Every week, the staff here at spike.com will be providing their picks and insights into the evening's event.
Back by popular demand! And by popular demand we mean a handful of guys on twitter with ten followers that called us all idiots last week.
Last week's card proved to be wickedly entertaining, especially with Alexander Shlemenko's dance moves and post-fight comments to a befuddled Jimmy Smith, who immediately tweeted Strangest...interview....EVER
. If by "strangest" you mean "most amazingest", then we're in completely agreement.
This week: Eduardo Dantas
looks to prove his critics wrong as he defends the Bellator Bantamweight Championship against last season's tournament winner and his former mentor, Marcos Galvão
. Plus, the Middleweight Tournament kicks off in grand fashion.
MAIN EVENT: BANTAMWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT
Eduardo Dantas (current champion) vs. Marcos Galvão
They've agreed to put aside their friendship for the sake of glory and championship gold. Who ya got?
Kevin Marshall (Writer):
Much has been made of Dantas's loss to Tyson Nam in Shoot Fight Brazil last August, especially since it was just after he'd won the Bantamweight Championship. But he had that fight well in hand until he charged forward without thinking and got caught with a counter. Maybe he got careless because the stakes were low, or maybe he just had a brainfart. It happens to the best of them. I'm sure, though, that he'll come into this a refocused and much smarter fighter. Galvão may have been his teacher at some point, but I think Dantas is the one that'll put on a clinic here.
Brian Dermody (Sr. Sports Writer):
After the bad night against Tyson Nam, you have to think Dantas is going to be picking his spots more carefully. I think this one goes to the cards, since the teammates are going to know one another's tricks – it's going to be the swordfight from "The Princess Bride", so it'll come down to who has more gas in the tank. Give me Dantas in a decision that fans won't argue.
Michael Roberts (Social Media Editor):
You couldn't ask for a better match up or back story with this one. Dantas had a roller coaster 2012 to say the least, but even the best fighters aren't perfect. My guess is that the young Dantas has learned and moved on from the Nam setback. Galvão is a prime example of a fighter who rises to the occasion and puts on career-best performances when he's counted out. It won't be easy by any stretch and it may not be pretty, but I'm picking Galvão to get it done.
Dustin Sussman (Sr. Content Producer):
Marcos Galvão By TKO
MIDDLEWEIGHT TOURNAMENT QUARTER-FINALS
This season's Middleweight Tournament kicks off just one week after Alexander Shlemenko put away Maiquel Falcao to become the new Bellator Middleweight Champion and, after that awesome post-fight interview in the cage, our new favorite fighter as well. Who will come out the winner and get a chance at the man who says he am face of Bellator now? Who want with belt? Come on with cage, guys!
Dan Cramer vs. Brian Rogers
Cramer's a fighter that's still improving and one that I think is going to be a legitimate contender. But Rogers, right now, is arguably in the top five at his weight in Bellator, if not the top three. Like every other tournament he's entered, this is his to lose. Cramer won't be easy for him to dispatch and will give him a tough fight, but I don't see it going into the third round.
I've got nothing against Cramer, but this is not going to be his night. Rogers just has more ways to win. For example, he's quite good at the "punching the other guy in the face" way, and unless Cramer can get somehow get Rogers on his back, we're going to see that particular way exhibited at a high level.
: The true one-shot KO power of Rogers is downright scary. He's look dominant in the Bellator cage, even controlling the majority of the action in his two defeats. Cramer is no slouch and possesses some impressive ground and pound, but he can't hang with Rogers' firepower on the feet and I think he'll have a tough time taking "The Predator" down. That's a quite the pickle to be in and I'm thinking this one gets added to Rogers' highlight reel.
Dan Cramer by decision
Brett Cooper vs. Norman Paraisy
Paraisy is a big, scary dude. He's exactly the type of guy that I look at and think, man, I'm so happy I write about this rather than actually doing it. But Cooper's not easily intimidated and is a much better fighter, in my opinion, than his record shows. Especially in the last couple years, where he's gone 6-1. I think his record of late and being on a bigger stage will make the difference here.
Of late, Cooper has beaten tougher guys than Paraisy has beaten. And fair or not, it's hard to shake the visual of Paraisy unwilling to answer the bell in an exhibition fight against Jim Hammortree. I see Cooper outlasting the Frenchman here, and then giving the Rogers/Cramer winner a hell of a fight.
Paraisy and Cooper both have experience with top level guys in the Bellator cage in Maiquel Falcao and Alexander Shlemenko, respectfully. While Cooper is certainly more than happy to exchange on the feet, his last outing showed he's also satisfied to use his wrestling and control fights on the ground. That intelligent approach matters, especially with a grueling tournament schedule ahead, and I'm picking Cooper in this one.
Norman Paraisy by KO
Doug Marshall vs. Andreas Spang
I hate to go against my namesake here, but we're not actually related so I don't feel too
bad about it. Marshall's a tough and dangerous fighter, but his drop to Middleweight has yielded mixed results. Perhaps that's putting it lightly, since he's either looked like a monster or just given it away. I think Spang is better at this weight, and this'll be his night.
However this goes, the real money is if you can find some dope to bet you that it'll go to the judges. I'm expecting a whole lot of kickboxing until one guy just falls over. Spang stays standing.
A recommendation for this one: don't blink. That was said about Marshall's Bellator debut, which he won in 22 seconds. Spang is a fellow striking fanatic and, as we found out in the Rogers fight, can absorb a tremendous amount of punishment and still deliver the knockout blow. Marshall's chin has failed him in the past and I think the "Sweet Swede" finds his button in this one.
Doug Marshall by Submission
Sultan Aliev vs. Mikkel Parlo
Note: this fight will be streamed live online at BellatorMMA.spike.com.
Both guys come into this as highly touted undefeated prospects. Both are good strikers with heavy hands, with Aliev having the size and reach advantage. He's also accustomed to fighting at 205, but I don't think the cut's going to be a problem. I'm going with Aliev.
Give me Aliev, but I'm not confident about this one. I think he's more likely to control the pace and where the fight takes place. He'll fight his fight, and that's almost always good enough to win it.
Two undefeated prospects with plenty of finishes throw down in this one. Aliev has the size advantage, but Parlo's experience and success in his debut under the bright lights makes me lean towards the Dane in this one.
Sultan Aliev by KO