Speaking candidly, tonight's Bellator card is not good. At least on paper, anyway. There are some decent preliminary card fights and I always find it rewarding to watch Pitbull compete, but the card itself leaves a lot to be desired.
In any case, tonight features the semifinals of the featherweight tournament with a lightweight and light heavyweight feature fight to boot.
Can Pitbull move to the finals and get another crack at Pat Curran? Can Justin Wilcox keep up his run after his miraculous turnaround in the quarterfinals? I answer these questions and more with predictions for Friday's fights.
What: Bellator 103
Where: Kansas Star Arena, Wichita, KS
When: Friday, the six-fight preliminary card starts at 7 p.m. ET on Spike.com. The five-fight main card starts on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET.
Fabricio Guerrero vs. Patricio Friere
It's actually quite a shame Pat Curran gets so much of the attention as 'the' featherweight of Bellator. It's not that he doesn't deserve it. He most certainly does. But he gets such a spotlight that people forget just what a talent Pitbull is. The guy can basically do it all at this point and in some cases, do it better than most. I like Guerrero's upside, but it's not clear to me what part of the game he's going to be able to use to lord over Pitbull. He's got a decent guard, but I don't think that's going to get the job done. Pitbull should cruise here.
I like Taimanglo, but he's badly outsized at featherweight. That's especially the case with a featherweight the size of Wilcox. Anything is possible and Taimanglo is a scrappy guy, but I have a hard time believing he's going to be doing much but defending and winging punches in a losing effort.
For all of his caveman shtick, Rickels is actually a decent combination puncher. But more than anything else, he's relentlessly offensive. From guard, he's trying to work back to his feet or sweep/submit. On his feet, he's pressing forward with strikes. And as a consequence, he creates openings or opportunities that otherwise would not be there.
This is a blow out in terms of odds, but I tend to think Rosa is at least tough enough to go the distance. I generally just expect the Russian to pressure while Rosa counter fights without much direction.