They may be little, but they can pack a wallop, and soon four semifinalists will get whittled down to two finalists. On Saturday night, Bellator brings its special brand of tournament merrymaking to Canada for its forty-seventh edition. Regular folks like you and me, however, can watch four of the best non-UFC featherweights mix it up on MTV2 – which is fortuitous, because it’s highly likely that some dudes are going to get seriously thumped. Who’s fighting? Who’s on the hit list and destined to get a strong whiff of smelling salts? It’s preview time!
Marlon Sandro vs. Nazareno Malegarie – In the 145-pound tournament’s opening bracket, Malegarie finally got to put his ace submission skills on display for US MMA fans by latching onto opponent Jacob DeVree’s neck and tapping him out with a guillotine. It was a dominant performance, but one he won’t be able to replicate against Sandro, who has more jiu-jitsu in his stool than Malegarie has in his entire body (in addition to having top-tier striking). In short, Sandro is going to have his way with his Argentinean opponent, and the end will come however the former Sengoku champ wants it.
Pat Curran vs. Ronnie Mann – Curran is a Bellator lightweight tournament winner who survived five rounds against Eddie Alvarez, so you just know he’s tough. Mann, on the other hand, is both a tough Brit and a canny elite-level fighter. Therefore, what we’ll likely see is either Curran trying to counter-punch Mann to death (and succeeding by the smallest of margins) or Mann rocking Curran with his Muay Thai and finishing him with a sub.
Chris Horodecki vs. Chris Saunders – I was about ten feet away when Horodecki “defeated” Nate Lamotte in the IFL by blatantly holding onto the ropes to avoid going to the ground, so it was with some measure of satisfaction that I watched the Canadian striker get clobbered in his tenure with the WEC. But he’s got enough experience and kickboxing chops to make him dangerous, and that dangerousness will likely see him whittle away at Saunders, who’s making a significant leap in competition-level in his Bellator debut.
Zak Jensen vs. Neil Grove – If not for Cole Konrad’s interminable wrestling, Grove would be Bellator’s heavyweight champ right now. And that wouldn’t be such a bad thing, as big punchers often provide big excitement. At Bellator 47, the Brit will meet Jensen, who has a weakness for submissions but is one large dude (read: large target). Watch for Grove to pick and choose an opening, blast Jensen on the noggin, and rack up a moderately easy TKO win.