Bellator 56 will kick off from Kansas City’s Memorial Hall at 5:35 PM Saturday night. Only 2 of the 5 fights feature comparable close odds, while the other three are heavily sided. All betting odds are taken from Bodog.
—-Ben “Funky” Askren vs. Jay “The Thoroughbred” Hieron
Askren (1/6), Hieron (4/1)
Ben Askren still has yet to lose in his career, but this will be his toughest fight yet (which really isn’t saying much). Askren should be able to use his wrestling skills to get Hieron on the mat, where he can then land some solid blows. Hieron is going to have to find a way to counter act the wrestling of Askren, and the bad blood between these two won’t help Hieron’s cause. Askren should retain his title, as one of the best wrestling welterweights. Hieron has won his last 10 fights but at these odds there really isn’t a lot of reason for wise bettors to play this one.
—-Ron “The Monster” Sparks vs. Eric “The American Soldier” Prindle
Sparks (5/9), Prindle (3/2)
Both fighters are absolutely enormous. 6’5″ and over 265 lbs and they are decent wrestlers for that size. Sparks may be the better striker. Both are 35 years old or older and Prindle has only one loss on his record, to Starks ZERO career losses (8-0). In addition to being a better striker, Sparks also has a better power game, and the combination of those two factors should lead Sparks to knock Prindle out. Sparks is best to keep it standing and use his superior boxing to his advantage and he should win this fight as favored.
—-Thiago “Big Monster” Santos, Neil “Goliath” Grove
Santos (2/3), Grove (6/5)
Santos is 9-1 and is a jiu-jitsu specialist. While this fight is evenly matched, the 11-4-1 Grove has a lot of knockout power and could potentially land a big, match-ending blow. Grove is replacing Blagoi Ivanov, who was injured. Santos has been picked by some because Grove seems to lack confidence and Santos has a strong submission game for a heavyweight fighter. This one will end one of two ways:
a) Santos will win by submission
b) Grove will win by knockout
Weighing these two standout skills in the two fighters produces the close odds. I like Santos by submission, but would not at all be surprised to see Grove deal a heavy blow and knock him out early in the fight. Grove knows he has the power to end this fight quickly, but will have to avoid being overly eager to put his striking skills into effect, rather choosing his spots carefully and making good decisions, to avoid a Santos takedown, where things could get very shaky. While Grove isn’t horrible on the mat, he is no match there for Santos.
With a good idea of who to bet on two of these three fights (while I advise staying away from the other), you may feel inclined to back a wager up at Bodog, where they offer a 10% deposit bonus and a great easy hassle-free cashout system.