This Friday will be one of the biggest and most bizarre days in the history of Bellator MMA. The promotion is putting on the fight that began Elite XC’s downward spiral nearly seven years ago. The original UFC superfight champion Ken Shamrock will take on the original YouTube sensation Kimbo Slice at Bellator 138. The pair was scheduled to fight back in October 2008, but Shamrock pulled out of the fight at the last minute and Seth Petruzelli stepped in. Petruzelli knocked out Kimbo in 14 seconds to essentially sink Elite XC. Now, Shamrock and Slice are scheduled for the second time, and even at the combined age of 92 years old, they are likely to pull in one of the biggest audiences for an MMA bout this year. While Shamrock/Slice is the bout that will bring in the eyes, (most of) the rest of the card is one of the best offerings from Bellator since Scott Coker took the helm. Featherweight champion Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire defends his title for the second time against former tournament winner Daniel Weichel. Freire brings in a six-fight winning streak to this match, while Weichel has been successful in seven straight outings. Combined, only four of their 13 wins have come via decision. Another bout designed to bring in eyes is Bobby Lashley taking on Dan Charles in the heavyweight division. Lashley still holds some appeal from his pro wrestling days, and is on a five-fight winning streak including a five-round decision victory. He’ll face Dan Charles, who is best remembered for facing Mighty Mo in Bellator. With the state of Bellator’s heavyweight division, Lashley may even be in line for a title shot with another win here. A pair of former Bellator champions round out the Spike TV portion of the card, as Daniel Straus faces Henry Corrales in a featherweight bout and Michael Chandler takes on Derek Campos at lightweight. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting odds for the main card bouts of Bellator 138 today at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Take a look: ——————– MAIN CARD (Spike TV, 9pm ET)
——————– Brad’s Analysis: I think the Pitbull/Weichel fight comes down to Pitbull just being a far more dangerous fighter in every aspect than Weichel. On the feet, Weichel has a reach advantage, but Pitbull is far more powerful, and adept at closing the distance against longer fighters. Wrestling is probably the most underrated aspect of Pitbull’s game, and I think he’s one of the best wrestlers at featherweight in MMA. On the ground, both guys are talented, but Pitbull has tremendous ground-and-pound and positional skills, which combined with him likely getting in top position will make things very difficult for Weichel. Weichel has been finished 7 times in his career, and I think Pitbull adds an 8th to that tally here. Dan Charles doesn’t have great power and doesn’t have great cardio, and those are the two things that really give Bobby Lashley trouble. Lashley will get takedowns early here, and how long the fight lasts just depends on how he chooses to play this from top position. I think he’ll take his time and wear Charles down before getting a stoppage in the second round. I expect Straus and Chandler to both win their bouts, and think that each will look impressive in doing so. Straus is one of the most competitive featherweights on the planet regardless of his competition, and I think Chandler’s “demise” has been overblown due to the massive improvements made by Will Brooks over the past couple of years. I’m not sure either former champion gets their opponent out of there, but I think each wins clearly.