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Bellator 128 predictions

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Bellator's bantamweight title is up for grabs as returning champion Eduardo Dantas faces off against 'The Baddest Man in MMA' Joe Warren in the night's main event on Spike TV. In addition, rising blue-chip prospect Michael 'Venom' Page takes a step up in competition as he squares off against UFC and Strikeforce veteran Nah-Shon Burrell in the co-main event. The card also features Bellator staple 'Tiger' Sarnavskiy and UFC veteran Bubba McDaniel.

What: Bellator 128

Where: WinStar World Casino, Thackerville, OK

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

Eduardo Dantas vs. Joe Warren

Crazy things happen in MMA, but short of something miraculous happening, it's hard to see how Dantas loses. He's lightning quick, a vastly superior grappler and has a more range-effective if admittedly somewhat limited striking arsenal. I'm not sure how Warren loses, but I suspect it'll be with a choke from the back. I certainly don't see it as likely that Dantas succumbs to anything Warren can or will try.

Pick: Dantas

Michael Page vs. Nah-Shon Burrell

This is an appropriate step up for the surging prospect in Page, but I think he passes it. Burrell has a wide array of skills, but has a bit of a languid style and often allows opposition to define the terms of the contest. Against someone like Page, that's a bad idea. Page will do what he normally does, which means unloading on opposition, but also defending clinch takedowns against the fence, a favorite technique of Burrell. This is the best fighter Page has ever faced, but it's just the sort to give Page just enough of a bump up in competition without overwhelming him. Burrell is a good fighter, but will give Page the space to operate and that will be his undoing.

Pick: Page

Bubba McDaniel vs. Emiliano Sordi

McDaniel has his issues, but I'm not totally convinced this Argentine is the guy to exploit them. Sordi loves trips from the 50/50 clinch or reversals off the whizzer for takedowns. He'll occasionally lean on the front head lock, too. Either way, once an opponent is down, he loves to pass to mount and work for a stoppage with strikes or submission. He's got some ability, but I don't see how he's going to muscle McDaniel around to get to those positions. McDaniel isn't the world's best athlete either, but Sordi's style is slow and methodical. McDaniel has shown propensity to move quickly in quick bursts when the moment called for it. He's also faced much better competition. This one could go the distance, but McDaniel should get his hand raised.

Pick: McDaniel

Alexander Sarnavskiy vs. Dakota Cochrane

This is a really, really tough one to call. One the feet, it's no contest. The Russian will light up Cochrane as long as the two spend time facing off. But that's where things get interesting. Sarnavskiy has never had the best takedown defense and Cochrane is a more than adequate wrestler for this type of opponent. Moreover, Sarnavskiy is a good grappler, especially when it comes to back attacks and Cochrane sometimes loses his focus in the middle of scrambles. Yet, Cochrane has also showed effective top control in the past. Cochrane is talented, but inconsistent. The x-factor for me is Cochrane coming in on late notice. It's a close fight no matter what given how the styles match up, but I have to lean to the Russian due to superior preparation. That said, this one could easily go either way.

Pick: Sarnavskiy

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