Check out the Bloody Elbow staff’s picks and predictions for the Bellator 175: Rampage vs. King Mo 2 main card.
Rampage Jackson may not be in the best of shape, having come in at 254 lbs for Friday’s Bellator 175 rematch vs. King Mo Lawal, but Tim Bissell and Tim Burke are both picking Rampage to make it 2-for-2 against his rival. Everyone else is picking the favored Lawal. No one is bothering to go with Chase Gormley to upset Sergei Kharitonov in the co-main.
Note: Predictions are entered throughout the week and collected the day before the event. Explanations behind each pick are not required and some writers opt not to do so for their own reasons. For example, if Phil Mackenzie entered all of his predictions on Wednesday without adding in any explanations, he has no idea if he’s going to be the only one siding with one fighter for any given fight.
Quinton Jackson vs. Muhammed Lawal
Mookie Alexander: I don’t really think Rampage is going to … how do I put this? Give it 100%? His two knockout wins over the last eight years are vs. Joey Beltran and the woefully undersized Christian M’Pumbu. He’s not really willing to let his hands go anymore, and apart from the usual puncher’s chance, King Mo should take him down however many times he pleases and just school him on the mat. King Mo by 30-26 unanimous decision.
Fraser Coffeen: Rampage’s heart just isn’t in this MMA thing anymore, and it hasn’t been in a long time. When you are walking into a fight talking about how you ever regret getting involved in the sport, that’s a bad thing. An unfocused Rampage can deal with someone like Satoshi Ishii, but not Mo. Rampage should just be thankful he’s in there with someone who is going to completely dominate him on the mat, not the kind of striker who could really hurt a guy. King Mo, TKO, R3
Ram Gilboa: There are a lot of maxims in prizefighting. ‘Always bet on the guy who just said he wishes he hasn’t started doing it in the first place’ isn’t one of them. (Sure, ‘go for the guy who just lost to a coming-back 42 year old’ won’t catch either, but still). King Mo by decision.
Staff picking Rampage: Bissell, Tim
Staff picking Lawal: Nick, Ram, Mookie, Fraser, Phil, Stephie
Sergei Kharitonov vs. Chase Gormley
Mookie Alexander: This should be an easy Kharitonov win … if not for the fact that he got KTFO by Javy Ayala in his last bout. That gives me pause because that was a really stunning result. Gormley has improved a little bit since his UFC release, but not to the point where he should be able to beat any relevant heavyweights. Sergei Kharitonov by TKO, round 2.
Fraser Coffeen: I’m not entirely sure what to make of Sergei. If you missed all of his run in Glory, he actually developed into a very good, top 10 Heavyweight kickboxer. But a 16 second KO loss to a 9-5 opponent is really hard to overlook. I’m a bit shocked to see Sergei is only 36 – he feels more like 42 in fight years and is pretty clearly at the end of the line. Honestly, chances are high he gets KO’d again here and that’s the last of his Bellator run. But I’ll be damned if I’m picking Chase Gormley over him. Sergei Kharitonov, KO, R1
Staff picking Kharitonov: Bissell, Nick, Ram, Mookie, Fraser, Tim, Stephie Phil
Staff picking Gormley:
Marcos Galvao vs. Emmanuel Sanchez
Mookie Alexander: Tough luck for Galvao. He moves up to featherweight and his opponent doesn’t come close to making weight. I’ve underestimated Sanchez for quite some time on the premise that he very rarely wins fights convincingly. His performance against Georgi Karakhanyan was a real eye-opener for me, as that’s one of his better showings to date. Galvao raised his profile by making Joe Warren scream out loud with that kneebar, but Eduardo Dantas just absolutely wrecked him. He got back on track with the split decision over L.C. Davis, and now he gets an intriguing matchup in Sanchez. Galvao is slick on the ground but apart from Warren, he doesn’t actually get submissions. Neither he nor Sanchez is a great finisher. Sanchez probably is the cleaner, more technical striker, but Galvao has the power advantage. Dammit. You know the go-to move here … it’s not like our picks for this event count in the standings. Emmanuel Sanchez by split decision.
Staff picking Galvao: Bissell, Fraser, Phil
Staff picking Sanchez: Ram, Mookie, Nick, Tim, Stephie
Steve Kozola vs. Jake Roberts
Mookie Alexander: Bellator MMA has just gone too far. They’ve booked Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, and several other old fighters, but now they’re picking a 61-year-old Jake “The Snake” Roberts to boost their ratings? Actually that isn’t the case, which is somewhat disappointing to me. Anyway, this is a nice clash of styles. Kozola is an exciting prospect with KO power, whereas Roberts has won most of his bouts by submission. Kozola can be a little wild at times but he packs a wallop with his right hand, and he even has a spinning elbow finish on his record. It’ll be interesting to see if Roberts counters Kozola’s pressuring game with well-timed takedowns. From there, I think the MMA Lab product has the edge on the ground. On the feet, I’m pretty confident Kozola can get this done and extend his undefeated record. Steve Kozola by KO, round 1.
Fraser Coffeen: Until commissions wake up, realize how dangerous the DDT is and make the responsible decision to BAN IT, no one is going to be able to stop this guy. Jake Roberts, KO, R1
Staff picking Kozola: Mookie
Staff picking Roberts: Bissell, Nick, Ram, Fraser, Tim, Phil, Stephie
Noad Lahat vs. Lloyd Carter
Mookie Alexander: Showcase fight for Lahat. Let’s be real here, this isn’t one of Bellator’s stronger “tentpole” offerings. Noad Lahat by submission, round 1.
Ram Gilboa: Noad Lahat is the only Israeli fighter in high-level international MMA, so I’m about as totally unbiased here as Joe Rogan when a fighter goes to Mission Control. Still, Lahat growing up in the junior’s national Judo team, and winning the NoGi brown belts worlds at 2010, he’s a real superb grappler. However, he finds his problems on the feet against confident rangy strikers, with reach on him. Carter isn’t one. He goes up here from 135 and is markedly smaller than Lahat – let me check, and no, he doesn’t have any flying knees KOs in his credit – Bellator can produce better challenges to Lahat. Noad Lahat by submission, round 1.
Staff picking Lahat: Bissell, Nick, Ram, Mookie, Fraser, Tim, Stephie Phil
Staff picking Carter: