Bellator have seriously stepped up their game lately. The promotion are putting on some sensational fights and increasingly more world class fighters are electing to join their ranks. One of the many exciting fixtures that Scott Coker has in the pipeline is the welterweight grand prix.
The UFC is still the dominant promotion in MMA but outside of the top league, I struggle to think of anything more exciting than this tourney. Let’s take a look at what the Bellator welterweight tournament has to offer.
Rory MacDonald is the current Bellator welterweight champion and widely regarded as one of the best fighters on the planet. He will compete in this 170 pound scramble, but first, he will challenge Gegard Mousasi for the 185 pound strap. That superfight takes place at Bellator 206, September 29th.
On the undercard, the GP kicks-off with Douglas Lima vs Andrey Koreshkov. MacDonald won the title from Lima back in January, in a bloody war. Lima and Koreshkov are two of the best in the world outside of the UFC. They will meet in a trilogy bout, sitting at one win each.
The first round bracket also includes Paul Daley vs Michael ‘Venom’ Page. They are heated rivals and exciting stand-up fighters. Even the first round is thrilling.
As for my prediction, I forsee Lima finishing Koreshkov again. His stand-up is formidable right now. Koreshkov could cause him problems initially. However, Lima will likely negate his offence with his brutal leg kicks, before finishing him with a mixed combo.
MVP will be too awkward for Paul Daley to land that big shot. MVP most likely out-points Daley impressively before finishing Lima in the semi-final. Lima would be the toughest opponent MVP has faced to-date but he no doubt rises to the occasion and will gain a lot of experience from sharing the cage with Daley.
Neiman Gracie and Ed Ruth are promising prospects but neither pose a threat to MacDonald. The tournament final will most likely be MacDonald vs Page. This would be ideal for Bellator as it is best for business. That fight is the biggest that can be made in the tournament and Coker is trying to establish MVP as a star.
It is worth noting that Daley’s left hand and Lima’s ferocity could disrupt that plan. Welterweight is the deepest division in the promotion, this tournament makes the weight class even more exciting, with MacDonald offering up the title to whoever he faces.
The heavyweight GP has some fun fights and is doing good business. Although, there is an element to it that is reminiscent of the Japanese old school booking. They are dusting off veterans because of their popular name.
This tournament on the other hand, is legit. The winner will hold a claim to being one of the best welterweights around. They would still be second to Tyron Woodley. With that said, MacDonald has defeated Woodley in the past. If he beats Mousasi he could be in the pound-for-pound top five.
It is perhaps a fantasy but the dream scenario after the tourney would be a cross-promotional bout. UFC’s welterweight champion versus Bellator’s 170 pound titilist. The winner would be the best welterweight ever.