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Bonesnapper’s Bellator Breakdown Team: Bellator 64 Predictions

By Michael Flores on April 4, 2012

Bellator

Bonesnapper’s Bellator Breakdown Team:
Michael Flores (3-2); PSU J.H. (2-3)
Trig Berge (2-3); Mike Dutro (4-0)
Bonesnapper BBT (11-8)

Ben Askren vs Douglas Lima — PSU J.H.
Ben Askren is a stud wrestler turned stud wrestler forced to stand at the start of every round. Askren is 9-0 as a professional. Under the Bellator promotion he is 6-0, with wins over Ryan Thomas (twice), Dan Hornbuckle, Lyman Good, Nick Thompson, and Jay Hieron. Before MMA, Askren was a very accomplished wrestler. In college he wrestled for Missouri. While there he became a 4 time NCAA Division 1 All-American, and a 2 time national champion. Ben may be the best folkstyle wrestler at welterweight in MMA. Ben hasn’t won over too many fans with his style. It’s no secret his striking isn’t his strong point. His style is similar to that of UFC veteran Jon Fitch, only Ben has much better wrestling. Ben’s game plan pretty much no matter who he is fighting, is to get the fight down, do some ground and pound, or take the submission if it was there. Askren has worked a lot on his BJJ since transitioning into MMA. With his incredibly strong wrestling base, and his understanding of BJJ, he will be extremely difficult to submit. Once Askren has his opponent on the ground, he utilizes his folkstyle base, and completely smothers his opponent with amazing control. Ben will not fool around with the stand up game much at all, and he’s not worried about the crowds boos.

Douglas Lima is a bad man. He’s a killer. Every fight he’s looking to wreck his opponent. Lima is 21-4 as a professional with 7 KO, and 11 submissions. He is 3-0 in the Bellator promotion with wins over Steve Carl, and KOs over Chris Lozano and Ben Saunders. Lima is the more complete package. He is good at every area, but not truly elite at any. Lima has proven on many occasions that he can not only win, but finish the fight wherever it takes place. He has knockout victories over accomplished strikers, and submission wins over BJJ fighters. Although Lima has more submission victories than KOs, his first love is going for the knockout. He has good kicks, and knockout power in his hands. He has very accurate strikes, and throws a lot of fast, long, hard straight punches.

This fight is going to come down to one thing, how quickly Askren can take Lima down. From the moment the opening bell rings, look for Askren to apply heavy pressure, and constantly look for the takedown. Lima is going to have to find a way to keep this fight standing, or land a heavy shot before he gets planted to the mat. Lima is going to have a extreme advantage in the striking, but Askren has the same advantage on the mat. Although Lima has excellent submissions, Askren is going to be a very tough task to submit. On the ground, Askren is just going to control Lima, and try to do enough to keep the referee from standing them back up. I expect this to be the most boring Douglas Lima fight he’s ever been in, but not because of Lima. I see Askren taking down Lima at will, and then riding out a long boring decision. Expect a lot of boos from the crowd, and Ben Askren’s hand to be raised via Decision.

Alexandre Bezerra vs Marlon Sandro — Trig Berge
Bezerra- 5’-8” 145lbs and a 70” reach. Bezerra has a record of 13-1 that consists of 8 submissions, 4 KOs, and 1 DEC. His lone loss comes by submission to Charles Oliveira. 9 of his 13 wins have come in the 1st round. Bezerra’s standup is his weak link. He does use it to stay on the outside. Bezerra is not one to stand in the pocket and trade. Instead he uses a fast in and out to set up his takedowns. Once on the ground he works his magic. Bezerra is real fast in scrambles and transitions quickly from one sub attempt to another until he catches his opponent making a mistake.

Sandro-5’-8” 145lbs and a 67” reach. Sandro has a record of 21-3 that consists of 9 DEC, 7 KO, and 5 SUB wins. His losses come by 2 DEC (Omigawa and Hioki) and 1 KO (Pat Curran). Since his loss in Bellator’s 2011 summer series tournament final to Curran he has dismantled Dias and Vargas both by 1st round submission. Sandro is a powerful aggressive striker that has fast hands and cuts angles well. He has power in both hands and the ability to end a fight with one punch. Unlike most Brazilians, Sandro has excellent ground and pound capabilities. That combined with his black belt level BJJ skills and decent take down defense, Sandro is always dangerous.

Bezerra is definitely a worthy opponent, but I just don’t think he has anything that Sandro hasn’t seen before. Simply put, Sandro is better anywhere this fight goes. Standing Sandro has a huge advantage with his leg kicks followed up with a huge overhand right then a looping left hook. Sandro does have a tendency to get wild with his striking, but I don’t think Bezerra will be able to capitalize on that. On the ground, I think both fighters have real good skills but Sandro will still have the upper hand. In the end, I think Sandro will use his takedown defense to keep the fight standing where he will chase Bezerra around the cage until he drops him with a big shot late in the 1st round.

Travis Marx vs Masakatsu Ueda — Michael Flores
This is a particularly difficult fight for me to pick. I have not seen very much footage of Travis Marx, and the footage I have seen was not particularly impressive. Although the footage I speak of is his fight with a 1-0 Rad Martinez of April 2008. A fight I did not think he won by any stretch of the imagination, having scored it myself 30-27 Rad.

What I do know about Travis Marx is that he was NJCAA wrestler, that finished third overall in 2001, who then went on to become a Utah State Trooper. For a time he trained with Jeremy Horn, appearing on the Tapout television show where he faced Steven Siler. Siler finished the fight by triangle choke in the second round. In 2010 Travis switched camps from Utah to New Mexico, where he would then receive guidance from the maestro, Greg Jackson of Jackson’s MMA.

Marx’ opponent Masakatsu Ueda is a Japanese import to the Bellator promotion. It will be his first fight state side, and this is always a cause for concern. Ueda brings solid, well rounded skills to Bellator. Ueda’s biggest strength is his grappling, whether it be from the top or bottom positions. Ueda moves deftly from transitions to sweeps to submission attacks throwing his opponent for a loop, continuously keeping his opposition on their toes defensively. One downfall to the grappling prowess of Ueda is the fact that he is comfortable fighting from off his back for stretches of time, something which is not judged very accurately in the states. This could be a problem.

Ueda’s weak point is not his striking as I have seen some others write, but rather his takedown capabilities. Sure Ueda sticks to his opponent like glue, trapping legs and tying up arms as he attempts to get the fight to the ground, however it lies in his ability to secure the takedown once on the ground for just the briefest of moments to engage his ground attack. Between those moments he has shown difficulty. This might present a problem for the smaller Japanese fighter coming into his first fight in the US, where he’ll face a much larger fighter; Marx has fought as high as lightweight [150lbs] to my knowledge, where he looked quite stocky, though his gas tank appeared small. Conditioning for Ueda does not appear to be a factor of concern at all however.

Standing, Ueda mixes punches and kicks well, striking from a southpaw stance in a kickboxing style. Ueda’s left low kicks can be brutal at times, leaving welts on his opponents legs and stifling their once speedy footwork. From what I could see of Travis in a video now dated, I saw stand up that lacked technique and proficiency, though I have to assume that training at a camp as well renowned as Jackson’s MMA with a striking coach the likes of Winklejohn would sharpen those skills into a deadly array of tools. Not too mention strengthening Marx’ initial base, wrestling, in a camp known for some of best wrestlers in the sport today.

It is logical to take Ueda, whom I have seen more video of and believe to have the better overall skills. It does not seem logical at first to me, but it seems right picking the wrestler who’ll have the obvious size advantage [although giving up two inches in height] who can utilize the unified rules of MMA in his advantage by taking clear advantage of Ueda’s comfort fighting off his back, which does not play so well in the judges eyes in the states. It may sound crazy, but I will roll the dice on this fight and take the NJCAA wrestler who is more familiar fighting in the cage, and who has been training with Jackson’s since 2010 over Ueda in Ueda’s debut fight in the states by decision.

Rodrigo Lima vs Hiroshi Nakamura — Mike Dutro
In this Bantamweight fight we have an intriguing match up. One that pits relative newcomer Rodrigo “Ratinho” Lima who is only 20 years old against a seasoned veteran in Hiroshi “Iron” Nakamura. Lima is a young prospect on the rise, compiling a record of 10-0. He has 8 finishes and they are all in the first round. On the feet he can use some work on his technical striking, but he does possess power in his hands, as shown in his fight against Luis Carlos. His striking is a little sloppy where he tends to throw looping punches while coming forward with no regard for himself nor his opponent. It has worked for him against cans on the Brazilian circuit but coming to America he will have to tighten up.

Where Ratinho really excels is on the ground whether it be on top or on bottom. Either position he is very comfortable throwing together subs quickly. In this fight against Iron, Ratinho might be spending a majority of this fight on his back. He will have to be active and pressure Iron with arm bars and triangles and go for sweeps so he doesn’t lose on the judges scorecard. He may be a young fighter, but he has the killer instinct. One problem in this fight could be that it will be his first time fighting outside of Brazil. Will we see the lightning rod strike down “Iron” or will he be stifled

Hiroshi Nakamura is best known for his grinding style that has lead him to the nickname “Iron” and a record of 14-5 with 12 of his wins coming via Decision. Iron loves to get the fight to the ground where he can work his GNP and control his opponent. He may not look strong but his top game is some of the best in his division. He holds notable wins over Yoshiro Maeda, Masakazu Imanari, and Jong Man Kim. He has also fought to a draw with UFC title contender Hatsu Hioki. In this fight Nakamura will want to get this fight to the ground fast so he can work his game. He does not have a strong stand up game, he tends to get caught, with 3 loses by way of T/KO. It’s not horrendous but avoiding it would be his best option. He will need to stay heavy on top not giving Lima any room to breathe and suck the life out his younger foe. If he can get the clinch and work knees and punches to the body making it an all out dirty war he will have a great chance of winning.

We can either see the prospect score a quick KO or SUB in this fight or we can see the veteran put on a control clinic that will displease the fans. I feel that with his experience against top competition that it will lead Nakamura to victory by DEC.

Fantasy Pick- Low Lock-Nakamura-DEC-3

Chris Horodecki vs Mike Richman — Michael Flores
Mike Richman will be making his move here to the national stage with a huge step up in competition when he meets up with IFL and WEC veteran Chris Horodecki. Horodecki is most notably known in his mixed martial arts career for his Dutch style kickboxing, which was learned and fostered under the wise tutelage of the late Shawn Tompkins. Horodecki standing is a threat to any fighter, as he can be very patient and technical utilizing his knowledge of range in conjunction with his speed to set up opportunities to fire off brilliant combinations to dazzling perfection.

Richman contrary to Horodecki can be a fireball of energy as he blitzes to get on the inside where he will throw rights and lefts, making the situation for his opponent quite uncomfortable, as well quite difficult. Richman through the pressure of his onslaught brand of offense makes up for his deficiencies defending against better strikers. Richman unlike Horodecki from what I have been able to see of Richman keeps his hands low, from sternum level to waist at times, his chin un-tucked with flat footwork. Horodecki in comparison has his elbows tucked in, chin guarded and after each strike thrown immediately brings it back to defend in earnest.

Richman and Horodecki are comparable in terms of speed, although as mentioned prior, Horodecki makes better use of that facet of his ability. Richman does not demonstrate the striking chops to string together the combinations that Horodecki possess. Richman after tasting the leg kicks proceeded by either the left jab or overhand right will in my estimation look to clinch. Here too in the clinch I think the much more seasoned Chris Horodecki will possess the advantage. Whether it being his utilization of the single collar tie to deliver left uppercuts; the thai plumb to paste Richman with knees to the body or head; or the ability to trip Richman from either left or right with outside leg trips from over/under or the body lock.

Richman once on the ground does have an active guard. Richman will look to sweep to regain a more dominant position, or attack with the armbar and triangle submissions. On top Richman is also very active. Richman does not hold up or impede his downward strikes on his opponent while actively searching to advance his top position. It is from the top that Richman is able to enforce enough pressure on his opponent that his opponent can wilt, leading more often than not to them rolling to their stomachs leaving them to defend Richman’s RNC. Most times unsuccessfully. However, against Horodecki this will be a tall order to fill, though Richman’s move to The Academy in Minnesota may have shortened this order by a few inches.

Horodecki has shown time and time again that his ground skills are not be trifled with. Horodecki while having suffered a set back in the opening round of his fight against Mike Corey, he displayed nevertheless his composure to go through heavy punishment and a dire submission situation without losing his head. Many times outside from this one occasion though, Horodecki does well getting his hips out from under his opponent, creating enough space to get to his knees or outright to his feet. On top Horodecki will look to pass, although if the opportunity presents itself, Horodecki will stay in the guard of his opponent if postured up to level down big GNP. In half guard Horodecki maintains good hip pressure, where he will smash down his opponents head to move into side mount. All things Richman will have to look to avoid if he is to have a chance winning this fight.

I do not believe that Richman will have the wrestling/grappling ability to impose his style of fight on Horodecki. So it will be up to Richman to make what he can happen standing. Outside of this I imagine Horodecki owning the standup portion of the fight from range mixing his strikes fluidly as he changes his levels of attack from legs, body to head; firing off his patented overhand right to right leg kick or left leg kick to superman punch. In the clinch Richman will struggles with the fight to the ground, and the offensive abilities of Horodecki. Richman may even find himself hitting the mat with his back at times too due a trip. Horodecki by late T/KO or decision.

Bellator 64 Picks:

Ben Askren by Decision
Marlon Sandro by KO
Travis Marx in an upset Decision
Hiroshi Nakamura by Decision
Chris Horodecki by T/KO or Decision

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Author: Michael Flores

@MFlores_punx702

 

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