Bellator's season is slowly winding down as the promotion stages two lightweight tournament semifinal bouts along with a headlining title bout to determine the new Bellator welterweight champion after the departure of Ben Askren.
The lightweight tournament semis feature familiar names like Pitbull and Held, but also two new faces of upstarts plenty capable of causing the upset. The main event is a decent scrap between two of Bellator's more notable roster names, albeit one who is better served as a lightweight.
Will Douglas Lima be the next welterweight champion in Bellator or is this Rick Hawn's time to shine? I answer these questions and more with my predictions for Friday night's fights.
What: Bellator 117
Where: Mid-America Center, Council Bluffs, Iowa
When: Friday, the eight-fight preliminary card starts at 7 p.m. ET on Spike.com. The four-fight main card starts on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET.
It's hard for me to see how Hawn takes this short of a monster right hand landing for the judo Olympian. Lima is the cleaner striker at distance, is probably better at mat wrestling and submissions and is the naturally bigger fighter of the two. Hawn has what I like to call an 'elevated puncher's chance', which is to say he doesn't have many ways to win, but has an extremely potent punch. Lima, though, is too good, too technical and too big.
Patricky Pitbull vs. Derek Campos
If Campos can do what he does best - mix up the phases of his offense, go high and low and get the takedown when he needs it - he can pull this off. The issue is whether or not that's really possibly in this fight. It may well be. I legitimately don't know, but I'm not convinced he can. And if he can't, Campos just isn't the striker Pitbull is, not by a long shot.
Derek Anderson vs. Marcin Held
Held is the deserved favorite here and will likely win, but I'll go out on a limb and give Anderson the nod. He's strong in all phases of the game, which means if he can survive Held's early heel hook and leg attacks, he has enough to ride out a decision on top or pummel Held into a stoppage.
Gomez is respectably tough and a KOTC warrior, but I have absolutely no idea how he's going to survive against 'Psycho'.