This coming weekend is a feast for fight fans and Bellator 151 is a very tasty appetizer. Bellator 151: Warren vs. Caldwell airs live on SPIKE TV on Friday, March 4, with the action hitting off at 9PM ET/PT. The card takes place in the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
While all eyes may be on UFC 196, this card is actually pretty solid and features some of the best talent outside of the UFC. The main card features a good mix of wrestling studs and submission specialist. Bellator 151 has the potential to be a great card with some serious title implications.
Let's see what the card has in store for us:
Pretty solid fight here, Joe Warren is the former bantamweight and featherweight champion and is in pursuit of another title shot, but he is aging. At 39, it could be said that Warren's best days are behind him, which is a shame as he has been one of the most exciting guys on the Bellator roster. Skill wise, Warren's bread and butter has been his wrestling. Warren was a FILA Greco-Roman world champion and also a Pan Am champion and since debuting in MMA he has employed a top-heavy game to much success. Striking has always been Warren's achilles heel, but he has made great improvements over the last 2 years.
Joe Warren has the wrestling advantage against 99 percent of MMA fighters in the world, but this won't be the case when he faces Darrion Caldwell. When Coach Mike declares someone the "most talented wrestler that he has ever seen", I immediately pay attention. Caldwell is simply amazing on the mat, a national champion and a legitimate collegiate wrestling superstar. Since debuting in MMA Caldwell has looked phenomenal and he honestly has all the potential to make it to the upper-echelons of this sport.
Prediction: Darrion Caldwell by decision.
I subscribe to the philosophy that as the overall skill level drops, the easiest way to pick a winner is to pick the grappler. Fernando Gonzalez has surprised me before, I was shocked when he defeated Amoussou and he has looked good in recent MMA performancs, but I really don't think he can pull off the win against Smith. Smith is perhaps best known for his unsuccessful stint on TUF 17, but since then he has made massive strides in his game. Smith has won 7 of his 9 post-TUF fight and has looked much more assured and confident in the cage. The key to victory for Smith is taking the fight to the ground and stifling Gonzalez's superior striking throughout.
Prediction: Gilbert Smith rear-naked choke round 2.
Don't be fooled by anyone, this fight could well be the best prospect vs. prospect fight of 2016. Bubba Jenkins is one of the most exciting wrestlers competing in MMA today. Jenkins, a master of the slam, is a NCAA champion and has amassed a rather impressive MMA record.Over the last few years, Jenkins has really diversified his skills and is beginning to show all the hallmarks of a future champion, but one weakness he has shown is over aggressiveness, which saw him getting choked out at Bellator 132. Goiti Yamauchi is simply phenomenal. Yamauchi's striking has improved exponentially, but he really shines when it hits the mat and has secured 15 submission victories in his young career. The key to this fight will be Jenkins aggressiveness, if Jenkins is patient, he should have enough about him to stifle Yamauchi's submission game, but if he comes in too aggressive then Yamauchi will almost certainly choke the wrestler out.
Prediction: Bubba Jenkins via decision.
Main Card (Spike TV, 9 PM ET/PT)
Darrion Caldwell vs. Joe Warren
Fernando Gonzalez vs. Gilbert Smith
Bubba Jenkins vs. Goiti Yamauchi
Sirwan Kakai vs. Joe Taimanglo
Preliminary Card (BloodyElbow.com, 6:45 PM ET)
Roger Carroll vs. Neiman Gracie
Steve Garcia vs. Ricky Turcios
Justin Patterson vs. Chance Rencountre
Chris Jones vs. Ray Wood
Derek Palmer vs. Jermayne Barnes
Treston Thomison vs. Aaron Roberson
Join us Friday night, here at Bloody Elbow for live coverage of Bellator 151: Warren vs. Caldwell.