During the midst of a two-event day for the UFC, Bellator will also be putting on an event this Saturday (November 19, 2016). Exactly five years to the day that Michael Chandler defeated Eddie Alvarez in arguably one of the best MMA fights of all-time, the Bellator champion will face the second biggest name in his career in another former UFC lightweight champion. Benson Henderson’s transition over to Bellator hasn’t exactly been… smooth (had to do it), but he defeated Patricio ‘Pitbull’ in his last outing to earn a shot at Chandler’s title. With a win, he would become just the second fighter to become a champion in Bellator and the UFC (Alvarez was the other), but he’ll need to improve on his first two Bellator performances in order to do so. The odds for this bout have already been released, and Chandler is the favorite. After opening -165 (bet $165 to win $100) at 5Dimes sportsbook, he has increased ever-so-slightly to -170 as line margins have tightened up. The comeback on Henderson is +150 (bet $100 to win $150), which is in line with the biggest underdog prices available on him dating all the way back to his classic with Donald Cerrone at WEC 43, where he was a +255 dog. Bellator 165 also features the long-awaited step up in competition for the skull-cracking Michael Page. Now 7-0 in Bellator and 11-0 overall, MMA fans have long been waiting for him to face a bigger challenge. Hopefully, it will be coming in the form of Fernando Gonzalez, although the promotion has tried to book this particular matchup twice in the past, to no avail. Gonzalez is currently on a five-fight winning streak, and his only loss since joining Bellator came as a decision loss in a kickboxing bout against Paul Daley. The Spike TV portion of the card is rounded out with three additional fights. First, Linton Vassell and Francis Carmont — a pair of competitors in Bellator’s light heavyweight tournament — square off while rising lightweight Adam Piccolotti facest the stiffest test of his career in Brandon Girtz. And to make the card truly Bellator-worthy, the opening bout is a women’s flyweight contest between two competitors who combine for a grand total of two professional MMA bouts. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the remaining betting odds for the Bellator 165 main card today at 5Dimes. Check them out: ——————– MAIN CARD (Spike TV, 9pm ET) Benson Henderson +125 Michael Chandler -165 Over 3.5 -175 Under 3.5 +135 — Fernando Gonzalez +315 Michael Page -445 Over 1.5 -120 Under 1.5 -120 — Francis Carmont +110 Linton Vassell -150 Over 2.5 -165 Under 2.5 +125 — Brandon Girtz +160 Adam Piccolotti -210 Over 1.5 -175 Under 1.5 +135 — Sheila Padilla +185 Keri Melendez -265 Over 2.5 -245 Under 2.5 +175 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: We’ve seen that Page can go three rounds when he’s in complete control of a fight (against Nah-Shon Burrell), but I think we finally find out what he looks like when his opponent offers something back for the first time. Gonzalez is certainly durable enough to take some of Page’s shots, and his offense in the clinch and forward pressure could put the dangerous striker off his game. That still may not be enough for him to pull off the win, but if the line gets bet up (as most Page lines do), I’ll have to take a shot on Gonzalez. Vassell and Carmont are not fighters I want to trust at this point. If forced to choose, I’d back Vassell, as he should be able to have some success early here. However, his propensity to tire in fights worries me as this one drags out as Carmont is generally tough to finish. This could very well be the type of bout where a close second round determines the winner, and that’s something I don’t really want a part of betting-wise. Girtz seems to be the forgotten man in Bellator’s lightweight division. Wins over Melvin Guillard and Derek Campos in his last two fights have been quite impressive, and he’s added some dangerous striking to his already potent wrestling. I think he’ll have to rely on that striking here, as Piccolotti is extremely dangerous on the ground. Unfortunately for Girtz, if he’s not able to get Piccolotti out early, he’ll eventually go back to those wrestling roots and that’s when I think Piccolotti can take control of the fight. I’m sure this fight is being set up for Melendez to get a win, but if you’re willing to put money down that she actually does, you’re braver than I am. I’d much rather see Carrington Banks on the main card, even though he hasn’t really added finishing ability to his outstanding wrestling.
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