Live on MTV2, and Spike.com this Friday is Bellator 77, featuring even more Russian talent that Bellator is so expertly developing. The show kicks off the Season 7 Lightweight Tournament and begins at 8 p.m. (ET), with the winner getting a shot at champion Michael Chandler. One of the four main event quarterfinals of the Lightweight Tournament is between veteran MMA journeyman Rich Clementi (44-21-1) and unbeaten Russian beast Alexander Sarnavskiy (20-0). We don’t know if Sarnavskiy is the next coming of Alexander Shlemenko, but the 23-year-old has seventeen stoppages among his 20 wins and is surprisingly well-rounded for his brief time in the cage and ring. Clementi is what he is, a former UFC fighter who has traveled the world and fought plenty of game opponents, except he usually loses to the upper echelon fighters. Clementi has gone 11-7 since being released by the UFC in 2009, but he has won three of his last four. Despite his recent surge, Sarnavskiy opened as the -260 favorite (bet $260 to win $100) to Clementi’s +200 (bet $100 to win $200). Although he has lost his last two fights in Bellator via controversial decisions, Rene Nazare (10-2) still considers himself undefeated. Now he enters the Bellator Season 7 Lightweight Tournament with a chip on his shoulder and an increased level of motivation to get in and use his devastating Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. His opponent is Ricardo Tirloni (14-2), a BJJ black belt who has slightly better hands than Nazare, but not by much. Both of these fighters will either take it to the mat early and often, or like so many evenly matched grapplers, it will turn into a sloppy boxing match. Tirloni is a bit more well-rounded and opened as the slight favorite at -160 to +130 for Nazare. The next Russian on the the bill is Murad Machaev, who is also undefeated at 9-0 in his three-year MMA career. He has made the move to California to learn and grow on the formidable mats of Reign Training Center with Mark Munoz, Jason “Mayhem” Miller and Master Raphael Cordeiro. Machaev will take on Polish lightweight Marcin Held (13-2), who is more of a grappler with a brown belt in BJJ but also has a willingness to bang as he closes the distance. This should be a very competitive matchup with Held opening as the +100 underdog to Machaev’s -130. Yet another Russian comes out of Greg Jackson’s MMA in Magomed Saadulaev (14-1). He takes on 33-year-old WEC, M-1 and Bellator vet Dave Jansen (17-2), who fights out of the legendary Team Quest in Troutdale, Oregon. Saadulaev obviously has excellent coaching coming out of Jackson’s camp and boasts good ground skills offensively and defensively, but he has only finished half of his fights. That said, he is a smart fighter and will not look to put himself in danger often. Meanwhile, Jansen is a guy who would prefer to sub you on the ground, but he is also willing to make the fight a scrap. Because of this, he opened as the favorite at -150 compared to Saadulaev’s +120 in what should be another close fight.
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