Bellator Fighting Championships will be back this Friday, August 24th for Bellator 73, live from Tunica Resorts, Mississippi. The main card starts at 8 p.m. (ET) and is headlined by not one, but two tournament final bouts that will be televised live on MTV2. The headliner will determine the Summer Series bantamweight tournament champion when Luis Nogueira (14-2) takes on Marcos Galvao (12-5-1). Nogueira last fought Hiroshi Nakamura in the semifinals, where he displayed his ever-improving takedown defense to keep the fight standing and out-strike his foe. In the third round, “Betao” sealed the deal by polishing off the Japan-native at 1:58 into the frame. His opponent Galvao bested Travis Marx in his last bout, similarly dictating the location of the fight by using effective defensive wrestling and a superior striking arsenal to win a unanimous decision. The opening MMA odds saw Nogueira as a -200 betting favorite (risk $200 to win $100) against Galvao, the +160 underdog (risk $100 to win $160). The co-main event pits Travis Wiuff (68-14) against Attila Vegh (27-4-2) in the light heavyweight final. Wiuff displayed his superior strength and powerful wrestling skills in his semifinal win over Tim Carpenter. It was not pretty, but Wiuff was able to control the entire fight and get the nod on all three judges’ scorecards. In the opposite semifinal, Vegh fought tooth-and-nail with Emanuel Newton in a 15-minute striking affair and picked up a decision win of his own, albeit a highly controversial split verdict. Vegh had difficulties with Newton’s speed and range, but he did manage to stuff all of his opponent’s takedown attempts and land some solid strikes on the feet. Wiuff opened as a -175 favorite against the +145 Slovakian underdog. Further down the card, heavyweights Ryan Martinez (7-1) and Mike Wessle (11-4) will be squaring off. Martinez makes his Bellator debut after a surprising run in ProElite. He scored a massive upset over highly-touted prospect Mark Ellis before besting Cody Griffin in back-to-back decision wins. Wessle has not found as much success recently, going 3-3 in his last six fights, with all three losses coming by way of stoppage.Bellator seems to be setting up Martinez for an easy win, and the odds reflect with him as he opened as a sizable -345 favorite versus Wessle (+275). Matt Van Buren (5-0) and Mike Mucitelli (2-0) will get the main card started in the light heavyweight division. Off the heels of a first-round rear-naked choke submission win in his last fight that followed a second-round knockout victory in his Bellator debut, Van Buren will look to improve his record in the promotion to 3-0. He stands at a tall 6-foot-5 and will try to hand his opponent his first professional defeat. The plan will be the same for Mucitelli, who is coincidentally also 6-5 and coming off a first-round rear-naked choke victory. He opened as a +110 dog, however, as the superior experience of Van Buren has made him a slight favorite at -140.
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