Bellator 180 Cards, Odds and Picks
Bellator makes its Big Apple debut with its biggest card in history featuring MMA legends and three championship fights all beginning at 6:00 PM ET. On the main PPV card, dubbed “Bellator NYC”, longtime bitter rivals Wanderlei Silva finally gets his hands on Chael Sonnen.
MMA’s greatest heavyweight, Fedor Emelianenko co-mains against legend killer Matt Mitrione while welterweight champion Douglas Lima defends against red-hot contender Lorenz Larkin and two-time lightweight champ Michael Chandler takes on surging prospect Brent Primus…
Wanderlei Silva vs Chael Sonnen
The history between Silva and Sonnen go back to 2010 when Sonnen, then fighting Anderson Silva, insulted Brazil, both Silvas’ home country. The two were booked in twice in 2013 and 2014 and even coached opposite each other in the TV series “The Ultimate Final Fighter” where the two brawled on set after Silva forced Sonnen to apologize and he refused. But no official fight materialized. Until now. There is no love lost when the two go toe-toe in a clash of styles that is sure to be unpredictable.
|Light Heavyweight Main Event|
|Wanderlei Silva||vs||Chael Sonnen|
|205 Ibs||Weight||205 Ibs|
This is a clash of styles: the archetypal “striker versus grappler”. Silva, owing up to his nickname “The Axe Murderer” fights with an old school brawler mentality while Sonnen is a calculated wrestler. Silva will be fighting off emotion while Sonnen will approach this technically.
Despite the smack talk, this may end up being a one-sided affair for either fighter and could potentially drag out to a sloppy affair if it goes over two rounds. Sportsbooks offer an over/under for rounds and the over 1.5 rounds (+135) is something to consider.
The likely scenario here is Sonnen quickly takes Silva to the ground and pounds him out to a stoppage. If Sonnen stays standing for long periods, Silva can knock him out or hurt him badly. But Silva’s gas tank will be limited to the first two rounds or so and Sonnen for not much longer especially with his more tiring style. Sonnen has a clear path to victory and his only loss to a striker came against the other Silva. If he fights smart, this is his fight to lose.Chael Sonnen (-150) PLAY NOW
Matt Mitrione vs Fedor Emelianenko
He’s back. “The Last Emperor” shocked MMA fans everywhere when Fedor signed with Bellator late in 2016. He was set to fight Mitrione in February early this year but kidney stones forced Mitrione to pull out at the last minute. The bout was rescheduled here and has only given both fighters more time to train. Fedor hasn’t looked good since coming out of retirement.
He squashed the inexperienced Jaideep Singh and won a highly controversial decision against Fabio Maldonado. Mitrione, on the other hand, is coming off two impressive TKO wins.
|Heavyweight Main Event|
|Matt Mitrione||vs||Fedor Emelianenko|
|255 Ibs||Weight||225 Ibs|
Both Fedor and Mitrione are exciting heavyweights who hit hard and have serious knockout potential. The under 1.5 (-170) seems like a no-brainer but there’s also a chance they have a staring contest as they feel each other out. Both haven’t fought in at least 11 months.
While the two are exciting, they have serious flaws to expose that could lead to their early demise. Fedor is shopworn and has no chin left while Mitrione is defenseless on the ground. The first mistake from either fighter could spell their end.
Fedor’s clearest path to victory is by taking Mitrione down and ground-and-pounding him. The Russian is primarily a striker but is equally as vicious on the ground. He will be giving up a big size advantage however as Mitrione is four-inches taller and at least 25 pounds heavier but so long as Fedor finds Mitrione’s chin, he can hurt him.
Mitrione is tough as stone and only Roy Nelson and Travis Browne have finished him by strikes in 16 fights. Unless Fedor hits plus odds, Mitrione is the better bet here.Matt Mitrione (-120) PLAY NOW
Lorenz Larkin vs Douglas Lima
From a competitive perspective, this is the best fight on the card. Both Larkin and Lima are welterweight studs in their prime and are 4-1 in their last five fights with losses coming by decision. Lima is the reigning champion but is a decided underdog.
Larkin is coming to Bellator with a lot of fanfare. He’s the rare UFC fighter who leaves the promotion while being ranked and on a winning streak. This will be a striking clinic and a back-and-forth is likely pitting Lima’s diverse attacks against Larkin’s speed.
|Welterweight Title Fight|
|Lorenz Larkin||vs||Douglas Lima|
|170 Ibs||Weight||170 Ibs|
Lima has long been renowned as one of the best welterweights not in the UFC and his only loss in the last five years came while he was recovering from injury and a long layoff. He avenged that loss with a one-punch knockout of Andrey Koreshkov to win back his title. Larkin lost a close decision to Tumenov but that was sandwiched by a pair of impressive victories including three T/KOs. His explosiveness and vicious leg kicks may be the difference maker here unless Lima can nullify it.
If Lima is 100%, he’ll need to move and utilize his diverse attacks in both striking and in the clinch. Standing in the pocket with Larkin is asking for trouble as “Monsoon” has the speed advantage but Lima has the big fight experience and can look to mix up his striking and clinch work to wear out Larkin. But the leg kicks from Larkin will be plentiful and could take the wind out of the champion long enough him to leave him open to Larkin’s quick and powerful hands. “And new!”Lorenz Larkin (-200) PLAY NOW
Brent Primus vs Michael Chandler
After a rough stretch from late 2013 to 2014, which saw Chandler drop three in a row, the current Bellator lightweight champion has won four in a row in impressive fashion. Chandler knocked out longtime Bellator vet Patricky Freire in highlight reel fashion to win back his belt then proceeded to handle former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson in his first title defense.
Primus is a relatively young prospect-turned-contender who specialized in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He is facing a nightmare matchup but his skills on the mat should earn him some respect.
|Lightweight Title Fight|
|Brent Primus||vs||Michael Chandler|
|155 Ibs||Weight||155 Ibs|
This is a straightforward match: Chandler should roll. A submission from Primus notwithstanding, Chandler should have his way with the unbeaten fighter. Primus will be hard-pressed to control Chandler on the mat which is the NCAA Division I wrestler’s strength. And on their feet, Chandler is the more polished and heavier handed fighter. In almost every facet, Chandler has Primus beat.
A straight bet on Chandler is inadvisable but he makes good parlay material with another fighter like Larkin cutting the odds to -145.Michael Chandler (-800) PLAY NOW
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