Fight Forecast is a recurring series at StrikeScoreMMA.com that provides a stats based preview of upcoming events. Since striking stats are not available outside the UFC, we need to get a bit creative. The following uses Fight Matrix rankings, peak rank, Tapology user votes, betting odds and Rankings Momentum.
In this case, the period used for Rankings Momentum was 10/1/2014 to 7/1/2016. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be included. Tapology scores are as of Nov. 4 at 10:15 a.m. ET. Betting odds are from 5Dimes as of Nov. 4 at 10:15 a.m. ET.
Rarely in MMA is the champion such sizable underdog in a title defense. Phil Davis came into Bellator as a top-ten fighter, and he has done nothing to dispel that notion. In three fights, he has defeated two former Bellator champions, Emanuel Newton and Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal. Since making his Bellator debut in only his fourth fight, McGeary has steadily grown in the rankings. However, his biggest win is over Tito Ortiz. He is rightful underdog, but a win here could really push his career forward.
Liam McGeary vs. Phil Davis Fight Matrix Ranking Points
Two of the 'Fab Five' to debut
On the Spike.com undercard, two of Bellator President Scott Coker’s Fab Five wrestlers make their debut, Ed Ruth and Tyrell Fortune. Both attempted to make the 2016 U.S. Olympic team but came up short. You can read more about their wrestling careers here.
Considering the level of athlete competing in MMA’s heavyweight division, Fortune is almost certainly destined to be at least a top-20 fighter. Despite wrestling collegiately as the junior college and Division II levels, Fortune does have several key wins in freestyle including a victory over two-time NCAA champion Nick Gwiazdowski (see below). He also competed at a high level in Greco-Roman wrestling, which always seem to give wrestlers an advantage against the cage.
During his wrestling career, Ruth was percent attacker. In one of his biggest international wins, he scored an upset over three-time world medalist Reineris Salas of Cuba at the 2015 World Cup (see below). In the match, Ruth attempted 18 committed leg attacks as tracked by StrikeScore in a six-minute match. He only scored takedowns on four of those attempts, but the constant attacks clearly wore his opponent down. Obviously MMA is a different sport, but that sort of aggressiveness should help him do well inside the Bellator cage.
The Talita Nogueira vs. Marloes Coenen fight was cancelled after Nogueira missed weight by five pounds. Bellator's featherweight division seems to be cursed. Coenen's last fight was meant to be for the title, but her opponent dropped out. She then lost a non-title match. The winner of this fight was likely to fight for the belt, but now that will not happen. The following is a preview of the fight that now will not take place.
Can Talita Nogueira use BJJ to pull the upset?
Considering Marloes Coenen is coming off a surprising submission defeat, a match against a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion seems like a possible upset. Talita Nogueira is 6-0 in MMA and has not competed since 2013, but she has extensive experience in the grappling game. Despite a BJJ background, she will likely need to rely on her top-position control to win here. In a grappling match against former UFC title contender Claudia Gadelha (see below), “Treta” spent seven minutes and 22 seconds in the top position in a 10-minute contest. Coenen is clearly the favorite, but she does have trouble with solid wrestlers. In her five-fight Strikeforce career, she was taken down seven times.