Bellator isn't exactly throwing a huge celebration for what is a pretty impressive milestone in the organization's history, but no bother. They've put together a decent card with nothing but welterweights, both a number-one contender's bout (potentially a title bout) and the quarterfinals of their latest division tourney.
Can Douglas Lima repeat his success against friend Ben Saunders? Who will advance to the semi-finals of the Bellator welterweight tournament? I answer these questions and more with my predictions for Friday's fights.
What: Bellator 100
Where: Grand Canyon University Arena, Phoenix, AZ
When: Friday, the seven-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.
Saunders isn't just one of Bellator's better fighters, he's something of a fan favorite. That's a reputation he's earned by being, on balance, fairly exciting. His guard is aggressive, everyone knows about his clinch game and he's all too happy to strike from the outside. Lima might not share Saunders' reputation, but he's clearly the superior fighter of the two. That isn't to say Lima is somehow boring. He's not. I'm just trying to underscore that Saunders might garner fan sentiment, it is Lima who is the better of the two in basically every dimension of the game. It's hard to see a way the Brazilian loses here.
Brent Weedman vs. Justin Baseman
Baseman isn't a terrible fighter, but he is one who has really only experienced success at the regional level of the game. Weedman isn't necessarily ideal at welterweight, but is well-rounded and talented enough to drop fights to more established, upper echelon fighters. Whatever challenges Baseman presents, there's nothing he has that Weedman hasn't seen and likely overcome before.
I confess to not knowing much about Anderson's game, but his resume is filled with fights in China, Taiwan, Australia and other territories in South East Asia. That doesn't give me a ton of confidence about his experience. Nor does his age at 35. War Machine isn't a complete fighter and has plenty of issues, but still has (relative) youth on his size, probably an athleticism edge and more. I'll side with the known commodity.
Pick: War Machine
This fight could get a bit interesting. Hawn should be able to make Terrado wary of his distancing and control the fight in those in-between spaces, but the reality is both guys pack a serious punch. Both are physical for the weight class, although Hawn might be a shade undersized. The key for Hawn is whether he can get Terrado to second guess himself and his choices to cut down on his accuracy and power punching. If he does that, the fight is his to lose.
This one is a little harder to call. Neither is anything to write home about in any one particular area, but Melo does hold one key advantage: experience. He showed competent grappling in his Bellator debut, both on offense and defense. I wasn't overly impressed with his striking or wrestling, but he seems to have an understanding of doing just enough to get the job done. I'm not confident about this pick, but I'll give the nod to the more veteran fighter of the two.