I love MMA, and I love Bellator, but can I just tell you how happy I am that this season is almost over? I don’t even remember what Fridays were like before this it got underway. With only one more event to follow this one, followed by a three event summer series and then a break until September, this effort is a little bittersweet how close we are to the end of this historic and fun season of fights. Anyway, enough seriousness, someone make some 69 jokes, and let’s breakdown tonight’s Bellator 69 card, shall we?
Mark Holata (11-3) vs. Abe Wagner (10-5)
In an heavyweight match up, heavy-handed Wagner looks to get back on track after a dismal 1-2 run over the last year. Perhaps best known for starching Tim Sylvia, he’s a tough guy to be put up against. He faces the tenacious Holata who managed to put together eight straight wins before he was put out by Ron Sparks. I am not really looking forward to this fight, but, it could be alright, I guess. All of Holata’s losses have come via TKO or KO, and given who has beaten him I expect he takes a nap.
Winner – Abe Wagner defeats Mark Holata via TKO Round 1
Richard Hale (18-4-1) vs. Josh Burns (6-5)
This feels to me like Bellator’s shot at building up Hale for another run in the light heavyweight tournament. He’s facing an ex-heavyweight in Burns and I’m expecting nothing short of a massacre.
Winner – Richard Hale defeats Josh Burns via Submission Round 2
Andrey Koreshkov (9-0) vs. Derrick Krantz (11-5)
Both these men are looking for their second straight Bellator win. Krantz is a well-rounded fighter that has shared cage time with notable fighters Rich Clementi and Dustin Poirier. While he tends to lack consistency, he is always dangerous, especially on the ground. I think “Spartan” is on another level though. The 21-year old Russian wisely avoided the M-1 Global route, and with a win tonight he could do big things in Bellator. He’ll get a TKO victory.
Winner – Andrey Koreshkov defeats Derrick Krantz via TKO Round 3
Booker Arthur (2-1) vs. Shanon Slack (3-0)
In a featured fight that is unlikely to be televised, the undefeated former Olympian Slack takes on the muscular Arthur. Arthur is more than capable of imposing his will on Slack, who has the advantage on the feet. Normally I’m not so high on regional MMA fights that appear on the Bellator undercards, but this is a damn good fight. I think at some point Arthur will put Slack on the ground, maybe even with strikes, and then make him tap. After all, Olympic wrestling is NOT MMA grappling.
Winner – Booker Arthur defeats Shanon Slack via Submission Round 2
Kalvin Hackney (11-2) vs. E.J. Brooks (6-0)
With half of his career wins coming under the Bellator banner, “The Pretty Boy” Brooks looks for his seventh straight win against “Hot Boy” Hackney. This is another very close fight on paper. If I had to pick, and I do, I’d say Hackney pulls it off in a bit of a lazy affair. I don’t see him winning a decision, so he’ll have to finish his foe.
Winner – Kalvin Hackney defeats E.J. Brooks via TKO Round 1
Josh Quayhagen (3-0) vs. Cliff Wright (6-2)
Bellator obviously sees something in Quayhagen, as he keeps coming back despite his less than exciting performances. He has tons of potential, and I’m happy they’re not handing him favorable match-ups. In Wright he faces a finisher. With all of his six victories coming by submission, the grappler most recently put Dakota Cochrane out cold in March. Quayhagen will understand adversity tonight, and I think it might be too much for him to overcome in this bout.
Winner – Cliff Wright defeats Josh Quayhagen via Submission Round 3
Ron Sparks (8-1) vs. Kevin Asplund (15-1)
In a heavyweight tournament eliminator, Bellator veteran Sparks looks to land some heavy leather as he faces fellow violence aficionado Asplund. This is one of those bouts that is just ridiculously hard to pick. Someone is going to sleep, likely quickly and likely violently. I’m going to call a knockout in the first round, and I’ll flip a coin for my selection.
Winner – Ron Sparks defeats Kevin Asplund via Knockout Round 1
MEGA MEGU!!!! The best female fighter in the entire world, who should rightfully be 26-0, returns to the Bellator cage for the first time since her incredibly controversial loss to Zoila Gurgel. The grappling expert can and will tap anybody out, likely with little to no effort. She faces highly touted Aguilar who is currently riding a four fight winning streak. No slouch on the ground herself, more than half of her wins come by submission. I see Megu being too much for Aguilar to handle, but I see the submission games of both ladies being negated by one another so this will go the distance.
Winner – Megumi Fujii defeats Jessica Aguilar via Unanimous Decision
Karl Amoussou (14-4-2) vs. David Rickels (10-0)
“Psycho” Amoussou is out for blood. It would appear as if he just really dislikes Rickels, as he does anyone he faces, and that will once again serve as his motivation for looking to destroy his opponent. With crazy power in his hands and a pretty successful ground game, Amoussou is nearly in possession of all the pieces he needs to become a serious force in the fight game. In “The Caveman”, he faces one of the best welterweight prospects outside of the UFC. He hasn’t faced anyone of note, and thus it’s hard to tell where he stands in terms of skills, but…he has a beard. I am just not sold on Amoussou, he has trouble keeping it together, and composure might be the key to victory in this bout. As such, I’m going with the upset special.
Winner – David Rickels defeats Karl Amoussou via Unanimous Decision
Maiquel Falcao (30-4) vs. Andreas Spang (8-1)
Well, it’s about time these fellas finally got to fight. This time, Jimmy Smith will be safely outside of the cage. I expect nothing short of a war in this bout, and with two strikers as good as this someone is getting finished. I believe Spang is the better technical striker, but, with how much he gets hit and with Falcao being on the other end of those fists, I think it’s a short night for Spang.
Winner – Maiquel Falcao defeats Andreas Spang via Knockout Round 1
For the second last time this season, Bellator airs live on Spike.com at 7:00 PM EST with some preliminary bouts with the main card going live at 8:00 on MTV 2, TheScore.com in Canada, or on Spike.com.
Enjoy the fights!
PHOTO CREDIT – BELLATOR