Bellator 88: Shlemenko versus Falcao For The Middleweight Title

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Alexander Shlemenko (left) should be the odds on favorite to capture Bellator’s Middleweight title at Bellator 88.

This Thursday February 7th, Bellator continues their 8th season with an event from the Gwinneth Center in Duluth, Georgia.  The event is headlined by the organization filling their vacant Middleweight belt in a match featuring Alexander Shlemenko taking on Maiquel Falcao.  The title fight sits atop the start of the group’s Featherweight tournament, which is to determine an opponent for current Champion Pat Curran.  The lineup for that appears below.

Featherweight Tournament Quarter Finals:

- Marlon Sandro vs. Akop Stepanyan
- Mitch Jackson vs. Mike Richman
- Fabricio Guerreiro vs. Magomedrasul Khasbulaev
- Alexandre Bezerra vs. Genair da Silva

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These bouts are not at most of the big sportsbooks yet, and that is indicative of everything that is wrong with Bellator as a company.   Despite a much vaunted switch to SPIKE, the ratings have dropped by about 100k viewers every week, and this nearly anonymous Featherweight tournament is not likely to bring fans in droves.

Bellator continues to make the simplest mistakes in rganizing tournaments, such as pitting the two native english speakers against each other in the opening round insuring one is eliminated, continuing to release the lineups without enough lead time for anyone to be interested, and of course having half the tournament just have flat out unpronouncable names is assanine.

Mike Richman will be favored big time over Aussie Mitch Jackson, as Richman is 13-2 in MMA an is aa Bellator veteran with a win over Chris Horodecki, and Jackson is 3-2 overall in MMA overall, with 1 pro fight.

The Alexandre Bezerra vs. Genair da Silva will be a much closer linne, as the two Brazilians have similar records and similar competition levels.  Both own Split Decision losses to tournament favorite Marlon Sandro, so this fight will likely  be a pick ‘em.

Fabricio Guerreiro vs. Magomedrasul Khasbulaev features the 17-1 Guerreiro, who is the forth Brazilian in the tournament, taking on the 18-5 Khasbulaev.  Both have similar records, but both records are against unknown levels of competition.  Neither guy appears to be a super athlete, so this may just come down to a guessing game.  Personally, I tend to lean towards the Brazilian, as the country’s overall skill level in MMA is higher, perhaps giving him more quality experience.

Brazilian Marlon Sandro will not only be favored over Akop Stepanyan in their tournament opener, he is the favorite to win the tournament at the start.  Stepanyan is a rugged veteran from the Shlemenko camp and will be game, but in his last outing he was submitted by Wagney Fabiano in the opening round.  Sandro is trained by Nova Uniao, one of the deepest MMA groups in the world, and he should gt by this bout to advance.

So, you kind of have to be a gambler, but when the lines are out for these fights, their may be some value.  At least betting it might make the fights more fun to watch!



About Miguel

MMA matchmaker since 1997. No one besides Joe Silva has made more fights than me.
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