CHICAGO -- Bellator Fighting Championships will put on its seventh show on Friday night, and I'll be there at the Aragon Ballroom on the North Side of Chicago. My predictions for the fights are below.
Anthony Lapsley vs. Ryan Williams
Lapsley is a local guy from Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and I think he'll win this battle of two submission specialists. Prediction: Lapsley by second-round submission.
Kevin Knabjian vs. Jacob Volkmann
Knabjian is a former Eastern Illinois University wrestler who has fought in Shooto and the WEC, and as a Chicagoan he should have plenty of fans in attendance. But I think the undefeated Volkmann will beat him on the ground. Prediction: Volkmann by third-round submission.
Leslie Smith vs. Kerry Vera
The only women's fight on the card may turn out to be the best fight of the night. Vera, the wife of UFC fighter Brandon Vera, is a former professional Muay Thai fighter making her MMA debut, and I think she'll give Smith her first loss. Prediction: Vera by decision.
DeRay Davis vs. Jesse Juarez
Davis is a local guy (all six of his pro fights have been in his hometown of Hammond, Indiana) who probably isn't ready for the more experienced Juarez. Prediction: Juarez by first-round TKO.
Alonzo Martinez vs. Victor Meza
Meza was undefeated until his loss to Oscar De La Cruz in the first round of the Bellator welterweight tournament. I think he'll get back on the winning track against Martinez. Prediction: Meza by decision.
Eddie Sanchez vs. Jay White
Sanchez is best known as Mirko Cro Cop's first UFC opponent, and although he left the UFC on a two-fight losing streak, I still think he should make short work of White. Prediction: Sanchez by first-round TKO.
Lorenzo Borgomeo vs. Troy Gerhart
Gerhardt is a good-looking 23-year-old lightweight who has won all four of his pro fights by knockout or TKO. Borgomeo, a kickboxer with a 5-1 record, should give him his toughest test yet, but I think Gerhart will get another win. Prediction: Gerhart by third-round TKO.
Lyman Good vs. Jorge Ortiz
This is the first semifinal in Bellator's welterweight tournament, and I think Good, a 23-year-old with an 8-0 pro record, is the best fighter in the bunch. Prediction: Good by second-round TKO.
Omar De La Cruz vs. Dave Menne
This is the other semifinal in Bellator's welterweight tournament. In 2001, Menne became the first middleweight champion of the UFC, but he's 34 and hasn't been a top-level fighter in several years. I think he's going to lose to De La Cruz, whose victory over Victor Meza is in the above video. Prediction: De La Cruz by third-round TKO.