Ben Askren's next challenger will be decided this Friday as Bellator returns (not on Direct TV) with Bellator 72. We will finally see the conclusion of Season 6 welterweight tournament and the semi-finals of the Summer Series tournament which will be concluded during the thirty-first season of Bellator.
Bryan Baker will take on Karl Amoussou in the featured bout of the evening. After dropping down from middleweight, Bryan Baker defeated Carlos Alexandre Pereira and Ben Saunders to advance to the finals, while Karl Amoussou beat Chris Lozano and David Rickles to reach the end of the Season 6 tournament.
The bout between the two 26 year-olds is a compelling and close one. In their last fight, neither fighter looked like a world beater, but they have the potential to be just that.
On the feet, Karl Amoussou is an aggressive striker, and he should set the tone against Baker. Baker's stand-up isn't terrible, but he's going to have trouble against Amoussou's counter-punching and angles. If he wants to win, Baker should take the fight to the ground like he has done in his previous fights.
One compliment that you won't hear about Baker's wrestling game is his finesse and technique, but he is able to get the job done. Like the majority of his fights, Baker will be the bigger and stronger fighter. That strength will come into play with his wrestling as Baker will be able to power Amoussou down to the mat and control Amoussou.
Although he won't be the stronger fighter against Baker, Amoussou will be the faster of the two. That's troubling for Baker who has a slow take-down shot. Evading the takedowns of Bryan Baker should be a top priority for Amoussou.
The striking defense of Bryan Baker leaves more to be desired, and Amoussou may take advantage of that by landing some power shots, specifically his right. Amoussou also has devastating ground and pound, and that could be showcased if he drops Baker and follows up with a scary barrage of elbows and punches.
I'd still have to take Bryan Baker to win the fight. It's a close fight, but Baker is the safer option. He should be able to catch Amoussou and put him on the ground while improving as the fight goes on. Amoussou is hard to finish, so the fight should go to the judges.
A preview of the rest of the fights after the break.
Not too many fans are raving about the Paul Daley/Rudy Bears fight (for good reason), but the fight will as a litmus test to answer the question of whether or not Paul Daley is the same guy that knocked out Martin Kampmann and Dustin Hazelett.
Known as a KO artist, Daley has looked lackluster to say the least in his past five fights, in which three of them he has lost. Rudy Bears is a step down from Kazuo Misaki, but Bears is still a tough fighter. Bears is a scrappy fighter that isn't going to fall over for Daley, but another lackluster performance from Daley will be the final nail in the coffin of his MMA career as a top welterweight.
Bears best chance at victory is to fight like Kazuo Misaki did against Paul Daley. It's a dangerous game to be played, but Daley struggles against fighters who don't respect his stand-up. Although he might try to take the fight down, Bears will have trouble against Daley who has underrated take-down defense.
At the end of the day, I think Daley will come out and make a statement by knocking out Bears, but it really just depends on how motivated Paul Daley is.
Emanuel Newton will face Attila Vegh in the semi-finals of the Summer Series Light Heavyweight Tournament. Both fighters have similar games in that they like to fight in the clinch and grapple with their opponents. Both fighters are also well equipped to fight on the feet.
I think that Newton will be the better wrestler, and that he will control where the fight goes with slams. Vegh possesses an arsenal of submissions, but Newton should be able to avoid being submitted. Netwon's activity from the top position has improved in recent fights, and I think he will be able to finish Vegh with strikes in the later rounds.
The other semi-final of the night will be a bout between Tim Carpenter and Travis Wiuff. Carpenter has a nice jab, but he probably won't be able to use it effectively against Wiuff. Wiuff should probably close the distance and make it a nasty fight by clinching Carpenter against the cage and dragging him down. Wiuff should advance to the finals and receive the 68th win of his career.
A fight between Marius Zamroskis and Waachim Spiritwolf rounds out the main card. It's the third fight between both men, and let's hope this fight doesn't end like the last two. Both fighters love to stand and bang, and anything can happen when both of these fighters are throwing bombs.
Don't forget to check out the under-card on Spike.com, so you can check out Ben Saunders take on Brian Warren. War Killa B!!!!