0) is another one of these talented Russian prospects that Bellator keeps finding and putting in their tournaments. In the opening round of the middleweight tourney, Aliev defeated Mikkel Parlo via unanimous decision to move onto the semifinals. Aliev is a strong and powerful puncher who has six knockout wins to his credit despite having only competed in the sport for two years. However, in his Bellator debut vs. Parlo he was extremely passive and tentative, and barely scraped by. He has to be much more aggressive against Marshall or else he risks not only losing a decision, but getting knocked out too. Marshall (16-6) is the former WEC light heavyweight champion and seems to be finding his second wind in Bellator. In two Bellator fights Marshall has knocked out both Kala Hose and Andreas Spang in impressive fashion, and if he’s confident and his momentum carries through to his fight he definitely has a chance to pull off the upset. The 37-year old is an aggressive, heavy-handed striker and has been in the cage with the best of them, even defeating heavyweight Lavar Johnson back in the WEC. However, his chin has been suspect at times and he doesn’t always fight smart. He can win this fight against Aliev, but considering how inconsistent he is, he deserves to enter as the underdog. Fight Prediction: Doug Marshall is extremely agressive and I see him coming out of the game and storming Sultan Aliev, who fought passively in his Bellator debut, right off the bat. The fight is likely going to be a brawl and it’s going to end with someone’s head coming off, but I’m gonna take a stab at the upset and say it’s Marshall who connects with Aliev’s chin and knocks him out, moving onto the middleweight finals. Adam’s Pick: Marshall via TKO (click for latest MMA odds) Adam’s Recommended Play: Definitely a dog or pass situation. No way you can lay the juice on a prospect like Aliev, but at the same time is the aging Marshall really worth a play? I do think he has a better chance of winning than the line indicates, and I’ll pick him to win, but I wouldn’t go crazy betting wise, even though he is a juicy +210 underdog. I would say if you bet this fight you bet the under 1.5 rounds, which is currently sitting at -160, as I really don’t see it lasting very long regardless of the eventual victor.

Written by Adam Martin.

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