So, it’s Bellator’s 200th event, and despite the nice milestone, the promotion has failed to make this event feel special. Don’t get me wrong, in the grand scheme of things this card is one of their better events, but it still doesn’t feel much bigger than their tent pole cards. Headlining this Bellator 200 is an interesting middleweight championship fight involving underrated champion Rafael Carvalho and former UFC contender Gegard Mousasi. This card also features other notable matchups, as unbeaten Michael Page takes on veteran David Rickels, former Bellator champ Phil Davis fights Linton Vassell, and Geordie Shore star Aaron Chalmers faces Ashley Griffiths.
What: Bellator 200
Where: The SSE Arena in London, England.
When: Friday, May 25. The tape-delayed five-fight main card begins at 9 p.m. ET on Paramount Network.
Let’s hope this is an entertaining fight. It definitely has potential to be a good fight, but I think it also has potential for the alternative.
Carvalho is a dangerous striker that has quick and powerful attacks. He also has a great finishing instinct and he’s good at gauging if his opponents are hurt or not. Carvalho has a lengthy build, but he doesn’t utilize his range too well. The Brazilian fighter is also a decent grappler with good takedowns, and a good athlete.
Mousasi is a handful for anyone that competes at 185 pounds. “The Dreamcatcher” is as seasoned as they come, holding over 50 professional MMA fights under his belt. Mousasi fights smart and composed. The former UFC contender has plenty of tools in his arsenal and can win fights in a number of ways. Mousasi has excellent striking, respectable wrestling, and dangerous submissions.
It’s hard to pick against Mousasi here. Carvalho is game and will likely put on a competitive fight, but Mousasi has too many tools and experience to lose. I can see Mousasi keeping the fight on the feet and winning there. But if he were to feel in any danger, I don’t think he should have a lot of problems taking down Carvalho. The Brazilian is super tough, so I can see him going all five rounds with Mousasi.
David Rickels is probably not the type of opponent most people wanted Michael Page to face next. Many wanted Page to face a big name, to get tested. Well, Rickels might not be Paul Daley, but he’s still a solid fighter and one that can very well test and even beat Page.
Rickels is a pretty experienced fighter with an impressive winning record of 19-4. He’s very tough and somewhat unorthodox. “The Caveman” has a decent ground game and solid kickboxing.
On the other hand, Page is a flashy striker that can be very unpredictable. Page has good power and plenty of speed. Page’s record is not as extensive as Rickels, but he still has a good amount of experience with 12 bouts.
I favor Page here but I actually think Rickels has a decent shot. I can see Paige cracking Rickels at some point, but I can also see him fighting out a close decision with Rickels.
I’d say this is the easiest fight to predict from the main card. Again, anything can happen in MMA, but I think I have a pretty good idea of how this one will go.
Linton Vassell has shown to have issues against good wrestlers. Ryan Bader was the one who most recently showed that, but we’ve also seen it before in the past. Phil Davis is a fantastic athlete and grappler. Davis has great wrestling and some strong submissions. I think Davis should be able to stand with Vassell, but I think he’ll just take the fight to the ground where he can dominant.
I see Davis dominating with his wrestling and getting a stoppage via TKO or submission.
Aaron Chalmers vs. Ashley Griffiths
This one is tough to call. Fight of all, there is not a lot of info on Ashley Griffiths, and second, from what’s out there he seems to be around the same level of Aaron Chalmers.
Researching Griffiths, I actually found several fights of him that are not listed on his record, meaning, he’s likely more experienced than we think. From what I’ve seen, Griffiths can do a little bit of all. Chalmers is very similar in that sense that he can fight anywhere it goes (he doesn’t have a particular style that defines him).
But there is a difference between the two. I think Chalmers has more power in his strikes and seems to be willing to engage more than Griffiths. Those two factors already leave Chalmers with a good advantage. Skills wise, I’m not sure there is a huge gap between the two.
Jackson is actually pretty solid. She’s a pretty well-rounded fighter. Jackson is a good striker that pressures well and is also good with her muay thai clinch. The TUF alum can also grapple, as she has some takedowns in her game and good submission defense.
I think Jackson is better than Yankova in most areas. Yankova has more size and power than Jackson and I can see her clinching Jackson against the cage and having some success there. I just can’t see Yankova doing that for 15 minutes against an opponent like Jackson.