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Bellator 170 predictions

Bellator 170 Weigh-ins

Well, Tito Ortiz is fighting his retirement bout in 2017 against Chael Sonnen, and in the main event of a Bellator card. Who saw that coming?

Anyway, Bellator 170 is a pretty good card with some interesting and competitive fights. This event features the final fight for the legendary Ortiz, who was once one of the best fighters on the planet, an explosive bout between power punchers Paul Daley and Brennan Ward, and a classic grappler vs. striker battle in Gracie vs. Kato.

What: Bellator 170

Where: The Forum, Inglewood, Calif.

When: Saturday, Jan. 21. The preliminary card begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on MMA Fighting, the five-fight main card begins at 9 p.m. ET on Spike TV.

Tito Ortiz vs. Chael Sonnen

I’m not really sure what to expect from Tito Ortiz vs. Chael Sonnen in 2017, but I’m curious to see what happens.

I feel like I know what to expect from Ortiz at this point, but not so much with Sonnen. After the second Anderson Silva loss, I felt that Sonnen changed in a way, and he hasn’t been the same. I think the fire in him died down a bit, and I don’t find him anymore to be that unbreakable, gritty wrestler that will try impose his will non-stop from start to finish. Sonnen hasn’t fought since 2013, and I have questions regarding where he’s at as a fighter.

Meanwhile, we have more info on Ortiz. He’s still a powerful guy capable of using his wrestling to get the fight to the ground. He’s got some submissions, his boxing is OK, and his overall movement has slowed down over the years, as it naturally should. It’s clear that Ortiz has a big size advantage here and that has given Sonnen problems in the past. However, I think Ortiz is likely to fade faster than Sonnen, giving the bad guy the edge past the half way point of the fight. I think either Ortiz gets an early submission or Sonnen gets a decision win. I’m going to go with the last option.

Pick: Sonnen

Paul Daley vs. Brennan Ward

Fun fight here in the co-main event. I’m a bit split on who’s going to win this, as I find this to be a very competitive contest. But what I am confident in is that this fight will not need the judges.

Ward is powerful in everything he does, and that’s what makes him a dangerous fighter. “Irish” also has one of the most effective tools to beat Daley, and that’s wrestling. I can see Ward using his takedowns to keep Daley guessing, making him hesitant to strike, or simply use his takedowns to get Daley to the ground and put him in a bad position where he can land ground-and-pound and get a stoppage.

On the other hand, I can see Daley’s massive edge in experience, superior boxing, and power being enough to defeat Ward. Daley has very clean boxing, and Ward tends to leave himself open in striking exchanges. That could be a bad recipe for Ward, as Daley can slip powerful punches in tight openings and close the show. Tough fight to pick, but I think Daley’s clean boxing and years of fighting high-level competition are going to pay off.

Pick: Daley

Ralek Gracie vs. Hisaki Kato

Gracie is an experienced grappler with a solid top game that transitions well into MMA. On the ground, he’s a threat to almost anyone, but on the feet not so much, at least from the footage that’s available. Unless Gracie has somehow significantly improved his striking, I don’t see him beating Kato.

Kato is mainly a striker, and there is a good case to be made that someone with the ground game of Gracie could be his kryptonite, but I don’t think that will be the case. This fight starts on the feet and I think Kato’s significant advantage on the feet will show in the early exchanges. I also find Gracie’s inactivity in MMA competition to be a big disadvantage, as he hasn’t fought in seven years, while Kato has kept busy and has momentum behind him.

Pick: Kato

Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Emmanuel Sanchez

Emanuel Sanchez is a good fighter, but he doesn’t particularly stand out in any specific area, at least not yet. The 26-year-old athlete is well-rounded, always comes in shape, has nice muay thai, and can put together some solid striking combinations. I find Sanchez to be a solid opponent for Karakhanyan, but I don’t think he has enough to beat the crafty veteran.

Karakhanyan, 31, has the edge almost everywhere in this fight. He’s more experienced, has a better ground game, and I find his striking to maybe not be significantly better than Sanchez’s, but definitely more dangerous. Sanchez is tough, and has never been finished, so I think Karakhanyan takes a decision here.

Pick: Karakhanyan

Derek Campos vs. Derek Anderson

This is a good fight to open up the main card between two Bellator veterans. Campos has been around for a while, and has a good amount of experience. He’s tough, likes to brawl, has some solid boxing and packs a heavy punch. He’s not much of a grappler, but does a decent job defensively on the ground. Campos’ striking is also characterized by many looping punches, and he also keeps a high output.

Meanwhile, Anderson is a very good grappler both offensively and defensively. He might lack a bit in the takedowns department, but he doesn’t have to rely on takedowns to get the fight to the ground, as he’s skilled enough to pull guard and score a reversal from there or work off his back. Anderson’s striking is rangy and uses many straight punches. His output might not be as high as Campos’, but I find Anderson to be more precise. Campos can sometimes be very hittable, too, which won’t help him win a decision. I see Anderson outboxing Campos and surviving his big shots to earn a decision victory.

Pick: Anderson

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