This Friday, November 22nd, Bellator 109 comes to us from the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The main event of the evening features a title defense for Middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko, as he faces tournament tested Doug Marshall. the card also features the conclusion of the season’s Lightweight and welterweight tournaments, with $100k and a title shot at stake.
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Shlemenko is favored at the books at (-260), with the comeback on Marshall sitting at (+180). Marshall is a solid, workmanlike fighter who is fun to watch. That describes Shlemenko as well, but when you mix in his experience and the elite nature of his striking prowess, and this match should be all Shlemenko. Whether he is able to score a quick KO is another thing, but Shlemenko’s game is also suited to a long fight, and he has 5 rounds to break down Marshall.
The welterweight tournament final features Rick Hawn (+380) heavily favored over Ron Keslar (+260). Hawn has been very successful in Bellator in two weight classes, and Hawn comes with his judo pedigree that makes him a tough out for anyone in the division. Keslar is a solid competitor from the American Kickboxing Academy that bought us the likes of UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez, but even his MMa experience is less than Hawn’s who at this point is a fine 17-2. overall. Look for Hawn to take the title and be in the mix to take the now vacant Welterweight belt.
The Lightweight tournament final between Alexander Sarnavskiy (-160) and Will Brooks (+120) is the closest line at the sport books among the stellar fights. Both men have only 1 loss each in their MMA careers, and both are evenly matched in terms of athleticism. Both have fought well in Bellator to get here. Sarnavskiy has a lot more in ring MMA experience and that is expected to carry the day.
This card was also supposed to feature the promotional debut of UFC veteran Matt Riddle, whose short retirement was supposed to be coming to an end after he reache dan agreement to fight. The mercurial Riddle has supposedly pulled out of the ifght, and Bellator released him from his contract.