What: Bellator 48
When: Saturday, the MTV2 televised card begins at 9 PM ET.
Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut
Predictions on the four televised fights below.
Pat Curran vs. Marlon Sandro
The summer featherweight tournament has been a lot of fun, and this is probably the best final we could have gotten: Sandro is a dangerous striker and a lot of fun to watch, but he'll be challenged by Curran, who previously won a Bellator lightweight tournament and looks great after dropping 10 pounds.
So how does this one go down? I wouldn't be shocked if Curran uses his superior size and wrestling to take Sandro down repeatedly and grind out a decision, but I think it's more likely that they stay standing, Sandro lands the more significant strikes, and Sandro takes the decision.
Beating Curran would strengthen Sandro's claim to being the best featherweight outside the UFC and set up some more big Bellator fights in the future, against either the promotion's featherweight champion, Joe Warren, or against the winner of Bellator's last featherweight tournament, Patricio "Pitbull" Freire.
Cole Konrad vs. Paul Buentello
Although this is a non-title fight, Buentello is the toughest test to date for Konrad, Bellator's heavyweight champion. Konrad has never faced anyone with Buentello's experience, and if Buentello is in shape and motivated, his punching power could cause some problems for Konrad.
But Konrad is a great wrestler who won the NCAA heavyweight title, and I don't think Buentello's takedown defense will be good enough to stay off his back. Look for Konrad to take Buentello down in all three rounds and stay on top of him long enough to grind out a fairly boring decision.
Ricco Rodriguez vs. Seth Petruzelli
Rodriguez won the UFC heavyweight championship by beating Randy Couture in 2002, then went through a long period of losing big fights and getting into trouble outside the cage. But over the last couple years he has appeared to get his head screwed on straight, and he's currently on a 12-fight winning streak.
But none of the 12 men Rodriguez has beaten in his current streak are as good as Petruzelli, who's best known for beating Kimbo Slice in a nationally televised EliteXC bout. Petruzelli is a good enough striker that he could give Rodriguez trouble standing up, but Rodriguez will have a big advantage on the ground and should be able to submit Petruzelli.
Juan Barrantes vs. Renê Nazare
Nazare is a very accomplished Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioner who's 9-0 as a professional MMA fighter. The 7-5 Barrantes isn't in Nazare's league and won't last long.