It’s another stop in Atlantic City, New Jersey this Friday night as Caesars Hotel and Casino hosts the Bellator Season 6 Featherweight Tournament finale between former Sengoku 145lbs. king “The Monster of Rio” Marlon Sandro (22-3) and seasoned Bellator veteran Daniel Straus (19-4). Both men are making their second appearance in the tournament finals. Bantamweight semi-final number one goes down in the co-main event as WEC veteran “Loro” Macros Galvao (11-5) faces submission expert “T-Train” Travis Marx (19-3). Two UFC veterans will face off in a light heavyweight special feature fight as “The Silverback” Seth Petruzelli (14-6) battles “The Fury” Carmello Marrero (14-5). Starting off the main card on MTV2 is a rematch that has been brewing since November 2010 when their Strikeforce bout was ruled a No Contest, as DREAM Welterweight Champion “The Whitemare” Marius Zaromskis (16-6) locks horns with Wacchiim Spiritwolf (9-9) for a second time.
Marius Zaromskis vs. Waachiim Spiritwolf: Their first meeting may have ended in a No Contest but this time fans can expect either Spiritwolf or “The White Nightmare” to have his hand raised in victory by the end of the bout. The two knockout artists have shared their highs and lows in recent years, but all that will be put to the side in Bellator. Zaromskis, the southpaw, is known for his aggressive striking and will waste no time getting in the face of Spiritwolf. Spiritwolf on the other hand will look to drag Zaromskis into deeper waters while he picks his shots and slows down the action. Zaromskis can get a little wild in the pocket. If he gets into a heated exchange, he will drop his hands, wing punches, and leave his chin exposed. Spiritwolf has been in tight spots many times and his epic battle with “El Cucui” Jaime Jara (32-13) showed that he can fight back and come out of top by staying cool under pressure. If Zaromskis wades in on Spiritwolf and gets reckless, the Native American can really do some damage, especially late in the fight when 15 minutes of throwing leather have taken their toll. Be ready for a three-round war that will take place on the feet with few trips to the canvas. Spiritwolf is a perfect example of a modern day warrior, but Zaroskmis’ well-rounded striking game will likely allow the Lithuanian fighter cruise to a decision victory as the constant aggressor. Zaromskis via Unaniomous Decision
Seth Petruzelli vs. Carmelo Marrero: The king of upsets Seth Petruzelli returns to the cage to welcome UFC and C3 Fight veteran Carmelo Marrero to Bellator. Petruzelli is coming off a win over former UFC heavyweight king “Suava” Ricco Rodriguez (48-18) and is looking to make it three in a row by adding submission fighter Marrero to the list. Marrero is 4-1 in his last five fights and a win over the veteran Petruzelli will not only improve his stock, it will greatly increase his chances of gaining entry into Bellator’s upcoming 205lbs. tournament. “The Fury” will have a two-inch height advantage over Petruzelli, however, “The Silverback” has handled lengthy fighters well before. Petruzelli will do what he does best and mix up his strikes, especially his versatile kicks, to gain control on the feet. Marrero should know from previous tapes that Petruzelli’s weak point is grappling, so he needs to time Petruzelli’s offense, get the takedown and work for a submission. Standing with Petruzelli is something Marrero shouldn’t try and be brave with, but Petruzelli will avoid the ground at all cost and has the advantage of each round beginning on the feet. This fight is Petruzelli’s to lose. Look for him to catch Marrero with a big shot and finish him with strikes on the ground. Petruzelli via TKO (Punches), Round 2
Marcos Galvao vs. Travis Marx: Journeyman Marcos Galvao is looking for a storybook ending as he enters into his second semi-final fight against Travis Marx. Both men are known for religiously adhering to their game plans till the final bell and both have shown they can keep up a strong pace even in the final round. Marx can employ his wrestling and submission game to take Galvao to his back and work on him as long as he can and steal the rounds for himself but Galvao’s striking ability is far superior. Marx isn’t afraid to exchange a few hits to land some of his own, but that could be more of a liability in this case. Marx is also the shorter of the two men, further disadvantaging him on the feet. He should enjoy an edge in sheer physical strength, but to use it he will need to get inside and wrap up Galvao. Galvao will look to mix it up, use angles, and avoid the takedown and clinch game of Marx. The Jackson’s MMA fighter Marx has excellent takedown methods and will commit to it once he executes, but Galvao has faced a higher level of competition and it isn’t likely that Marx has any tricks the Brazilian hasn’t seen. As is par for the course, Galvao will stick tight to his game plan and control the action on the feet. He may not finish his tough-as-nails opponent, but probably he won’t get stupid trying to finish a fight, either. Galvao via Split Decision
Marlon Sandro vs. Daniel Straus: These men will enter the 145lbs. finale with two things in common: both have been to the finale and came up short, and both want to erase that failure. Marlon Sandro and Daniel Straus have fought their way back into the spotlight and now only one will achieve a title shot. Sandro will finally meet his match in size as a featherweight, though Straus has nowhere near the power that Sandro wields in his fists. Straus also has a history of doing poorly against aggressive strikers, especially those with crisp, precise boxing and good footwork – like Sandro. The Brazilian has to stay in Straus’ face and pump his jab and, when Straus tries to clinch and slow things down, pop him with heavy punches to keep him in the red zone. Where things turn in Straus’ favor is in the later rounds. He is known for his endless gas tank, while Sandro tends to fade as the fight wears into the deeper waters so he will try to drag the fight to the later rounds where he will have the upper hand. Straus won’t enjoy his usual size advantage, but he can wear Sandro down by clinching him against the cage and making him work to get back to the center. After a round-and-a-half of that, Sandro’s strikes will be sluggish and Straus is in his element. This fight will be perhaps one of the most entertaining tournament finals to date, but the heavy-handed Sandro needs only a few heavy blows to undo all of the work Straus puts into scoring points with the judges. Look for Straus to dominate in the third only to lose 29-28 across the board. Sandro via Unanimous Decision