Bellator 89: A Look At This Thursday’s Middleweight Tournament

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Brett Cooper (left) returns to Bellator looking to earn his first tournament win.

This coming Thursday night at Bellator 89, the company sets in motion their Middleweight Tournament, the final tournament of season 8.  The quarter final match ups include California’s Doug Marshall against the ‘Sweet Swede’ Andreas Spang, a battle of european talent between Sultan Aliev and Mikkel Parlo, Bellator stalwart Brett Cooper gets Frenchman Norman Paraisy and Dan Cramer faces off against Brian Rogers.  The lines are starting to pop up at the sportsbooks, so let’s take a look.

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Spang is coming in as a -350 favorite over Marshall, who comes back at +250.   Marshall is 37 years old with a record of 15-6 and is considered a journeyman, while Spang impressed last year in his Bellator appearances, stepping into the tournament as a replacement and taking out Brian Rogers before losing to Maiquel Falcao in the finals by Decision.

The Cooper-Paraisy line comes in the same, with Cooper at -350 and Paraisy returning +250.  Cooper has had a nice run in Bellator, and he has extended current Middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko the full three rounds when they met, and he took out veterean Joe Doerksen in a match outside of Bellator recently.  Paraisy lost in his one Bellator match, against Maiquel Falcao.  Cooper may be the overall tournament favorite if he has improved.

Dan Cramer is the underdog at +170 in his match with Brian Rogers who is favored at -230.  Rogers was cruising in the season 6 tournament when he ran into a Spang punch that KO’d him.  He has won a bounce back fight and finds himself in a familiar position – the start of a Bellator tournament.  Cramer started his career 1-1 in the UFC, and he maintained a good record on the smaller shows before signing with Bellator in 2010.  He has been solid, but not spectacular, and Rogers is a better athlete in terms of natural talent.

The match that has Mikkel Parlo as a -210 favorite over Sultan Aliev who is at +160, is a very interesting one.  Both men are undefeated with 9 and 8 fights respectively, and both are largely unkown having compiled their record in Europe.  Both are big sluggers with a lot of KO’s, so it might be a good bet to say this one ain’t going the distance.  At 28 Aliev is heading into his prime, and he has fought at lightheavyweight, so he might be big.  Parlo at 22 years old is a prospect who won his first Bellator fight last October, knocking out Jared Combs.


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