Scott Coker and Bellator MMA are going back to the well after seeing success from the ongoing heavyweight grand prix and have announced an eight-man welterweight grand prix with the Sportsbook to be named the new welterweight champion. Additionally, there is an alternate fight included in the event of an injury. The tournament begins at Bellator 206 at the SAP Center with Douglas Lima taking on Andrey Koreshkov. Current champion Rory MacDonald has the best odds to retain his belt at +200.
Sportsbook has Rory “Red King” MacDonald Sportsbook as the +200 favorite followed by Douglas “The Phenom” Lima at +300, Andrey “Spartan” Koreshkov at +600, Jon Fitch at +650, Michael “Venom” Page at +700, Lorenz “The Monsoon” Larkin at +700, Any Other Fighter at +1000, Ed “Easy” Ruth at +1200, Neiman Gracie at +1500 and Yaroslav “Dynamo” Amosov at +1500 rounding out the 10-man tournament.
Will the Champ’s Reign Continue?
MacDonald is the current champion, having survived a five-round brawl with Lima en route to a unanimous decision to claim the title at Bellator 192 in January. “Red King” hasn’t entered the cage since and will likely be the last fight in the Sportsbook round of this grand prix because he has an upcoming bout vs current middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi at Bellator 206.
The Canadian was extremely close to securing the UFC welterweight strap prior to making the jump over to Bellator nearly two years ago. Since joining his new organization, MacDonald stopped Paul Daley by submission and, as mentioned before, earned the belt from Lima. The bout with “The Phenom” was an instant classic with terrific back-and-forth action and MacDonald truly showing the heart of a champion as he was a few leg kicks away from being finished himself.
“Red King” opens the tournament against longtime UFC veteran Jon Fitch but the date and location have yet to be announced.
A Dangerous Fighter will be gone Early
Scheduled at Bellator 206 is the rubber match between Douglas Lima and Andrey Koreshkov, with these competitors having the second- and fifth-best odds respectively to win the tournament. Koreshkov scored a unanimous-decision win over Lima to win the belt at Bellator 140, but “The Phenom” got the belt back when he finished “Spartan” with a third-round knockout.
Koreshkov is 21-2 with his only two losses coming against Ben Askren and Douglas Lima, both by knockout. Following his loss to Askren, “Spartan” went on a six-fight winning streak, including a decision win over Lima. But, in the rematch with Lima, Koreshkov was knocked out in the third round. The Russian has gone back to the winning well, earning back-to-back first-round knockouts in his last two fights.
This is the first fight for Lima since he lost his title to MacDonald at Bellator 192. The last time “The Phenom” suffered a setback, he rebounded to a three-fight winning streak, including avenging his loss to Koreshkov. The Brazilian is a dangerous well-rounded fighter, earning 13 T/KO victories and 11 submission wins. The 30-year-old can push the pace with relentless thunderous kicks as was on full display in his championship fight with MacDonald.
Most Intriguing Fighter in the Grand Prix: Michael “Venom” Page
Page, aka MVP, gets his opportunity to do battle with the best of the best within Bellator’s welterweight division. The London native is a perfect 13-0, including 11 wins by finish and eight by T/KO, but has never had a pop-off-the-page type of opponent. “Venom” has been popping up on social media with his flashy aggressive style and over-the-top post-fight antics, including dressing up as Ash from Pokemon and throwing a Pokeball at his foe who was writhing in pain on the ground following a vicious flying knee knockout.
MVP has ridiculous one-punch knockout power and when he finds his range, he is Anderson Silva-like with his showboating, essentially toying with his foes before finishing them. Once again, though, he has outclassed all of his opponents and will now be making a stiff jump up in competition and all that showboating may result in his first defeat. On the other hand, this could be the coming-out party for “Venom” and if he can continue finishing his fights against these top-level opponents, we could be witnessing greatness in the making. At +700 he may be the man to put your money on.
Any Other Fighter: Paul Daley
Although I had high hopes that we were going to get a surprise entrance by Ben Askren, it is veteran of the cage Paul Daley that is the last competitor in the grand prix. At +1000 the heavy-handed Daley may provide some decent value. However, the book is out on how to get past the England native, and that is to take him to the mat as he has made little to no effort on improving his ground game throughout his career. But, fighters must be aware that if they make a mistake, Daley will storm them with a flurry of punches with the intentions of finishing the fight.
We know that Daley is the Any Other Fighter because he doesn’t have individual odds and he has a fight booked with the aforementioned Michael “Venom” Page. This fight is going to be spectacular! Two extremely dangerous fighters with true one-punch knockout power going toe to toe. This really is an interesting fight as Daley has 56 pro fights under his belt, winning 40 of them, including 30 by knockout. On the other hand, you have Page, who has just 13 pro fights and has won them all, including eight by knockout.
All the Announced Matchups
Rory MacDonald (+200) vs Jon Fitch (+650)
Douglas Lima (+300) vs Andrey Koreshkov (+700)
Michael Page (+600) vs Paul Daley (Any Other Fighter Odds: +1000)
Ed Ruth (+1200) vs Neiman Grace (+1500)
And the replacement fight is:
Lorenz Larkin (+700) vs Yaroslav Amosov (+1500)
Here’s a look at the Bellator welterweight grand prix odds:
|Any Other Fighter
Odds as of August 21 at Sportsbook