Bellator 187 Fight Forecast

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 1/1/2016 to 10/1/2017. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be includedTapology scores are as of Nov. 10 at 10:30 a.m. ET. Betting odds are from 5Dimes as of Nov. 11 at 11:30 a.m. ET.

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Bellator 182 Fight Forecast

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 10/1/2015 to 7/1/2017. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be includedTapology scores are as of Aug. 25 at 9:30 a.m. ET. Betting odds are from 5Dimes as of Aug. 25 at 9:30 a.m. ET.

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Bellator 178 Fight Forecast

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 7/1/2015 to 4/1/2017. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be includedTapology scores are as of April 20 at 10:50 a.m. ET. Betting odds are from 5Dimes as of April 20 at 10:50 a.m. ET.

Bellator 171 Fight Forecast

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 4/1/2015 to 1/1/2017. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be includedTapology scores are as of Jan. 27 at 9:15 a.m. ET. Betting odds are from 5Dimes as of Jan. 27 at 9:15 a.m. ET.

2017 Prediction Tracker
Odds: 11-4 73%
Tapology: 17-5 77%
Fight Matrix: 12-8 60%
Rankings Momentum: 8-9 47%

Bellator 166 Fight Forecast

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 1/1/2015 to 10/1/2016. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be included. Tapology scores are as of Dec. 1 at 3:30 p.m. ET. Betting odds are from 5Dimes as of Dec. 1 at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Bellator 160 Fight Forecast

Fight Forecast is a recurring series at StrikeScore that provides a stats based preview of upcoming events. 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 7/1/2014 to 4/1/2016. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be included. Tapology scores are as of Aug. 26 at 9:30 a.m. EST. Betting odds are from 5Dimes via BestFightOdds.com as of Aug. 26 at 9:30 a.m. EST.

*Ranking at Welterweight ^Ranking at Featherweight **Ranking at Bantamweight

*Ranking at Welterweight
^Ranking at Featherweight
**Ranking at Bantamweight


Benson Henderson vs. Patricio "Pitbull" Freire"
It is interesting to see Freire as such an underdog. He actually started out as even less of a favorite, but the public has bet him to +195 at press time. 

Considering the fighter who has given Freire the most trouble is Daniel Straus, Henderson seems to present a tough stylistic matchup for him. On top of that, Henderson will be the much bigger fighter in the cage. The fact that the fight is three rounds also appears to stack the deck against "Pitbull." As the more dynamic fighter, the extra two rounds would give him more time to score a finish.

Henderson needs a win here to show that his apparent decline is due more to underestimation of Andrey Koreshkov and less to due with his ability. In retrospect, his three-fight stint at welterweight was probably not the best idea. He went 2-1, but all of his performances were well below his career average in terms of StrikeScore.

Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Bubba Jenkins
In their first fight, Karakhanyan telegraphed the fact that he was going to continually go for the guillotine. He ended up finishing with it anyway. Since then Jenkins has shown incremental improvements, but his submission defense is still a concern. With that being said, the former NCAA champion should be the favorite here. Their first fight withstanding, Karakhanyan normally struggles with wrestlers. If Jenkins can get early takedowns, the former WSOF champion will become less of a submission threat as the fight goes on.

Saad Awad vs. Derek Anderson
If Awad lands early, he can put anyone away, see wins over Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos and Will Brooks. If Anderson can survive the early onslaught, he should be able to prove he is the more technical striker and take a decision victory.

A.J. McKee vs. Cody Walker
McKee is the biggest favorite on the card despite only being 4-0 as a professional. It makes sense in this case. Despite being only 4-0, his opponents in those bouts came in with a combined 11-1 record, so it is not like he is smashing cans. Plus, Walker really struggled with his defensive wrestling against J.C. Cottrell in his last fight (Video). McKee might not be as accomplished a wrestler as his father or cousin, but he still competed at a high level in his school and can depend on it if he gets into trouble here. 

A.J. McKee vs. Ali Naser (Expected starter for Arizona State next season)

Joey Davis vs. Keith Cutrone
Obviously, Davis should be able to win his professional MMA debut based on his wrestling background alone. At Notre Dame College, he went 131-0 and captured four NCAA Division II titles. In the history of NCAA wrestling, there have been only three wrestlers to go undefeated and win four titles: Davis, Olympic gold medalist Cael Sanderson and Marcus LeVesseur. LeVesseur accomplished the feat for Division III Augsburg. He fought MMA 29 times from 2003-2012 but went only 1-2 in the UFC with a split-decision win over Carlo Prater.

Interesting side note: Bellator has promoted Davis as having an undefeated 5-0 amateur MMA record. The only source for this record seems to be an interview Davis did with InterMat in 2014. Tapology actually has him listed as 1-1 in the amateur ranks. Either way, he should have a long and successful MMA career in front of him.

Fight Forecast for Bellator 152

Normally for UFC events, StrikeScoreMMA.com puts together a Fight Forecast. The preview shows the fighter's StrikeScore, betting odds, fantasy stats and so on. However, there are not fantasy numbers, striking stats are not available and betting odds come out extremely late if at all. So, using Fight Matrix numbers, we have come up with the following Fight Forecast for Bellator 152. The table below shows the fighter's current ranking, Rankings Momentum, peak ranking and the date of the quarter in which the fighter had their peak ranking.

In this case, the period use for Rankings Momentum was 7/1/2014 to 4/1/2016. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be included. Betting odds are from 5Dimes as of 11:15 AM EST.

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Notes:

Main Eventers with something to prove
Patricky “Pitbull” Freire has not won back-to-back fights since 2014, which coincides with his Fight Matrix rankings peak. A second loss to Derek Anderson really hurt his stock in the lightweight division, but he got back on track with a win over Ryan Couture.

Across the cage, Kevin Souza will make his Bellator debut on late notice. Souza became a free agent after the UFC did not renew his original four-fight contract with the promotion. During his time in the UFC, he went 3-1 and won the striking battle in all four contests.

Legionarius fights on home soil for the first time since 2005
Alessio Sakara left the UFC after four-straight losses. He is the furthest from his peak ranking on the card and the only one with negative Rankings Momentum. Sakara finally got back on track at Final Fight Championships 19 with a first-round stoppage over Dib Akil.

Coker’s search for next women’s star
During his career as a promoter, Scott Coker deserves partial credit for finding three of the biggest female MMA stars ever: Gina Carano, Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey. Now with Bellator, he has begun the search again. Anastasia Yankova will make her Bellator debut with a 2-0 record after mostly competing in muay Thai and kickboxing. Her opponent Anjela Pink will be making her professional debut. Tapology has her amateur record at 1-1 while MixedMartialArts.com has it at 1-4. This will be about as close to a “gimmie fight” as there is in MMA for Yankova.

Coming from a striking background, she will still need to improve her ground skill. As you can see in her MMA debut, she needs the work. Luckily Coker has proven time and time again that he is a promoter willing to assist a fighter’s development or rehabilitation.

Growth of Italian MMA
Daniele Miceli and Daniele Scatizzi kick off the main card of the first Bellator event in Italy. In a few weeks, they will both be back for Venator 3, which features Rousimar Palhares, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Luke Barnatt, Sokoudjou, Matt Hamill, Karl Amoussou, Che Mills and Cody McKenzie.