This weekend, Rory MacDonald finally makes long awaited Bellator debut against Paul Daley. Also, Liam McGeary looks to position himself for another run at the Bellator light heavyweight title, and Kimbo Slice’s son attempts to get his first pro win. This looks like an intriguing card, so let’s get to it
Rory MacDonald vs Paul Daley
Rory MacDonald is coming off of two straight losses, but both of those losses were handed to him by top tier opponents. Stephen Thompson and Robbie Lawler are both excellent fighters who are still in the UFC. Before that he reeled off three straight wins against Demian Maia, Tyron Woodley and Tarec Saffiedine. Tyron Woodley is now the UFC welterweight champion and it looks like Demian Maia will get a title shot next. Paul Daley has had a successful run since joining Bellator, going 4-1 in his five fights with the promotion.
This headliner has star-power, but the match-up is more one-sided than Bellator would like you to believe. MacDonald has been fighting the best of the best, while Daley has been crushing mid-level fighters in Bellator. His one fight, recently, against tougher competition was his match with Douglas Lima, and he lost that fight. It is no secret that grappling is Daley’s weakness, and MacDonald is a huge welterweight with some great grappling. Daley’s only chance is on the feet, and even that isn’t a sure thing. MacDonald has the striking chops to hang with anyone. The safest way for MacDonald to win would be to take this fight to the ground, but he can also win on the feet. Daley has a puncher’s chance, but that’s it.
Winner: Rory MacDonald via decision
Linton Vassell vs Liam McGeary
McGeary is the former Bellator light heavyweight champion who is looking to get his belt back. Vassell has been around Bellator for a while now, but has failed to reach his potential. However, he may have finally broken through. His two wins over Emanuel Newton and Francis Carmont are, at least, mildly impressive. Especially since Newton finished him in their first fight. McGeary is coming off of a TKO win over Brett McDermott, but before that he lost his belt to Phil Davis via decision.
McGeary has good striking and his BJJ is very unorthodox. His long limbs allow him to attempt submissions from places that other fighters can’t. Unless Vassell pulls a rabbit out of his hat, I do not see him beating the former champion. McGeary is still improving his game and I think Vassell is a stepping stone to his title shot.
Winner: McGeary via submission
Augusto Sakai vs Cheick Kongo
Both of these fighters have decent winning streaks going, but Kongo is 41. He has a lot of mileage on him, and he has held up so far, but I think this is the fight that spells the beginning of the end. Sakai is only 25 and has won 7 of his 9 fights by TKO. We have seen Kongo grind out some tough wins since he joined Bellator, but this weekend, Sakai will get the better of the veteran.
Winner: Sakai via TKO
Dan Edwards vs Alex Lohore
Well, Edwards is an unimpressive 14-14 in his MMA career, with 6 of his losses coming by submission and 5 of them coming by TKO. He is on a two-fight win streak, but he lost six in a row before that. Alex Lohore is 11-1 with his last two wins coming via submission. He is currently on a seven-fight win streak. It seems Edwards got this fight because he is from England, not because of his record.
Winner: Lohore via submission
Baby Slice vs DJ Griffin
Baby Slice, the late Kimbo Slice’s son, lost his debut fight in Bellator. He looked good in the beginning, but his inexperience took over and he was submitted. His opponent, DJ Griffin, has no pro MMA experience and went 2-2 as an amateur. Even though Baby Slice lost his first fight, he showed flashes of promise.
Winner: Slice via TKO