After an emotional event last week, which saw Joe Warren capture the bantamweight world title at 37-years old, Bellator return with a card that has been hit with the injury bug as Bellator 129 emanates from the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Welterweight Josh Neer vs. Paul Bradley
The Welterweight main event is set to be intense, when two fighters with extensive finish rates face off with future title implications.
Despite only being 31, Neer has four separate UFC runs under his belt, with career defining wins over Mac Danzig and Duane Ludwig. The Cesar Gracie fighter holds a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and his deadly ground game could prove troublesome for Paul Bradley.
Alliance MMA Bradley is coming off a loss to Nathan Coy, but the NCAA Division I wrestler is a very tough challenge. With seven wins by knockout, submission and decision he is one of the best-rounded athletes in the welterweight class, and he can provide a real test for Neer.
Prediction: Josh Neer
Catchweight (215 lbs) Houston Alexander vs. Virgil Zwicker
After an injury to English native Josh Thompson saw him withdraw from a fight with Houston Alexander, Strikeforce veteran Virgil Zwicker took the bout on short notice.
Ex-UFC fighter Alexander went 2-4 in the promotion, however has an admirable 1-1 record in Bellator MMA, most recently finishing Matt Uhde in the second round at Bellator 117. The Nebraska based fighter is considered a knockout specialist, with 11 of his 16 wins in that department.
Zwicker is known by Strikeforce fans, despite slipping to 1-2 in the promotion. The kickboxing styled fighter is similarly considered a standup artist, with nine KOs to his name. He is coming off a loss to current title challenger BKK’s Linton Vassell, but a win over Alexander could erase that loss.
Prediction: Houston Alexander
Welterweight James Terry vs. André Santos
Brazilian Andre Santos will make his Bellator debut in Iowa and is currently on a four fight win streak. Opponent James Terry trains with Cung Le at his Universal Strength Headquarters, and Mr “Intensity” has six knockout finishes to his name.
Terry, the Strikeforce veteran, didn’t manage a very successful start to his Bellator career, losing to Rick Reeves in a close split decision at Bellator 115. However a win over Santos could kick start his calling under Scott Coker in the very open welterweight division.
Cacadores Team fighter Santos has a very high level of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, with 22 submission wins under his belt. If the fight goes to the mat, there are more than a handful of very dangerous positions for “Chatuba” to finish with his vast experience.
Prediction: Andre Santos
Middleweight Joe Vedepo vs. Davin Clark
The main card opens with a middleweight battle between American Top Team’s Joe Vedepo and AKA’s Davin Clark. Vedepo is 3-2 in the promotion and is currently riding a two fight win streak with wins over Ben Crowder and Cortez Coleman. San Jose Clark is set to make his Bellator MMA debut and has a professional record of 5-1.
The advantage would have to be given to Vedepo on the ground, who holds seven submission wins. In contrast to this, Clark has only one loss to his name, which is via tapout.
Prediction: Joe Vedepo