I haven't written one of these preview-type articles lately, so I might be a little rusty. Especially for Bellator. But nonetheless, Scott Coker's remade Spikeforce (now complete with the addition of Kimbo Slice) is likely going to be made up of relevant fights on top, with somewhat irrelevant but entertaining scraps for the rest of the main card. That ideal is on full display at tonight's Bellator 132, where a featherweight title fight is being supported by three potential slobberknockers.
Fernando Gonzalez (22-13, 2-0 Bellator) +105 vs. Marius Zaromskis (20-8, 1 NC, 4-2 Bellator) -125
Remember The Whitemare? The man that devastated Hayato Sakurai and Jason High to win the Dream Welterweight Grand Prix? Yeah, he's not that guy anymore. His short Strikeforce run didn't go well. The old Whitemare briefly returned in 2011 with this insane somersault kick though, and that led him to Bellator. He failed to get very far in two WW tournaments, and will probably be used going forward in bouts like this - where he can showcase his skills, but won't be overmatched.
Gonzalez is a veteran of KOTC and the WEC, where he went 2-2 in 2006/7.Since then he has bounced around, fighting at middleweight and welterweight, until he was brought into Bellator as fodder for tournament winner Karl Amoussou. To the shock of nearly everybody, Gonzalez won a decision. He then knocked out Karo Parisyan in his last bout.
So how is this going to go? Well, my guess is that it will be contested on the feet. And while Zaromskis doesn't really have fight-ending power any more, he is the more polished striker. Prediction: Marius Zaromskis by decision.
Houston Alexander (16-10-2, 1 NC, 1-1-1 Bellator) -125 vs. Virgil Zwicker (12-4-1, 1-1-1 Bellator) EVEN
You likely know that this is a rematch. Zwicker was a late replacement (one week) for James Thompson in the first bout and it went to a draw because Houston couldn't stop headbutting Zwicker. That fight was at 215 pounds, this is at 205.
I don't really need to spend a lot of time running down the resume of each - Alexander has been taking fights wherever he can with uneven results, while Zwicker went straight from Strikeforce to Bellator with a KSW fight in there somewhere. I doubt this fight will be as ugly as the first one, and I don't really think it will go to a decision. Zwicker has a full camp for this and should be in much better shape. If Houston can get out of the first he'll have a much better chance, but I don't see that happening here. Prediction: Virgil Zwicker by TKO, round 1
Bubba Jenkins (8-1, 5-1 Bellator) -135 vs. Georgi Karakhanyan (23-4-1, 2-2 Bellator) +115
Jenkins is best-known for being a NCAA Division 1 national champion in wrestling who has made the transition to MMA. Bellator has done their best to build him up with beatable foes and he has mostly done what was expected of him, minus one hiccup early in his Bellator career. Karakhanyan competed in a couple of early Bellator tourneys, losing to current champions Joe Warren and Freire. He then went on a tear, picking up the TPF and WSOF featherweight titles before losing his final WSOF bout to Rick Glenn.
This is a very hard fight to call in my eyes. Karakhanyan doesn't have the best takedown defense, but he has an extremely active and dangerous guard. Another excellent wrestler, Lance Palmer, got subbed from the bottom by Georgi in WSOF, and that's certainly possible here too. He has an excellent guillotine and triangle, and Jenkins will likely be in danger at some point. In addition to that, Karakhanyan is no slouch on the feet either. So can Bubba hold Georgi down or keep him away on the feet? I'm going to lean towards Karakhanyan's experience and tenacity here. Prediction: Georgi Karakhanyan by submission, round 2
Patricio Freire (22-2, 10-2 Bellator) -205 vs. Daniel Straus (23-5, 9-2 Bellator) +175 [Featherweight Title]
This bout should be pretty awesome. Pitbull has been on a tear since his excellent boxing match with Pat Curran at Bellator 85 where he dropped a split decision. He has reeled off five straight wins with three stoppages, and got revenge on Curran by defeating him for the featherweight title in September. His first title defense comes against Straus, who he defeated in a tournament final back in 2011.
Straus is a former champion himself, having defeated Curran for the title in late 2013. He lost the rematch though, getting submitted by Curran in the fourth round. He rebounded from that by knocking out Justin Wilcox in 50 seconds in October.
I'm definitely leaning Pitbull in this fight. His boxing is as good as it gets at featherweight and he's extremely hard to take down. Straus will have his moments, but I see this as likely a one-sided (if action-packed) beating at the hands of the Brazilian. If I was going to bet on anything on this card, it'd be that this fight goes the full five rounds. Prediction: Patricio Friere by unanimous decision.