With the UFC having taken an extended break, Bellator has been capitalizing on this lapse with their own brand of MMA programming. Bellator 65 will feature matches across several tournament brackets, and a title bout that should make for a great night of action. So, let’s take a short look at what we have in store this Friday.
Lyman Good vs. LeVon Maynard: The original Welterweight tournament champion, Lyman Good has stayed true to the promotion since the beginning. While not in the tournament this time around, he still makes an appearance this Friday, taking on newcomer and journeyman fighter LeVon Maynard. If you were to compare records, you might think this is going to be a blow-out, but you might just be wrong as well. Despite an unimpressive 12-8 record, Maynard brings crisp striking with fast leg strikes, as well as a surprisingly dangerous submission game that has caught more than a few fighters unawares. Good himself specializes in his karate-based striking, and this is shaping up to be a serious scrap. I expect Maynard to have a strong showing, but the superior conditioning and clinch control of Good will lead him to a decision win.
Marcos Galvao vs. Ed West: Luck has definitely not been on Marcos Galvao’s side in his Bellator career, but ever a fighter, he’s returning to the tournament format to work his way to the title. His opponent is ever-improving Ed West, who brings an ultra-exciting kickboxing style to the cage, along with a wild grappling style. Hitting the mat should be the last thing on West’s mind though, as Galvao’s world-class BJJ game makes him a nightmare to deal with if you fall within arm’s reach of him. This could be a great cat-and-mouse style match-up, as West works his outside striking to keep Galvao at bay, while Galvao will need his looping punches to force some respect out of West and close distance. In a tight bout, West’s pace should snag him enough points on the scorecards to hand Galvao another split decision loss in a tough match.
Mike Corey vs. Daniel Straus: A bit of a surprise in the Featherweight tournament, Mike Corey managed to pummel UK fighter Ronnie Mann to advance. His opponent isn’t an easy draw though, as the massive Daniel Straus will look to impose himself on the much smaller fighter. Corey has the superior top game of the two, but getting this fight into his world will be the problem, as Straus’ speed and bulk will stuff Corey time and again. Look for a late TKO or decision win, as Straus bullies Corey with fast hands and suffocating clinch control.
Luis Nogueira vs. Alexis Vila: This is a story of two grapplers, as Brazilian national wrestling champion Luis Nogueira takes on Cuban wrestling legend Alexis Vila. Nogueira has shown he’s more than a one-trick pony, as he brings a serviceable kickboxing game to help him set up his shots and keep opponents guessing. Vila himself has developed a simple but brutally effective boxing arsenal, having landed crushing blows on several opponents in Bellator, most notably in his one-punch KO of Joe Warren. While Nogueira is certainly the better striker, his wrestling isn’t nearly sharp enough to keep him safe from the brute force of Vila’s takedowns. An entertaining first round turns into two rounds of top control and punishment, as Vila grinds down and wears out Nogueira en-route to a decision win.
Eduardo Dantas vs. Zach Makovsky: Defending champion Zach Makovsky will bring his 135lb strap to the cage and face hot prospect in the young Eduardo Dantas. Dantas made waves right off the bat with his stunning KO of Wilson Reis in the opening bout, and worked his way through hard-fought battles for this opportunity. The question will be if his wrestling defense and scrambles are enough to stop the high-paced assault of Zach Makovsky. This is a tough match-up to call as Dantas timing with his knees is impeccable. Even so, Makovsky has enough variety in his takedowns and masterful positioning to decisively stop Dantas’ offense and grab a decision win, retaining the title.
Bellator 65 takes places at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey and will stream live on Spike.com with the main called being televised live on MTV2.