If there’s a God, he certainly does not like Bellator’s heavyweight division.
After a low-blow that resulted in a no contest, followed by Eric Prindle calling in sick to work last week, things again went haywire this past week. Bellator 62 main event fighter Lloyd Woodward may be known as “Cupcake”, but perhaps Thiago Santos will make claim to the nickname as he weighed in an astounding 11 lbs over the heavyweight limit.
Eric Prindle was automatically granted the victory and therefore the $100,000 tournament victory prize. No word yet on when Prindle will be granted his Bellator Heavyweight Championship bout against Cole Konrad.
All four of the lightweight semi-finalists put on impressive performances. Thiago Michel squeaked out a close decision, showing impressive striking prowess as well as surprising position escapes on the mat.
Brent Weedman thoroughly dominated J.J Ambrose and his well-rounded style makes him a threat against anyone else in the tournament.
Rick Hawn continues to prove he has devastating knockout power. The former welterweight tournament finalist is my pick to continue on and win the tournament here. His Olympic Judo background combined with his boxing make him nearly unstoppable in the cage and I do not believe it’s a coincidence that Bellator decided to have Michael Chandler step into the commentary booth for this bout.
Lloyd Woodard pulled off the huge upset against the self destructive Patricky Freire showing great wrestling and ground and pound en route to the violent kimura victory.
This week, Bellator 63 is brought to us from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. On the card are the quarterfinal bouts of the intriguing welterweight tournament. The tournament features long-time Bellator veterans, former UFC stars, and newcomers looking to prove their worth.
It`s an explosive tournament that should feature plenty of action and keep fans begging for more.
Karl Amoussou (13-4-2) vs. Chris Lozano (9-2-0)
It takes a special person to be known as “Psycho” in the land of martial arts. Karl Amoussou has an ability to deliver violence that most can only dream about. He may not always win, but he is always entertaining and the perfect fighter to have kick off a tournament in the right way.
Amoussou is 1-1 under the Bellator banner and is coming off an ultra-impressive TKO over Jesus Martinez in June. His vicious go-for-broke striking is intensity personified, but it often leaves him with little left in the tank as third round approaches. His submission game is also impressive, and he’s shown an ability to submit from both top and bottom.
Chris Lozano is a D-1 level wrestler who has added some devastating knockout power to his arsenal to round out his game. UFC veteran Yoshiyuki Yoshida was brought in to test potential tournament prospects fresh off his UFC run, and was thoroughly dominated by Lozano leading to a stoppage for the “Cleveland Assassin.” Since then, Lozano has gone 3-2 but still only has a 1-2 Bellator record.
Despite this, Lozano’s wrestling should be a difference maker in the fight. Lozano’s only losses are to former welterweight tournament winners Lyman Good and Douglas Lima. Although Amoussou has a judo background, it likely won’t be enough to keep the bout standing. I expect Lozano to grind out a decision. However, it’s certainly possible that Amoussou catches a submission or a knockout.
Raul Amaya (9-0-0) vs. Ben Saunders (12-4-2)
On paper, this is the least competitive bout of the first round. Ben Saunders has been in the cage with some of the best welterweights in the world. The devastating striker has gone 3-1 under the Bellator banner only losing by upset to Douglas Lima in the last welterweight tournament final.
Saunders will be focused on proving that the loss to Lima was indeed an upset. This is certainly his tournament to lose.
Raul Amaya brings well rounded skills to the cage, but a serious lack of experience, quality opponents and a massive size disadvantage (Amaya should likely be a lightweight) all point to Amaya being in trouble in the cage.
I expect Saunders to dominate and work hard to make a statement. Saunders was long criticized for his lack of wrestling and inability to control where a fight takes place. We’ll see if he’s addressed these issues and if he’s ready to show his skills.
Jordan Smith (17-2-0) vs. David Rickels (9-0-0)
Brian Foster is out, Jordan Smith is in. That’s the story coming out of this last week as Foster was deemed medically ineligible to compete. On one hand, this is great for Jordan Smith. The young kid, who has proven his worth and is absolutely deserving of the opportunity, will get a chance to show his skills on his biggest stage yet.
On the other hand, will we see a Jordan Smith in top condition? Will he be ready to go three grueling rounds on two week’s notice? We’ll see.
Smith has not fought since November, where he defeated Josh McDonald. The former light-heavyweight is well rounded with seven knockouts and seven submissions.
Speaking of submissions, Rickels definitely is the submission specialist in this one. With nine victories, he has six submissions.
With that in mind, this could be a battle of styles. Rickels will be outmatched on the feet, but his submission game is lethal. Smith’s biggest battle might be cardio, as his experience and well-rounded skills should give him a major advantage.
Bryan Baker (16-3-0) vs. Carlos Pereira (33-9-0)
When you look through Bellator history, few names appear more frequently than Bryan Baker. He is a veteran of Bellator and the tournament format, this being his third. He’s a former finalist and semi-finalist and knows what it takes to be successful.
Now, Baker has decided to try his luck at welterweight and the size advantage could prove to be the difference for Baker. His size advantage will help him keep things on the feet where he should have a big advantage over most opponents he comes across.
Carlos Pereira is the definition of a veteran. With over 40 fights and a decade of experience, no one else in the tournament has the longevity of Pereira. In his 40 fights, 33 are wins and 22 of those were knockouts. To his credit, Pereira is 15-1-1 in his last 17.
This should be a stand-up affair, without question. I’d be shocked to see anything other than a knockout one way or the other. Baker is my pick, but this one could go either way.