There is no UFC this weekend. The Octagon was rocking for 8 straight weeks I think it was, so it’s cool if they want to take a short break.
What is a man to do?!
Well, the FedEx Cup Tour Championship going down in the golf world.
We only have a couple of games this week, but the college football season kicks off. Check out our picks!
Before we jump into this week’s MMA preview of a dead even, at least on paper, heavyweight clash in the Bellator cage, let’s quickly recap last week’s mixed martial arts action.
This was one of the best cards of all-time!
Many times, when a football game or UFC is so highly anticipated, it turns out to be a disappointment.
Expectations are bad and the devil as well to borrow expressions from Mr. Mackey and the great Ms. Boucher.
Somehow they worked out for us this past Saturday, though.
- Derek Brunson (+123) over Ian Heinisch (-143)-Heinisch had a little too much hype and Brunson was better everywhere.
- Corey Sandhagen (+100 by decision) over Raphael Assuncao (+170)-Raphy’s experience and name power weren’t enough. Corey’s line moved from (-160) to (-270) in the days leading up to the fight, but we got him at even money to win over the judges.
- Casey Kenney (+118) over Manny Bermudez (-138)-Manny is YUGE for Bantamweight, and Kenney was tiny coming up from 125. After my pick, Kenney then accepted a catchweight at 140! I was mad, y’all! The tape study paid off, though. Kenney’s wrestling, quick strikes, and submission defense were enough.
- Pettis vs Diaz over 2.5 rounds (-220)-Should’ve been stopped 30 seconds before the over/under cutoff time. Terrible bet at these odds. Got lucky!
- Stipe Miocic (+150 by TKO or decision) vs Daniel Cormier (-136)-I feel bad for you if you missed this one! DC looked great early but Stipe’s adjustment to go to the body with the shovel hook in the 4th proved to be the difference.
- Hannah Cifers (-270) over Jodie Esquibel (+230)-I thought this was a pretty even matchup. Jodie had some takedowns but the ref stood them up after maybe 45 seconds! No excuses. Esquibel was a reach.
- Pettis (-138) over Diaz (+115)-Nate defied his own G-code and went for the takedown! He even checked the leg kick. In the end, it was his pressure and Pettis continually backing up to the cage that did it. Bad pick on my part especially with Diaz plus money.
- Paulo Costa (+125) over Yoel Romero (-145)-Romero is a 5-round fighter and far too patient. The rope-a-dope approach just got him hit too much early on to give him the W. Costa is massive and I would cap him as the favorite against anyone in the middleweight division!
Onto this week.
There were odds on several of the fights on this Saturday’s card but have since been removed for whatever reason.
Bellator is a bit easier to predict as they don’t have as many stars so it’s easier to see who they are trying to push.
The contest between Matt Mitrione and Sergei Kharitonov isn’t one of those fights, though.
The betting odds provided by the BetOnline sportsbook, are nearly even!
This is an outstanding matchup. Let’s break it down!
Sergie Kharitonov vs Matt Mitrione
These two had a “fight” before but it didn’t last very long. In February of this year during their first exchange, Matt opened with an inside leg kick and Sergei circled away. A crack directly to the cup was enough to end the fight in a no-contest.
After referencing tape on the Russian, he has implemented this defense several times in the past with similar results. I wonder if he changes his approach this time or switches it up.
You know, at first glance, I thought this was a matchup of young vs old but Matt is 41; three years senior to the much more seasoned Kharitonov!
The former NFL defensive lineman just got into the MMA game late.
Sergei Kharitonov is an OG if there ever was one.
He fought in the legendary PRIDE organization from Japan dating back to 2003.
The list of his impressive wins is virtually endless. Here are a few.
- Shogun Rua
- Semmy Schilt
- Pedro Rizzo
- Fabricio Werdum
- Alistair Overeem
- Andrei Arlovski
- Roy Nelson
These are just his mixed martial arts wins!
“The Paratrooper” has competed in GLORY and DREAM against some of the very best heavyweight strikers in the world.
Mitrione’s big-name wins are not quite as impressive, but notable regardless.
- Derrick Lewis
- Gabriel Gonzaga
- Roy Nelson
- Fedor Emilianenko
Yes, he beat Fedor!
This is unquestionably the highlight of Matt’s MMA career. It was a quick fight. Check it out in its entirety here.
Emelianenko is known for his speed as a heavyweight. He’s always been undersized but that speed and incredibly explosive power made the difference for him in many of his victories over the years.
Matt is just as fast, though. His quickness has almost always been an advantage for him against his opponents at heavyweight.
Why did the shot hurt Fedor more than it did him, and how was he able to get up and capitalize on the double knockdown when the Russian wasn’t?
There are several answers to that question. Maybe, Fedor has taken more shots over his career. Matt probably has bigger hands.
What stands out to me more than any other is the fact that Matt is probably 30 pounds larger.
He won’t have that advantage against Sergei but the speed difference will be evident.
Let’s flashback to 2016 inside Bellator cage when the undersized and underrated Javy Ayala slept the Russian with one shot.
Sure, it’s been a few years since this happened, and acutely, his brain has likely recovered but it’s the chronic damage I worry about.
Ayala is fast and quick and not the size and weight of Mitrione.
Sergei may have the technical advantage with much better experience but to be slept with one punch like that…
Matt has great movement and footwork too.
Bellator doesn’t always have the best matchups. Many of their headlining fights are (-350) or something like that.
I’m not completely sold on Mitrione winning but he is trending much better. His only loss in the Bellator cage was opposite the current champion, Ryan Bader, and he took him to a decision.
These are heavyweights and anything can happen, but I’ll take the less-weathered, quicker, faster fighter with similar power.
No UFC, no problem.
They picked a good week to take a break as most of us are still hungover from the triple main event that just kept getting better.
Usually, Bellator goes down on Friday nights but this one will be on Saturday. I love some of the undercard action and there were betting odds out there. They ran away, though.
Tune in to this fight between Matt Mitrione and Sergei Kharitonov and I promise you there will be no running away.
Both men are as game as they come!
Matt will need to establish his jab early on and be careful with leg kicks as the Russian has fought some of the top kickboxers of several eras and knows how to absorb and counter with a big punch.
If Ayala hadn’t have put his lights out with just one punch, I would maybe lean towards Sergei here but Kharitonov is slow and he will likely have to eat the same shot from Mitrione.
Even if you don’t watch the entire card, tune in for this one. It’s a great matchup!