The first Bellator MMA event of 2017 is upon us and it will also be the last event for the legendary Tito Ortiz. Bellator 170 will be headlined by a light heavyweight division attraction as Tito Ortiz takes on Chael Sonnen. Also, Paul Daley will be battling Brennan Ward and Ralek Gracie makes his highly anticipated MMA return.
Bellator MMA Light Heavyweight Division Fight
Tito Ortiz (18-12-1) vs. Chael Sonnen (28-14-1)
Ortiz has won two of three fights under the Bellator MMA banner, defeating Alexander Shlemenko and Stephan Bonnar, while suffering a defeat to Liam McGeary. Sonnen will be making his Bellator MMA debut in this fight and he has only won just one of his last four fights. Ortiz is also a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, he defeated Wanderlei Silva to win the title and he held it for three years. Sonnen has previously challenged for both the UFC Light Heavyweight Title and UFC Middleweight Title, losing all three attempts to win gold.
Prediction: Ortiz will come out strong in the first round, but he will fade quickly, Sonnen out wrestles him on route to a decision win.
Bellator MMA Welterweight Division Fight
Paul Daley (38-14-2) vs. Brennan Ward (14-4-0)
Daley has won three of his last four fights in Bellator MMA, with notable wins coming over both Andre Santos and Dennis Olson. Ward has earned victories in five of his last six fights, which includes a win in Rizin over Ken Hasegawa in 2015. Daley’s last two losses have come to UFC veteran Alexander Yakovlev and Bellator MMA Welterweight Champion Douglas Lima. Ward has spent the majority of the last four years in Bellator MMA, with notable wins coming over Joe Pacheco, Mikkel Parlo, Curtis Millender and Saad Awad.
Prediction: Ward’s best chance would be to get the fight to the ground, but Daley is excellent at avoiding the ground game, Daley finishes Ward with strikes in the second round.
Bellator MMA Middleweight Division Fight
Ralek Gracie (3-0-0) vs. Hisaki Kato (7-2-0)
Gracie will be making his Bellator MMA debut in this fight and this will be his first professional MMA fight in nearly seven years. Kato will enter the fight riding a two fight winning streak, defeating the duo of Yuta Watanabe and AJ Matthews. Gracie’s last fight came at Dream 14 in May of 2010, where he defeated Kazushi Sakuraba by unanimous decision. Kato has only seen two of his nine pro MMA bouts go past the first round, the longest MMA fight of his career lasted 5:34.
Prediction: Gracie hasn’t fought in a long time and his only chance is to ground Kato, but Kato has amazing striking and he quickly finishes Gracie in the first round with strikes.
Bellator MMA Featherweight Division Fight
Georgi Karakhanyan (26-6-1) vs. Emmanuel Sanchez (13-3-0)
Karakhanyan will enter the fight riding a two fight winning streak, with those wins coming over Bubba Jenkins and Kirill Medvedovsky. Sanchez has won three of his last four under the Bellator MMA banner, with notable wins coming over UFC veterans Justin Lawrence and Daniel Pineda. Karakhanyan is a former World Series Of Fighting Featherweight Champion, he defeated Lance Palmer at the WSOF 7 to win the belt. Sanchez only fought a total of two times in 2016, which is the least amount of fights he had in a single year since 2013.
Prediction: Sanchez has the skills to win the fight wherever it winds up, but Karakhanyan has the better striking and he picks apart Sanchez to earn a decision.
Bellator MMA Lightweight Division Fight
Derek Anderson (14-2-0-1NC) vs. Derek Campos (17-6-0)
Anderson will enter the fight while riding a two fight winning streak, with those wins coming over Patricky Freire and Saad Awad. Campos will also be entering the fight on a two fight winning streak, with those wins coming over Djamil Chan and Melvin Guillard. Anderson didn’t have any of his professional MMA fights go to a decision until his Bellator MMA debut at Bellator 117, that was a decision win over Patricky Freire. Campos fought a total of five UFC veterans in his pro MMA career, with victories coming over Estevan Payan, Yosdenis Cedeno and Cody Pfister.
Prediction: This one could easily be the fight of the night, but Anderson mixes up the striking with the wrestling to notch a close decision win.
Preliminary Card Quick Picks
Chinzo Machida over Jamar Ocampo
Colleen Schneider over Chrissie Daniels
Jack May over Dave Cryer
Cody Bollinger over Henry Corales
Kevin Casey over Keith Berry
Guilherme Vasconcelos over John Mercurio
Gabriel Green over Jalin Turner
Christian Gonzlez over Daniel Rodriguez
Alex Soto over Demarcus Brown
Jacob Rosales over Ian Butler
Curtis Millender over Johnny Cisneros
Mike Segura over Tommy Aaron
Rob Gooch over James Barnes
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