Bellator returns to Spike TV on Friday night for the first time in seven weeks, and for the first time under Scott Coker’s guidance, as some of their season ten tournaments conclude while the 2014 summer series rolls on. Brett Cooper (20-9) has already challenged for the Bellator middleweight title despite never winning a tournament. Against Brandon Halsey (6-0) he has a second chance to take home a tournament title, and is facing a far different challenge than in his first attempt. Despite only being 27 years old, Cooper is considered a gritty veteran because of his style, the fact that he’s got nearly 30 fights, and of course… his beard. He has been controlled a couple times in the past by strong wrestlers, and that’s the challenge that presents itself in Halsey. Cooper should be the better striker here, but if Halsey is pressuring him up against the cage or taking him down repeatedly that’s not going to matter much. One other advantage for Cooper is his cardio, if he can make Halsey work hard in the early rounds to get those takedowns, he should have more in the tank come round three. Whether he can get a stoppage if needed come that final round is another story, but is something Cooper has done in the past. The odds are justifiably close for this bout, with Halsey just a -145 favorite and Cooper a +135 underdog. Andrey Koreshkov (16-1) looks to earn a second shot at the Bellator welterweight title as he takes on fellow striker Adam McDonough (11-0). Koreshkov has breezed through the first two rounds of the tournament in just two minutes and twenty-two seconds combined. Those impressive performances have pushed him to a -365 favorite (bet $365 to win $100) at 5Dimes Sportsbook. McDonough hasn’t had quite as easy a time, but it could be argued that he’s faced the tougher side of the bracket, defeating wrestlers Jesse Juarez and Nathan Coy on the way. Still, he isn’t getting much respect from the public, as he’s a +328 underdog (bet $100 to win $328). Whoever come out on top, both of these fighters are talented, dangerous strikers and this should be an entertaining way to cap off this welterweight tournament. The fight which might have the most buzz on this Bellator 122 card isn’t necessarily in that position for right reasons. It features two fighters who never quite got to a UFC title shot a decade ago now fighting well past their prime. Karo Parisyan (23-10, 1 NC) got a surprising win in his last outing over Ron Keslar, notching his first career knockout in the process. He’ll be facing a man very familiar with knockouts in Phil Baroni (15-17). Baroni has delivered ten T/KOs in his career and suffered six. Both of these fighters haven’t had much success of late, with Parisyan going just 4-5 in his past nine, while Baroni is 2-7 across the same stretch. In Bellator’s constant search for fighters who will draw eyeballs, whoever picks up a win here could find themselves on several more Spike TV broadcasts in the future. Opening up the main card is one of the light heavyweight summer series semifinals, as Liam McGeary (7-0) takes on Egidijus Valavicius (27-10). Bellator tends to put either a very, competitive exciting bout on their broadcasts first, or one in which they expect a particular fighter will get an impressive stoppage. This seems like the latter, as McGeary is one of the only promising light heavyweights on the roster outside of the already known commodities at 205. Valavicius is a completely serviceable fighter in all areas, but he’s physically dwarfed by McGeary and seemingly at a big disadvantage on the feet. That perception plays over into the betting line, as McGeary is a -315 favorite with the comeback at +285 on Valavicius. Bellator also features a surprisingly deep undercard on this event, with the other summer series semifinal, former title challenger Karl Amoussou, former tournament finalist Saad Awad, and prospect Bubba Jenkins. The current betting lines for the preliminary bouts are as follows: Philipe Lins -285 Kelly Anundson +205 Bubba Jenkins -750 Poppies Martinez +450 Karl Amoussou -475 Fernando Gonzalez +325 Saad Awad -180 Joe Duarte +140 Stephen Martinez -135 Sergio Rios -105 Linton Vassell -245 Virgil Zwicker +175
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