Bellator 95 Picks: Middleweight Final Brett Cooper (-300) vs. Doug Marshall (+250)

Brett Cooper 2 Bellator 95 Revel, Atlantic City, NJ Thursday, April 4, 2013 Middleweight Final: Brett Cooper (-300) vs. Doug Marshall (+250) Fight Breakdown: A check for $100,000 and a shot at Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko is on the line as Brett Cooper and Doug Marshall square off in the finals of the Bellator Season 8 Middleweight Tournament. Cooper is currently a -300 betting favorite (bet $300 to win $100) to win at Several Bookmakers, while the comeback on the underdog Marshall is +250 (bet $100 to win $250). Cooper (19-7) made it to the finals of the tournament with his KO win over Dan Cramer in the semifinals and his decision victory over Norman Paraisy in the quarterfinals. Cooper may seem like a long-time veteran of the sport as he first rose to prominence in the IFL and in Affliction but he’s only 25 years old. The winner of six-straight fights, Cooper is a very solid wrestler who has been helped a lot by working with Mark Munoz at Reign Training Center, but it’s his power that is his best weapon, as he’s won 12 fights via knockout, including wins over Joe Doerksen, Rory Markham and Sergio Moraes. Cooper also has a very good chin and is very durable, so if his chin holds up (and it should) this is a very good matchup for him against a power puncher who gasses like Marshall. Marshall (17-6) made it to the finals with upset victories over Sultan Aliev and Andreas Spang. The 37-year-old California native is currently riding a three-fight win streak and overall has won four of his last five fights — including three of those wins coming via T/KO — so it appears as though he has found the fountain of youth late in his career. The former WEC light heavyweight champion, Marshall is an extremely powerful puncher who holds notable knockout victories over Lavar Johnson, Kala Hose, and Keith Barry, among others. However, while Marshall’s Muay Thai attack is awesome, his wrestling is fairly weak and if he can’t stop the takedowns of Cooper, he’s going to have a very difficult time winning this fight. Fight Prediction: Yes, Marshall can hit hard but Cooper has a very solid chin and I don’t see him getting finished here, and if the fight is decided by wrestling, this will be Cooper’s fight all day. I see Cooper getting the takedowns consistently but unlike Marshall’s last opponent Aliev, Cooper will actually do damage on the ground. Although I wouldn’t be shocked to see a late stoppage when Marshall gasses, it’s more likely that Cooper controls his opponent for all three rounds and wins a unanimous decision. Adam’s Pick: Cooper via decision (click for latest MMA odds) Adam’s Recommended Play: I’ve picked and bet on Marshall and Cooper throughout this tournament so I think I have a pretty good read on this fight, and I see it going in Cooper’s favor. Although -300 is high, it’s justified, and I think that Cooper is a relatively safe parlay play with either another favorite from this card or with a team/player from another sport, but I’ll leave that up to you who you want to parlay him with. Frodo Khasbulaev is an option.

Written by Adam Martin.

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