Bellator 109 Sneak Peek: Rick Hawn (-450) vs. Ron Keslar (+330)

bellator-85 One of four main card match-ups at Bellator 109 is the season nine welterweight tournament final between Rick Hawn and Ron Keslar. Hawn will be looking to win his second Bellator tournament, while this will be Keslar’s first time in a final. The current betting line for the bout at Several Bookmakers  sees Hawn as a -450 favorite (bet $450 to win $100) while Keslar is a +330 dog (bet $100 to win $330). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened Hawn up at -380 and Keslar at +260, meaning the early support from the betting public is behind the Bellator veteran Hawn. I agree with this early action, as I am also picking Hawn to win the fight. Here’s why. Hawn (17-2) has been nothing short of impressive in Bellator, going 9-2 overall in the promotion between the welterweight and lightweight divisions and winning a lightweight tournament title in the process. Although Hawn was submitted by Michael Chandler in that title fight, other than that loss Hawn has been pretty much flawless in the Bellator cage, save for a bad split decision loss to Jay Hieron that most observers believed was an error by the judges. The 37-year-old has shown in Bellator that not only is his judo top notch, but he has ridiculous KO power as well as he’s won four of his fights in the promotion via knockout. As far as fighters outside of the UFC go, I believe that Hawn ranks as one of the best welterweights/lightweights there is. Keslar (11-3) has looked very good in Bellator so far, defeating War Machine and Luis Melo as an underdog both times to make it to the finals of a Bellator tournament for the first time. But while there is some hype behind Keslar right now, I’m not sure it’s all that warranted. Yes, he has looked fantastic no doubt, but he’s also 33 years old and unlike Melo and Mr. Machine, who are both very flawed fighters, Hawn is about as well-rounded as it gets. As we’ve seen with Keslar, he does have a solid submission game, but I just can’t see how he gets a top-notch judo player to the ground, and that’s exactly what Hawn is. So I think it’s just a bad match-up for him. Hawn has been bet up to -450 by the public, and I can’t blame them. Realistically, I just can’t seem him losing this fight unless he hits Hawn with a fluke KO blow or wins a bad judges’ decision. I wouldn’t be betting Hawn straight here, but I do like him in a parlay with Tiger Sarnavskiy. I’m also looking at UNDER 2.5 rounds, which is only -125. Since I think Hawn wins this fight by TKO, I do see some value in that total. Either way though I definitely like Hawn here and I see a fight with him against Douglas Lima for the vacant welterweight title as one of the best match-ups Bellator can put together right now. Hopefully we’ll get to see that sometime in 2014.

Written by Adam Martin.

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