The upcoming Bellator 142: Dynamite is an exciting and groundbreaking event for several reasons.The card will feature excellent action from not only some of the best Bellator MMA fighters, but some of the most explosive and talented athletes from the Glory Kickboxing promotion as well. That’s right—one event with both MMA and kickboxing contests!
Glory has some awesome kickboxing fights lined up, and Bellator is doing their part to add to the event’s excitement as well, with a four-man, one-night light heavyweight tournament for the next shot at the belt. Plus, light heavyweight champion Liam McGeary will defend his title against the well-known veteran Tito Ortiz. Finally, top-ten lightweight Josh Thomson will be making his promotional debut on the main card as well. Additionally, the prelims are also stacked!
Needless to say, there’s a lot for combat sports fans to get excited for here—especially because the card will be televised for free on Spike! Let’s breakdown some of the awesome main-card MMA fights scheduled for Bellator: Dynamite!
King Mo vs Linton Vassell
King Mo vs Linton Vassell is an absolutely awesome first-round tournament match-up. King Mo is a dominant wrestler and staple of the Bellator promotion—further demonstrated by his last win at heavyweight against Cheick Kongo! Additionally, the longtime light-heavyweight powerhouse holds wins over Gegard Mousasi and Roger Gracie (and an arguable decision loss to Rampage Jackson). Expect him to use a combination of both striking and wrestling in his fight against Vassell—with the balance being expectedly towards striking, given his own impressive boxing and the dangerous submission game of Linton.
Linton Vassell is an excellent and powerful striker with a dangerous and slick ground game. As was demonstrated in his title bout against Emanuel Newton, this British light heavyweight warrior has some ultra-slick submissions and set-ups (Emanuel Newton is one of the few fighters in the world that could escape those subs!) His latest win, a TKO over Sokoudjou, as well as an earlier submission win over the tough Virgil Zwicker further demonstrates the danger presented by his impressive ground game.
It should be expected that the fight go to the ground at least once, where King Mo may be in danger of being submitted—even with his impressive top game, Vassell’s submissions are just that good. Moreover, Vassell is a long and powerful fighter, and he may even be able to stuff these takedowns! If the fight stays on the feet, the result is equally difficult to predict, although one would expect Mo to hold an advantage in technical boxing. For this fight, the result is especially hard to predict because there are so many unknowns with regard to how these two fighter’s styles will mesh. As it stands, King Mo is the more proven and tested fighter, and probably has more tools to win. However, one shouldn’t expect this fight to be a walk in the park for him—there’s a good chance he might not come out on top, as well. It’s what makes the match-up so exciting.
Official Prediction: King Mo via Unanimous Decision
Phil Davis vs Emanuel Newton
Longtime UFC light heavyweight staple Phil Davis is making his Bellator debut at Dynamite. The seasoned veteran (who is also only thirty years old) has fought some of the best fighters in the world, and holds notable wins over Alexander Gustafsson, Lyoto Machida, and Glover Teixeira, to name a few. Davis is a dominant wrestler and an excellent fighter. There’s no doubt that he wants this fight—like the majority of his others—on the ground.
Emanuel Newton is the former Bellator light heavyweight champion, and is an all-around grinding and unorthodox fighter that has consistently found success in the Bellator cage. “The Hardcore Kid” holds wins over King Mo (twice), Ilir Latifi, Attila Vegh, and Linton Vassell, to name just some (the Latifi bout wasn’t in Bellator). It would be expected that he wants this fight to remain on the feet—then again, a big reason why “The Hardcore Kid” is such a good fighter is because he not only embraces the unexpected, but uses it in his game (see his spinning back fist wins to confirm this).
Most fans are expecting Davis to get the win against Newton, as well as in the entire tournament. However, Emanuel Newton is an excellent fighter that can’t be counted out of any match-up. He might get taken down here, but expect him to try something crazy no matter where the fight goes—perhaps it will work, and perhaps it won’t. However, it’s a mistake to sleep on the elite light heavyweight fighter, even with Davis being more tested overall. Newton possesses a style that could pose some very real problems for Davis in this fight.
Official Prediction: Emanuel Newton via submission (this guy gets counted out way too much!)
It’s probably best not to predict the final round of the tournament, as one or both of these predictions could be wrong (both are very good fights which are accordingly difficult to predict). However, a viable pick for the winner of the entire tournament really is Emanuel Newton. Once again, he absolutely thrives as the underdog, and has consistently proven the naysayers wrong (see his odds in the second King Mo fight. Ridiculous!). He’s a versatile and high-level fighter that has what it takes to win the tournament and set up a fight for the belt that he formerly owned.
Josh Thomson vs Mike Bronzoulis
Josh Thomson is a tried and tested veteran of the sport that has compiled some excellent wins in his career, including triumphs over Gilbert Melendez, Nate Diaz, and Pat Healy. He’s still a top-ten lightweight, despite some very close split-decision losses (before the Ferguson fight) to Bobby Green and Benson Henderson—two elite lightweights. Make no mistake about it, Josh Thomson is a dangerous and explosive top-level fighter.
Mike Bronzoulis, oddly enough, was the runner-up in Bellator’s Fight Master reality show (he lost a decision to Joe Riggs in the finals). After that loss, Riggs was signed by the UFC and Bronzoulis was cut from the promotion altogether. After that he ran into some adversity in the form of a couple losses, but has regained his form as of late, winning his last three.
Bronzoulis is an all-around style fighter with an emphasis on striking skill.
Unfortunately, he is fighting Josh Thomson in his next bout! Frankly, Thomson probably does most everything better than Bronzoulis—which isn’t meant to take away from Mike’s skills in any way, as few fighters are better than Josh. Bronzoulis should have a bright future with the promotion, as he is a skilled and exciting fighter in his own right. However, this match-up isn’t very favorable for him.
Official Prediction: Josh Thomson by via TKO
Tito Ortiz vs Liam McGeary
Tito Ortiz is a well-known person—for his accomplishments in the cage, as well as his controversy outside of fighting. Despite a rough final UFC run, he has won his last (and only) two Bellator fights against Alexander Shlemenko and Stephan Bonnar. Ortiz is well-rounded in style, and holds notable wins over the aforementioned athletes, as well as Ryan Bader, Ken Shamrock, Wanderlei Silva, and Forrest Griffin, to name just some. Ortiz is a veteran of MMA, undoubtedly.
Liam McGeary is a tough and exciting ground-game specialist who also has some underrated and dangerous striking. He holds notable wins over Kelly Andunson and Emanuel Newton is his undefeated career, and he is undoubtedly a top-ten light heavyweight fighter, despite what some may say. Although his title-clenching battle against Newton was close, it’s important to remember just how good Emanuel is to provide some perspective to this bout.
Although it will be exciting to watch, there really aren’t very many ways for Ortiz to win, besides a wrestling-based decision. However, his cardio likely won’t be able to hold together for five rounds, even if he is able to find frequent success with takedowns (which is unlikely, and there is also the constant threat of Liam’s submissions to consider). Ortiz may try to keep the fight standing, but Liam is very underrated on the feet once again, and will still pose a sizable threat here as well. Although Ortiz may find some success in the fight, it’s highly likely that McGeary will prove just how good he is by securing a finish—with relative ease.
Official Prediction— Liam McGeary via submission
Despite the accuracy (or lack thereof) of the above predictions, one thing is for sure: the fans will be the winners on September 19th, when Bellator 142: Dynamite goes down (for free!). The show is once again packed with awesome fights (in both MMA and kickboxing, courtesy of Glory). Combat sports fans shouldn’t miss Dynamite!