What: Bellator XXXIX
When: Saturday, the MTV2 televised card starts at 9 PM ET
Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut
Predictions on the four televised fights below.
Eddie Alvarez vs. Pat Curran
Curran earned his shot against Alvarez by winning Bellator's Season 2 lightweight tournament, but he's been out of action for 10 months because of a shoulder injury. Curran has knockout power in his hands, which means that if he stands and trades with Alvarez there's a chance he could pull off a major upset. And he also has an underrated ground game, which means he could be a threat to take Alvarez down and give him trouble on the ground. But the most likely scenario is that they stand and trade and Alvarez does what he does best, putting on a show in the stand-up department and finishing Curran in a one-sided beatdown.
Rick Hawn vs. Lyman Good
The first semifinal fight in Bellator's welterweight tournament should be a very exciting one. Hawn is a former judo Olympian who has a 10-0 MMA record, while Good is the former Bellator welterweight champ who is looking to get the belt back. I see these two coming into the fight with similar game plans, both wanting to take the other down, establish top position and finish the fight with ground and pound. I think Good has a slightly better all-around MMA game and more ways to win, so I'll pick him to win a fight that could go either way.
Toby Imada vs. Patricky "Pitbull" Freire
Imada is the submission specialist who put Bellator on the map with his inverted triangle that became MMA's No. 1 viral video of 2009. But while Imada has 20 submission wins in his MMA career, none of them is against a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt with Freire's ground game. I like Pitbull to beat Imada by decision.
Ben Saunders vs. Matt Lee
I've always enjoyed Saunders' fighting style and was disappointed when the UFC dropped him after back-to-back losses in 2010. Saunders is a great addition for Bellator, a guy who's experienced and well-known to UFC fans but still young enough (27) that he has room for improvement. Lee has been around forever and fought all over the world, and he could give Saunders a tough time, especially in the stand-up department. But I expect Saunders to wear Lee down and eventually finish him.