Bellator will continue to show how far the promotion has come tonight when they put on their Bellator 175 card at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. The card will be headlined by a heavyweight showdown between two of Bellator’s biggest names, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal.
Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson vs Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal
After three years, “King Mo” will finally get the chance to avenge his Bellator 120 decision loss to Jackson which many saw as bad judging. There is certainly no shortage of bad blood between these two and the controversial decision in the first fight has made for some major hostility leading up to this bout.
“King Mo” enters this fight on the back of some misfortune in recent bouts where he has lost two of his last three. After a decision loss to Phil Davis at Bellator 154, he was also dealt a TKO loss at the hands of Mirko Cro-Cop under the Rizin banner. Although his recent form does not reflect so, Lawal is regarded as one of the most dominant wrestlers in the business and has won eight of his last ten.
“Rampage” on the other hand is currently riding a five fight win streak and will look to make it six on the bounce whilst hoping to get rid of any doubts about the outcome of their first bout. The 38-year-old weighed in 41lbs heavier than his opponent and will also have a considerable size advantage which could play its part in the fight.
Alhough Jackson is much the larger man, I expect it will be Lawal who will look to smother his opponent and take it to the mat. Although Lawal would love to knock out his rival and shut his mouth once and for all, winning is the main priority so I expect him to fight smart and strategically to try and get the win.
Marcos Galvao vs Emmanuel Sanchez
In the co-main event of the night when former bantamweight champion Marcos Galvao will face off against Emmanuel Sanchez in a featherweight match-up. Although their recent results don’t paint an exciting picture with both of their last two bouts going to the judges, this could prove to be an exciting fight. If the explosive Galvao looks to climb his way up the featherweight rankings, he will have to secure a win over the grizzled veteran Sanchez who is yet to be stopped in his 17 professional bouts.
Galvao is certainly the more active fighter with strikes and out of the two has secured the most stoppage wins however Sanchez is known for his high tempo and applying pressure on his opponent. This fight really comes down to who can implement their game plan the most, but with 21 decision victories between the two men, this fight may come down to who can knuckle down and grind out the win.
Sergei Kharitonov vs. Chase Gormley
After a poor display in his Bellator debut Heavyweight Sergei Kharitonov will look to make his mark for the promotion when he steps in the ring against Chase Gormley. Having knocked out both Alistair Overeem and Andrei Arlovski and having beat Fabricio Werdum via split decision, “The Russian Mercenary” is an addition which Scott Coker hopes he proves his worth tonight.
Gormley is yet to have a name like Kharitonov on his resume, but is currently riding a two-fight win streak, and having won seven of his last eight, a victory tonight is definitely not out of the equation. Getting a win tonight could push both men up the rankings with their eyes set firmly on that vacant heavyweight title.
Steve Kozola vs Jake Roberts
The match-up between Steve Kozola and Jake Roberts is one in which could walk away with ‘Fight Of The Night’ honours. The undefeated Kozola will be hoping to extend his seven-fight unbeaten run meanwhile Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts is looking to get himself back in the win column after being dealt the first loss of his career against Carrington Banks at Bellator 165. “Thunderbeast” has made light-work of almost every opponent he’s stepped into the cage with so far securing six knockouts and one submission win. Not only that Kozola doesn’t seem to spend much time in the ring once the door closes behind him; four of his last five bouts have ended in the first round with the other finishing in the second. “The Country Nightmare” may have to fight smart to get the win tonight, standing and trading with his opponent may not be the best of ideas so don’t be surprised if you see him look to take it to the mat and hope to grind out a win.
A win for Kozola could see him enter serious contention for Michael Chandler’s Lightweight belt whilst Roberts can get himself back on track if he adds a victory over the undefeated and rising Kozola to his resume of wins.
Noah Lahat vs Lloyd Carter
Noad Lahat meets Lloyd Carter in a 135lb bout in which one man’s style falls right into another’s hands. Lahat is charismatic and a proven finisher, he has all the makings to be a huge star for Bellator and unfortunately I believe Carter is merely a stepping stone in which Lahat will use to raise his notoriety. In his last bout, Carter failed to defeat a past-his-prime Miguel Torres and is yet to stop an opponent since 2014. He’s been subbed in 62% of his losses (five of eight) whilst 50% of Lahat’s victories have come by way of submission including a first round victory over Scott Cleve in his last outing. Lahat will no doubt use his skillset to expose his opponent’s weakness and secure the victory.
Bellator 175 Fight Card
MAIN CARD (Spike, 9 p.m. ET)
Heavyweight: Quinton Jackson vs. Muhammed Lawal
Featherweight: Marcos Galvao vs. Emmanuel Sanchez
Heavyweight: Chase Gormley vs. Sergei Kharitonov
Featherweight: Lloyd Carter vs. Noad Lahat
Lightweight: Steve Kozola vs. Jake Roberts
PRELIMINARY CARD (MMAjunkie, 6:45 p.m. ET)
Bantamweight: Max Fuentes vs. Brandon Shelhart
Lightweight: Asef Askar vs. James Esposito
Lightweight: Brian Akins vs. Mike DeLaVega
Bantamweight: Cory Galloway vs. David Garcia
Welterweight: Tom Holder vs. Josh Streaker
Welterweight: Joaquin Buckley vs. Justin Patterson
Catchweight 150lbs: Tim Cho vs. Joshua Hardwick
Catchweight 130lbs: Manny Vazquez vs. Nate Williams
Light-Heavyweight: James Bochnovic vs. Matt Paul
Lightweight: Damian Norris vs. Tom Shoaff
Heavyweight: Adam Maciejewski vs. Prince McLean
*Sanchez missed the 146-pound featherweight limit. Fight changed to a catc