Bellator's sixth season is nearing its completion, but there are still a couple of events to go. Tonight offers us a conclusion to the middleweight tournament, a continuation of the welterweight tournament, a bout between who are arguably the world's number one and two female strawweights and a season seven heavyweight tournament qualifying match. Oh, and if you're into prospects, keep an eye out for Andrey Koreshkov. He's arguably the top welterweight prospect outside of Zuffa.
When: Friday, the MTV2-televised card begins at 8 p.m. Eastern on Friday. However, Spike.com will carry the entire fight card beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern.
Where: L'Auberge du Lac Casino Resort, Lake Charles, Louisiana
Predictions below for the middleweight tournament final, a welterweight tournament semi-final, a heavyweight tournament qualifier and one additional main card bout.
Both guys enter this bout riding a fair amount of momentum, but I'm going to lean towards Amoussou. Either guy is offensive to the point where they don't exercise enough risk management, but Amoussou is naturally bigger and more importantly, has faced and defeated better competition. Amoussou has shown an ability swim in deeper waters and do well enough. I don't discount the ability of Rickels to rise to the occasion. The kid has some decent striking skills and a moderately well-rounded game plus an unflappable belief in himself. I'm just not sure that's enough to get by 'Psycho'.
Part of me wants to skip the chalk here and go for Aguilar. I actually do think this will be a competitive strawweight bout, but I have a bit of a hard time seeing how Aguilar gets over in this one. If Fujii does what she did against Zoila Gurgel, ok, then Aguilar has a chance. But Aguilar's best skill set is also Fujii's, which was not the case with Gurgel. At 38, Fujii has got to be nearing the end of her career. She's certainly not in her prime anymore. But she's enough of an old war horse to get through this one.
Neither of these heavyweights are world beaters. Asplund has been fighting against less than quality opposition in the regional circuit and Sparks is probably fighting one step above that. I'll give Sparks the nod here for two reasons. One, despite whatever else he lacks, he packs a monster of a punch. Two, it's impossible to gauge Asplund's abilities against the riff raff he's stepped in the cage against. The only x-factor is Asplund's a very small heavyweight and could have a speed advantage.
I tend to think Falcao won't fall prey to Spang's unheralded grappling and will capitalize on Spang's lazy jab. Counterstriking from Brian Rogers nearly cost Spang in his last fight. Falcao is as technically adept as Rogers and certainly a great deal quicker. He's also got the power punching to make anyone in that weight class pay. I hate to go all chalk for these picks and I'm sure I'll pay for it somewhere, but there's a reason tonight's favorites are where they are.