The new Viacom owned, Scott Cooker ran, Bellator is back Friday October 21, 2016 in Memphis, Tennessee with a solid card topped off with the most Bellator main event possible.


Alexander Shlemenko vs Kendall “Da Spider” Grove

Middleweight


It has been just over a year since Shlemenko, the former Bellator Middleweight champion, has been in the Bellator cage due to PED issues that almost made him leave the sport. He kept busy in M1 Global with 2 wins. Shlemenko will be looking to make a statement so he can get right back in the mix in the Bellator middleweight division.

Keys to victory:

  • Set up spinning attacks
  • Control the striking ranges
  • Avoid extended clinches and takedowns

Da spider was a long time UFC vet that has found a resurgence at Bellator going 4-2 in the past three years. Kendall is still the same super long and lanky fighter he has always. Expect some

long strikes and some slick submission if it hits the mats.

Keys to victory:

  • Keep Shlemenko at bay with kicks and long punches
  • Go for takedowns and trips
  • Be aggressive for the submission on the ground

Prediction: Alexander by decision



Bobby “The Dominator” Lashley vs Josh “The Juggernaut” Appelt

Heavyweight

Former collegiate & professional wrestling champion, Bobby Lashley wants to continue his four fight win streak to cement his spot in line for the Bellator heavyweight belt. Lashley is a physical specimen that has only lost twice and revenged one of those losses by TKO. He continues to improve and shown a high enough fight IQ to stay with what works.

Key to winning:

  • Pressure and look for takedowns early
  • Tire Josh out on the cage or on the ground
  • Wait for a dominant position, posture up and throw bombs

The Juggernaut is 12-5 in his professional career with all of the loses to people no one has ever heard of. He has a pretty good record for MMA and appears to be booked to keep Lashely’s win streak going.

Keys to winning:

  • Get Lashely to back up
  • Always get under hooks
  • Break Lashley’s cardio

Prediction: Bobby by TKO in the second round



Hisaki “The Japanese Mousqueteer” Kato vs A.J. Matthewss

Middleweight

Hisaki is looking to follow up his second brutal KO of Joe Schilling with another good showing. Kato is a traditional martial artist that has adapted his skills to MMA and Kickboxing. After KOing Schilling twice (once in MMA and another time in Kickboxing), one can argue he is one of the best strikers in MMA today.

Keys to winning:

  • Stay off the cage
  • Wait for AJ to make a mistake and counter
  • Avoid the takedown

Mathewss should be looking to test Kato’s grappling abilities. I don’t have a ton of confidence in AJ if this becomes a stand up war considering who he is fighting. He only has one submission win as a professional making me feel like that is his only option . . .

Keys to victory:

  • Heavy pressure on Kato at all times
  • Grind him up on the cage
  • Control on the ground when the takedowns present themselves

Prediction: Hisaki Kato by 1st round TKO


Ryan Couture vs Goiti Yamauchi

Lightweight

The son of former UFC champ, Randy Couture, Ryan is a slick grappler with mediocre at best boxing.

Keys to winning:

  • Pressure on the feet/comand the center of the cage
  • Slow Yamauchi down be clinching up or takedown attempts
  • Focus on position control when he gets a takedowns

Both are coming off losses to Bellator’s elite lightweights. This fight will help shape the middle of the pack for Bellator.

Keys to winning:

  • Avoid getting clinched up
  • Be more dynamic on the feet
  • Work the body with punches and step in knees

Prediction: Yamauchi be decision

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