Bellator 118 Date: May 2, 2014 Arena: Revel Casino Hotel City: Atlantic City, NJ Interim Bantamweight title bout: Joe Warren (-175) vs Rafael Silva (+135) Fight Breakdown: The main event for Bellator 118 will be a match-up for the promotions interim bantamweight title. Joe Warren was set to face bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas for the strap, but Dantas suffered an injury, and Rafael Silva who was next in line has stepped in to replace Dantas in a bout for the interim belt. The former Bellator featherweight champion Warren is the favorite heading into this interim title bout at -175 ($175 to win $100), with Silva being the underdog at +135 ($100 to win $135) at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. Joe Warren (10-3 MMA, 8-2 Bellator) is coming off a second round TKO victory over Travis Marx and is now enjoying a three fight winning streak, with his last two resulting in second round stoppages. The time he has been putting in at the Jackson-Winklejohn MMA camp in Albuequrque, NM made a difference in his career. He’s sharpened up his striking and seems very re-energized, as if he’s has some newfound confidence in his game. The 37 year old is a very talented Greco-Roman wrestler who loves the double leg takedown, and has not tried to make that a secret. The NCAA Division I wrestler has the ability to take opponents down whenever he pleases. His chin has been an issue in the past, but it has held up many other times. His offensive striking is not great, but it has been improving. His favorite weapon is his overhand right, and he always looks for it. Warren has good conditioning and should be in shape for a 25 minute fight against Silva, should the fight go the distance. Rafael Silva (21-3 MMA, 2-0 Bellator) is comng off a unanimous decision victory over Anthony Leone and is currently enjoying a 13 fight winning streak. The win made him 2-0 inside the Bellator cage, following very impressive promotional debut, where he defeated fellow Brazilian Rodrigo Lima via rear-naked-choke in the second round of action. He is a talented Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner who is always a threat to go to the ground with. As dangerous as he is on the mat, with nine of his twenty professional mixed martial arts career wins coming by way of submission, he proves to be equally as dangerous on the feet, as eight of the twenty came by way of knockout. The 28 year old has great cardio and should be prepared for a 25 minute battle against Warren, should the fight find its way all the way to the judges’ scorecards. Fight Prediction: Leone was unable to find success with his wrestling against Silva, but I don’t think that is going to be a big issue for Warren and his double-leg. He’s fallen in love with his hands, but I think he plays it smart for this bout and sticks to his bread and butter, wrestling his way en route to a five round unanimous decision victory. Gabe’s Call: Warren by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Joe Warren (-175) parlayed with Andrey Koreshkov (-505) for -114 3.35u to win 2.95u
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