Bellator 134The British are coming! The British are coming! Well… the British who aren’t injured or haven’t had their fights cancelled for some other reason are coming. Alright, three British dudes are coming. Liam McGeary, Paul Daley (on his second scheduled bout) and Linton Vassell will be flying the Union Jack at Bellator 134 against an American, a Brazilian, and a Cameroonian. Luckily for Bellator, the main event of the card has managed to stay in place, as Emanuel Newton puts his light heavyweight belt on the line against McGeary in probably the most interesting 205lb fight that can be made outside of the UFC right now. Daley was supposed to have a title shot against welterweight champion Douglas Lima as well, but an injury to the champion now sees Daley take on Andre Santos instead. Vassell also managed to stick with his originally scheduled bout throughout, as he will face Sokoudjou on the main card. Joining those two fights is a heavyweight scrap between Muhammed Lawal and Cheick Kongo, while former middleweight title challenger Brennan Ward takes on undefeated Curtis Millender in the welterweight division. All of the action starts on Spike TV at 9pm on Friday night. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for Bellator 134 today at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Take a look: ——————– MAIN CARD (Spike TV, 9pm ET) Bellator Light Heavyweight Title Emanuel Newton -160 Liam McGeary +120 Paul Daley -305 Andre Santos +225 Linton Vassell -260 Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou +180 Muhammed Lawal -130 Cheick Kongo -110 Brennan Ward -135 Curtis Millender -105 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: Emanuel Newton is one of those guys who never really impresses, but always manages to get the job done. Against both Joey Beltran and Linton Vassell, he found a way to win, but hardly looked impressive early on. I don’t think he can get away with the same sort of performance against a much more dangerous fighter in McGeary. McGeary is the best striker Newton has faced in a very long time, and has shown some skills on the ground to go along with his stand up skills. The big question with McGeary is how his cardio will hold up if he can’t get Newton out of there early on, and that’s proven difficult in the past. I have to side with Newton even though he has fought with questionable strategy in the past, but I do think his wrestling and overall grappling will allow him to control the fight in the later stages and maybe find himself a submission. If the line flips, I may have to bet Newton small. Paul Daley will likely knock Andre Santos out, but there’s no way I’m laying over 3-to-1 on him against a guy who has a solid submission game and decent striking. I think he manages to avoid the takedowns, and he’s obviously the better striker in this spot, but it’s not something I want to play unless Santos gets a bunch of dog support. Sokoudjou and Vassell are very different fighters with the same basic flaw: they each have bad cardio. The problem with Sokoudjou is that when he gets tired, he completely quits fighting. Vassell isn’t quite that bad, so I do lean to him slightly if the fight gets into the 2nd and 3rd round, but early on Sokoudjou will be able to stop his takedowns and is the more dangerous striker. I think I’m just staying away from this one, because I can see too many ways this fight can possibly go, but am very certain about none of them. A 39-year-old heavyweight has the cardio advantage in a fight with a 34-year-old light heavyweight. That’s strange, and this fight is strange. Both fighters have “questionable chins” but if you look at the fighters who have KO’d Kongo in the past, they’re not exactly pillow-fisted strikers. I think Kongo’s chin holds up here, and I’m not sure that Lawal’s does. In addition, Kongo is the better striker and should be able to nullify Lawal’s wrestling. If that happens, I have to side with Kongo, and if the line goes any further in Mo’s direction, my money will be on the Frenchman as well. The opening bout on the Spike TV card is the best as far as Bellator’s future goes, as Brennan Ward and Curtis Millender are the only two fighters on the televised card under 30 years old. Ward has already won a Bellator tournament and had a shot at a promotional title (which he lost to Alexander Shlemenko), while Millender makes his first appearance in a bigger organization after showing off some decent striking while coming up. I lean slightly towards Millender in this bout, but I haven’t seen enough of him yet to feel confident in picking him over someone who has faced (and done well against) much better competition. Unless the line gets crazy, this is another spot I’ll stay away from.


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