This Saturday’s Bellator 172 marks one of the most interesting Bellator main cards that we’ve seen in some time. Four marquee bouts are on the bill, with each matchup featuring a star from yesteryear trying to prove that he still has what it takes to scrape together a win under the bright lights. Join the CombatDocket staff as we consult our crystal balls and predict whether Fedor, Thomson, Kos, and Kongo will reign supreme once again or whether the (slightly) younger talent that Bellator has assembled to challenge them will spoil the party.
Brought to you by your intrepid CombatDocket staff:
Brandon The Truth @BrandonNocaute
Dave Willford @DaveWillfordMMA
DC Howard @DCHoward_MMA
Georgie Griesenbeck @TK_TheWorst
John Menton @JMentonBE
Niall Fleming @niallfleming1
Sam Vickery @heroicguru
Shawn Suther @kingdazy
Main Event, Heavyweight:
Matt Mitrione (-120)
Picking Fedor (2): Brandon, Georgie
Picking Mitrione (6): Dave, DC, John, Niall, Sam, Shawn
Brandon the Truth: The heavyweight legend took on light heavyweight gatekeeper Fabio Maldonado last fight and took a hellacious beating before somehow being awarded the majority decision. So why would I pick Fedor to beat Matt Mitrione? I’m not the biggest believer in Mitrione and while Fedor hasn’t looked great in a long time Mitrione is definitely hittable, and if Fedor can hit you he can win. I think Fedor’s speed advantage will allow him to land the first major punch of the night, follow up, and win by TKO.
Georgie: Fedor looked good on the pads yesterday. Meathead ain’t no pad but unFedortunately for Mitrione, I’m going with the Russian. Even though I love me some Meathead.
Dave: Given how even Fabio Maldonado gave post-retirement Fedor problems, I think Meathead has a good shot. Against PRIDE Fedor, no way. But PRIDE was long ago and far away.
DC: I hope the walkout sees Fedor portered out on a throne carried by peasants – and that Sean Grande and Jimmy Smith talk about Fedor nonstop during all the other fights. As long as the peasants are paid a fair, sustainable wage. Oh, the fight? It’s 2017, right? Mitrione all the way, sad to say.
Sam: Mitrione is too much of a meathead to be beaten by the original meathead. Fedor is way past his prime and it would be sensible to take Mitrione down and submit him. But I doubt he will.
Co-Main Event, Lightweight:
Josh Thomson (-220)
Patricky “Pitbull” Freire (+180)
Picking Thomson (6): Brandon, Dave, Georgie, John, Niall, Sam
Picking Pitbull (2): DC, Shawn
Brandon the Truth: The age of Thomson is a concern here. At 38 I wonder if he is slowing down, even if he hasn’t shown any signs yet. Freire is always a threat, has one punch knockout power and can change a fight in an instant. That said Thomson should have a solid advantage everywhere except KO power and I see him taking it to the mat and securing a submission.
Dave: Josh Thomson vs. Patricky Pitbull seems like a coin flip to me. My coin says Thomson. And Josh Thomson likes ice cream cones … MUCH LIKE FEDOR.
Sam: Thomson vs Pitbull is the most intriguing fight of the night. Pitbull has substantial knockout power but is inconsistent. Thomson has always been a top lightweight but is coming to the end of a great career. I still expect Thomson to win, but via decision victory over a very game Pitbull.
DC: Like Fedor/Mitrione, Josh Thomson would be an easy pick to starch the lesser Pitbull if it were 2012. But even back then Freire’s power would have been somewhat dangerous, and against a 38 year old version of the Strikeforce and UFC vet I think Pitbull has the skills to crack the nut.
Oli Thompson (+225)
Picking Kongo (8): Brandon, Dave, DC, Georgie, John, Niall, Sam, Shawn
Picking Oli (0):
Brandon the Truth: This should be an interesting heavyweight contest for Bellator. Kongo will be making his tenth Bellator appearance where he’s picked up an impressive 7-2 record. Oli Thompson didn’t look bad in his Bellator debut despite losing to Mitrione. I think skill for skill Cheick Kongo is a little better in every area and I see him winning a decision here.
Dave: Kongo and Oli are both big, strong, scary guys. Despite the age, I have to go with Kongo based on his experience.
DC: It seems impossible to imagine a dimension of space/time in which Cheick Kongo is unable to push Oli Thompson against a fence, knee him in the balls once or twice, and grind out an uninspiring decision. Or hold him against said fence all day long, if it happens to be a dimension without judges or time limits. Sure, 41 years could be the age when the wheels fall off of Kongo’s bus and his chin vanishes, but I’m not going to bet on it against a relatively limited heavyweight like Oli.
Sam: Kongo is again fighting someone not on his level. Expect a stand up brawl where Kongo may get hurt, but it will most likely end with a KO and Thompson looking up at the lights.
Josh Koscheck (-310)
Mauricio Alonso (+250)
Picking Kos: Brandon, Dave, DC, Georgie, Niall, Sam
Picking Alonso: John, Shawn
Brandon the Truth: I’ll be the first to admit I heavily contemplated picking Mauricio Alonso. I am not confident picking Josh Koscheck to win any fight in 2017, but I think this is one he can win. Alonso isn’t much younger than Koscheck and he definitely doesn’t have the same high level experience. I won’t be too surprised if I’m wrong on this one but I think Koscheck will take a decision here.
Dave: Koscheck is a shadow of his former self, but I think he probably has enough left to beat a little-known 12-7 fighter.
DC: If Bellator had put Kos up against a youngster then I’d be a little worried that they’re setting him up for the squash, BJ-Yair style. Instead they matched him against a hand-picked regional journeyman. I’m betting that Coker knows what he’s doing and has fixed Kos up with a guy that he can beat, even in his 2017 incarnation.
Sam: Kos is fighting a low level fighter and he needs the win for confidence right now, after being out for two years with five consecutive losses. Expect him to grind out a victory using his classic wrestling.
John: Koscheck was a favorite of mine, a heel I loved because of his gung-ho attitude. But he has slowed.
Shawn: I don’t even know who Alonso is, but *!?@<# Koscheck!
Kos clearly feels the same way about you, Shawn. And hockey.
So there you have it. Those marquee fights will be joined by a main card women’s flyweight contest between Veta Arteaga and the debuting Brooke Mayo, plus a streaming prelim card headed up by Russian middleweight star Anatoly Tokov vs. Francisco France.
Thoughts? Are we collectively insane for missing the warning signs that precede an imminent Oli Thompson one-hitter quitter? Let us know @CombatDocket or in the comments section, and catch you Saturday night for the fights!