weidman-rockholdIt was a busy day for both Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Bellator, as both promotions made multiple title fights official. Here’s the rundown: Chris Weidman vs Luke Rockhold, UFC 194 The fight has been announced for quite a while, but it was finally made official last night as middleweight champion Chris Weidman will look to defend his title for the first time against a non-Brazilian as he takes on former Strikeforce champ Luke Rockhold. Weidman famously defeated Anderson Silva twice to capture and defend his belt, but he’s also since defeated Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort. Rockhold earned his shot by not just beating but finishing Costa Philippou, Tim Boetsch, Michael Bisping and most recently Lyoto Machida before the end of the second round. The lines are already out for this fight where Weidman is a -165 favorite while the comeback on Rockhold is +145. This should be a very competitive scrap and Rockhold’s size and impressive ground game could make it very, very interesting. Rafael Dos Anjos vs Donald Cerrone 2, UFC on Fox 17 The headlining bout of UFC on Fox 17 will be a UFC Lightweight title fight as champion Rafael dos Anjos rematches Donald Cerrone. Dos Anjos has been on a tear, winning four straight including a finish of former champion Benson Henderson and a dominant decision over then-champ Anthony Pettis to claim the crown. He also defeated Cerrone via unanimous decision two years ago. Since that loss, Cerrone has been on an absolute tear, winning eight straight bouts including victories over ranked fighters Benson Henderson, Eddie Alvarez, Myles Jury and Edson Barboza. He most recently scored a TKO over John Makdessi, who had stepped in on short notice for the injured Khabib Nurmagomedov. Dos Anjos is currently a -320 favorite while the comeback on Cerrone is +260. Look for that line to continue to climb as the public has been backing dos Anjos thus far considering his victory over Cerrone already and the incredible recent success of the King’s MMA gym where the champion currently trains. Bellator Patricio Pitbull vs Daniel Straus 3, Bellator 145 Despite the fact that Patricio Pitbull won the first two bouts, Daniel Straus will get another crack at the champ at Bellator 145 this upcoming November. Straus was on his way to winning a decision against a bloodied Pitbull in his last title opportunity, but came up short when he was surprisingly submitted late in the fourth round. Straus bounced back by handing prospect Henry Corrales his first career loss this past June to earn another crack while Pitbull successfully defended his belt against a very game Daniel Weichel in a wild contest on the same June event. Pitbull will almost certainly open as the favorite, but Straus will always be dangerous especially as he continues to add more tools to his arsenal of weapons. Will Brooks vs Marcin Held, Bellator 145 The co-main event of Bellator 145 will be a feature lightweight title fight between champion Will Brooks and challenger Marcin Held. Brooks has been on a rampage in the promotion, defending his title against the likes of Michael Chandler in a rematch and most recently Dave Jansen this past April. Held has continued to evolve in the lightweight division, having won his last six bouts including stoppage victories over Ryan Healy, Derek Anderson and Alexander Sarnavskiy. He also claimed the final Bellator tournament title with a decision victory over Patricky Pitbull. While Brooks is a terrific athlete and will likely open the favorite, Held is incredibly dangerous on the ground and is beginning to add a decent striking skill-set to his game. This will be a fantastic fight to witness. Marcos Galvao vs Eduardo Dantas 2, Bellator 144 The rematches keep coming, this time it’s bantamweights Marcos Galvao and Eduardo Dantas. This time, however, the tables are turned as Galvao is the champion and Dantas is the challenger. Galvao submitted Joe Warren to claim the Bellator 135-pound title while Dantas recently defeated a game (and juiced) Mike Richman to bounce back from losing his belt to Warren via decision. Despite the fact that Galvao is the champion, I would expect him to open as the underdog considering Dantas knocked him out cold in the second round the last time they competed. Joe Warren vs LC Davis, Bellator 143 Former Bellator featherweight and bantamweight champion Joe Warren will be looking to bounce back following his submission loss to Galvao earlier this year as he battles resurgent WEC veteran LC Davis. Davis had a very productive last year, going 3-0 under the Bellator banner and recently earning a split decision victory over Hideo Tokoro in one of 2015’s most entertaining fights. Warren will have his hands full with Davis, but he should be the betting favorite when the odds come rolling around. Joey Beltran vs. Kendall Grove, Bellator 143 Last but not least, a pair of UFC veterans will square off as former Ultimate Fighter season three winner Kendall Grove takes on “The Mexicutioner” Joey Beltran. Beltran is one of the toughest and craziest fighters out there, competing on nothing but blood and guts half the time, and he had a successful middleweight debut against Brian Rogers. He’ll be looking to potentially enter title contention against recent failed title challenger Kendall Grove, who was TKO’d in the fourth round of his title fight against champion Brandon Halsey. The odds should be close on this one, but I think they’ll slightly favor Grove. That being said, neither fighter should be too big of a favorite over the other.


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