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Bellator 105 predictions

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This might be one of Bellator's weakest cards of the season, but there is a saving grace. This event features the semifinals of the lightweight tournament and a hugely important bout for one of MMA's top prospects. Either Will Brooks is going to round the corner and continue to develop as a star on the rise or he's not. He needs to get past Saad Awad to do that and after their first bout, it's not clear he can.

Will he right the wrongs he committed in their first fight? Will Awad prevail and prove he's still one of MMA's most underrated fighters? I answer those questions and more with predictions for Friday's fights.

What: Bellator 105

Where: Santa Ana Star Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico

When: Friday, the six-fight preliminary card starts at 7 p.m. ET on The five-fight main card starts on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET.

Saad Awad vs. Will Brooks

There are a number of important bouts this weekend on any of the major MMA shows and this one is no exception. While I certainly would not say Brooks' career is over or something equally hyperbolic, he's in a bit of trouble if he can't redeem himself against Awad. And the more I think about it, the victory for Awad was no fluke. He's lightening quick hands and very respectable power has given his Bellator opposition fits.

Brooks needs to show he can not only establish the takedown whenever he wants it, but that he also has patience. The timing of his offense is critical in this contest. He can't rush in nor he can he hang back. And if he has Awad in a dominant position, he needs to take advantage of it with damage or threatening submissions. Positional control is not going to get the job done.

I believe Brooks can and will do it, but he needs to demonstrate growth in order to get there.

Pick: Brooks

Ricardo Tirloni vs. Alexander Sarnavskiy

Tirloni might be the best guy Bellator has that just can't seem to break through. If there's a good prospect or a really tough veteran, Tirloni oftens come up short. I don't think tonight will be any different. I suspect he's going to get lit up on the feet and either stopped there or submitted after he's hurt and unable to properly defend himself.

Pick: Sarnavskiy

Ron Sparks vs. Mighty Mo

This is a plainly terrible fight, but I was surprised how semi-decent Mo looked in his last Bellator fight. These two are going to slug it out until someone falls, which shouldn't take long and means either man could conceivably win. All things being equal, though, Mo should prevail by KO or TKO in the first.

Pick: Mo

Eugene Fadiora vs. Keith Berry

Fadiora has the karateka style of bouncing on his toes as he strikes from the outside. His hands aren't necessarily as crisp as they could be, but they are quick and his combinations are deliberate. The Brit's defense needs some work, but his all-around ability is pretty respectable. Berry is a tough slugger, but not a whole lot else. The American has a puncher's chance, but not much more.

Pick: Fadiora