Bellator will romp off from Harrah’s Tunica Hotel and Casino in Mississippi on MTV 2 on Saturday night at 5 PM EST. The fight card features four fights. Let’s take a look at the match ups and preview the possible winners.
All betting odds are taken from Bovada.
Matt Van Buren (-135) vs. Mike Mucitelli (+105)
Mucitelli is 2-0 in his MMA career and won a TKO over Steve Skrzat in 2010. He’s only gotten better since then, and this fight looks to be the best one on the card. Van Buren is 5-0, so someone is due to lose their first fight tonight. Van Buren has won three of his five fights by stoppage. He knocked out Nick Nichols in the second round of the October fight and this one really could go either way.
“I have a big chip on my shoulder because I feel like I should be fighting Wiuff in the Finals on Friday and winning the tournament,” Mucitelli said. Will that chip on his shoulder lead to a more inspired effort, one enough to take down the slightly favored Van Buren? We’ll see, but I advocate staying away from laying a wager on the most exciting fight on Saturday night’s card.
Travis “Diesel” Wiuff (-190) vs. Attilia “Pumukli” Vegh (+155)
Wiuff is a grizzlies vet in MMA and has fought in light heavy weight and heavyweight throughout his career. He’s fought 81 fights over 11 years and his experience makes him a favorite. He’s 12-1-1 in his last 15 fights, with victories over Jeff onion and Christian M’Pumbu. He took care of business in a big way against Chris Davis and Tim Carpenter to reach the finals in this tournament.
Vegh dominated in the Euro circuit and went undefeated in five fights in 2011. He made his Bellator debut at Bellator 64, but didn’t impress really, getting a split decision against Dan Spohn. He’s tough, though, and can’t be discounted in this fight. Really, this matchup will come down to both the speed of the fighters an their power/strength. Wiuff is a huge light heavyweight and weighed 240 after rehydrating. Vegh can’t allow himself to be backed into the fence and will have to be careful with Wiuff’s submission attacks.
This one will likely go to decision, but should result in a victory for the favored Wiuff.
Ryan Martinez (-400) vs. Mike “The Juggernaut” Wessel (+300)
Wessel is 11-4 and is a good UFC vet, but his time there just didn’t last. He lost to Antoni Hardonk at UFC 92 and lost again to Marcus Jones in a prelim bout. He’s gone 3-2 since then.
Martinez is 7-1 and he won a big match against Mark Ellis by unanimous decision, which wasn’t easy given the fact Ellis is a former national champion in wrestling, not to mention Ellis is also a great kick boxer. That victory speaks volumes to his ability to hang with powerful and versatile fighters, and the experience and performance is what makes him a heavy favorite here. He’s predicted by SB Nation to win a submission in round one. I don’t disagree.
Luis Alberto “Betao” Nogueira (-190) vs. Marcos “Loro” Galvao (+155)
Galvao really should havoc won his fight against Joe Warren, but the judges sided with Joe Warren, and then in the 135 pound tournament, he lost another poor decision to Alexis Vila. His aggressive nature should serve him well in this fight though, and is what makes him favored by MMA oddsmakers. He won closely contested fights against both Ed West and Travis Marx to get to this fight.
Noguiera defeated Alexis Vila in the quarterfinals of the last Bellator tournament, but took care of business by knocking out Hiroshi Nakamura in the semis.
While Galvao has a lot of experience, he hasn’t been on his strike game and Noguiera is a younger fighter who should be better conditioned and more agile. “Betao” is also a more powerful fighter. These aspects all stack up to give him a good advantage, making him the strong favorite he is in this fight…though, he will likely win it by decision.