Bellator is starting to announce some of their lineups for their Season 8 that starts in January. The 8th season features a move to SPIKETV, so Bellator is expected to have a lot more eyeballs on it’s product, however they continue to show little real organization for their events. Bellator 85 is scheduled for January 17th as a leadoff, with Bellator 86 the following week on the 24th of January. The 17th features title bouts in the Lightweight and Featherweight divisions, as well as the kickoff of their lightheavyweight tournament featuring veteran Renato Sobral. The following week marks the long awaited debut in the lightheavyweight tournament of King Mo Lawal, as well as the welterweight title defense by Ben Askren.
The truth is, Bellator looks to be staying the course for Season 8, and not changing anything from their flawed system. The title fights they are putting on are backed up for several seasons, as they can’t deliver a work load for their better names under this format.
And then, let’s take a look at the King Mo tournament quarterfinal. He is fighting a guy whose name is pronounced ‘Pass me the Slaw, Aunt Sally’. I don’t know, how would you say Przemyslaw Mysiala? Mysiala is from Poland, and sports a 16-7 veteran record. Whatever the odds are, this is clearly a match that Mo has to win. The idea is to get a tournament final of Renato Sobral and King Mo, and that is just the type of predictability that makes Bellator so firmly B class. When their plans don’t come to fruition it gets worse.
What saves Bellator is that their top performers do put on solid fights, and the three title bouts planned should be no different. What ruins Bellator is their format, which has had their champions sitting way too long between fights, and an inability to announce complete cards with any real advance time.
The lightweight tilt between champion Michael Chandler and challenger Rick Hawn sees Hawn as a slight underdog at +155, with Chandler paying -185. If Chandler continues to be favored, there may be value in Hawn as the underdog, as he has looked good at 155 after competing in the weight class above, and he is a seasoned competitor.
We are waiting on the sportsbooks to produce lines for the rest of the bouts.