Bellator 92 preview and predictions: Middleweight and Featherweight semifinals

Featherweight semifinalist Mike Richman lands a kick on Mitch Jackson at Bellator 88. - Bellator.com

Bloody Elbow presents a preview of Bellator 92, featuring the season 8 Middleweight and Featherweight tournament semifinals.

Join us tonight for Bellator 92 coverage, here on Bloody Elbow. This week sees the semifinal rounds wrap up, as the Middleweight and Featherweight finalists are determined. Bellator airs live tonight on Spike TV starting at 10:00 p.m. ET with the prelims airing on Bloody Elbow and Spike.com starting at 8:00 p.m. ET. Join us here at Bloody Elbow tonight for live Bellator coverage.

Here's the full Bellator 92 fight card, with weigh in results, followed by a fight by fight preview and predictions:

MAIN CARD:
Featherweight Tournament Semifinal Fight: Frodo Khasbulaev (145.8) vs. Marlon Sandro (145.8)
Featherweight Tournament Semifinal Fight: Alexandre "Popo" Bezerra (146.0) vs. Mike Richman (145.4)
Middleweight Tournament Semifinal Fight: Dan Cramer (185.6) vs. Brett Cooper (185.1)
Middleweight Tournament Semifinal Fight: Sultan Aliev (185.8) vs. Doug "Rhino" Marshall (185.1)

PRELIMINARY CARD:
Featherweight Feature Fight: Nick Piedmont (146.0) vs. Cleber Luciano (144.6)
Welterweight Feature Fight: Sabah Homasi (170.6) vs. Ricky Legere (173*)
Lightweight Feature Fight: Akop Stepanyan (156.0) vs. Chris Saunders (154.5)
Middleweight Feature Fight: Richard Rigmaden (178.6) vs. Keith Berry (186.0)
Heavyweight Feature Fight: Josh Appelt (247.0) vs. Manny Lara (254.2)
Featherweight Feature Fight: Shad Smith (146.0) vs. Aaron Miller (146.0)
Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Rocky Ramierz (204.8) vs. Brandon Halsey (205.0)

*Ricky Legere has two hours to make weight.

Dan Cramer (10-3 MMA; 7-1 Bellator) vs. Brett Cooper (18-7 MMA; 5-2 Bellator) - Middleweight Tournament Semifinal

Dan Cramer and Brett Cooper meet in what is potentially the real MW final. Not to take anything away from the other two semifinalists, but the winner here should be a favorite no matter who he faces in the finals. Expect a grinding war of attrition type battle between these two. Both are well rounded fighters who like to wear their opponents down. In the quarterfinals, they both employed that strategy, gaining decision wins. Cooper's win over Norman Paraisy came easily, while Cramer's victory over Brian Rogers was hard fought, with Cramer winning in a great war. That fight showed me a lot about Cramer, displaying heart I had not previously seen in him. Cooper is the more decorated, well travelled fighter though, and while I like Cramer's heart, I think Cooper controls too many aspects of this fight.

Prediction: Brett Cooper by decision

Doug Marshall (16-6 MMA; 2-0 Bellator) vs. Sultan Aliev (9-0 MMA; 1-0 Bellator) - Middleweight Tournament Semifinal

Doug Marshall is seeing a late career renaissance in Bellator at the moment thanks to 2 great KO wins. In the quarterfinals, he used his crazy punching power to take down Andreas Spang. The game against Marshall is simple - take him out of his game before he lands one of those bombs on you. If you do that - either by outwrestling him or catching him with your own KO shot, you're in the clear. If not, chances are good you'll be unconscious before the 1st round is over. Sultan Aliev is an undefeated Sambo fighter who looked good but not spectacular in his win over Mikkel Parlo. He's a good wrestler who could take Marshall down, but he sets up his wrestling with his hands. I suspect that will be his undoing, allowing the Rhino train to keep on rolling.

Prediction: Doug Marshall by KO, round 1

Mike Richman (14-2 MMA; 3-1 Bellator) vs. Alexandre Bezerra (15-2 MMA; 7-1 Bellator) - Featherweight Tournament Semifinal

Fight of the night right here. This is just a fantastic stylistic match-up that I can not wait for. Both men are aggressive, go for broke fighters who fight for the finish consistently, yet maintain their technique throughout that aggression. They both are coming in off impressive 1st round stoppage wins in the quarterfinals (Richman over Mitch Jackson and Bezerra over Genair Da Silva). They've each lost just once in Bellator, and both losses come against top level talent (Shamhalaev for Richman, Sandro for Bezerra). In short, these are two fighters who have very bright futures ahead of them. On the feet they're very close, though I would give a slight edge to Richman in the power department. On the mat, Richman favors wrestling, where Bezerra is a jiu jitsu fighter. I'd give the edge to Popo there. Ultimately, this is an extremely close, tough fight to call, but I like the extra variety Bezerra brings to his game, and think that will make the difference in a great, close fight.

Prediction: Alexandre Bezerra by decision

Marlon Sandro (24-4 MMA; 7-2 Bellator) vs. Frodo Khasbulaev (19-5 MMA; 3-0 Bellator) - Featherweight Tournament Semifinal

Marlon Sandro is a two time Bellator finalist looking for trip #3. He's showing definite signs of slowing down, and has lost the dominance he displayed in Japan, but he remains a tough fighter. He barely got by Akop Stepanyan, winning a close majority decision to get here. Magomedrasul Khasbulaev, aka Frodo, is another Sambo fighter who comes in off a nice 2nd round arm triangle submission victory over Fabricio Guerreiro. Frodo has a strong, dangerous ground game that he uses well in his fights. Unfortunately for him, Sandro presents a bad stylistic match-up. Yes, Sandro is slowing down, but that is most evident in striking exchanges. On the mat, he's still capable of grinding out a win. He showed that against Stepanyan, and I see him showing it again tonight.

Prediction: Marlon Sandro by decision

Join us tonight for live coverage of Bellator 92, live on Spike TV.


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