Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals: Chael Sonnen (c) (30-15-1) vs. Quinton Jackson (37-12)
Luke Irwin: Has Rampage learned how to stop a takedown yet? No? Ok, then. Sonnen via UD.
Nolan Howell: Really hard to imagine how this one plays out against two of the biggest grifters in the sport today. Sonnen’s gameplan will be to take down Rampage and that should be easy once it gets past the first round with heavyweight Rampage, but with Sonnen’s constant lapses in judgement, it wouldn’t be surprising if he got dropped coming in or even locked in a power guillotine for some reason. Depends on which Sonnen shows up, but I’ll go him in a fight against someone who got taken down by Fabio Maldonado not so long ago. Chael Sonnen by unanimous decision.
Bellator Welterweight Championship: Douglas Lima (c) (29-6) vs. Rory MacDonald (19-4)
Luke: Pure, unadulturated violence. Twenty-five minutes of blood, but this time, the judges go in Rory’s favor. MacDonald via SD.
Nolan: MacDonald will want to use his grappling here against the more kickboxing inclined Lima, but Lima’s grappling is a wild card as it is something that he relied on early in his career to great success, but seems to have used lately as a fall-back. Whether or not he is as sharp in the area remains to be seen and MacDonald can exploit it. I feel this will be back and forth with MacDonald taking some punishment trying to get the fight down, but he wins the conditioning battle and controls the later rounds for a close win. Rory MacDonald by split decision.
Lightweight Bout: Goiti Yamauchi (22-3) vs. Michael Chandler (16-4)
Luke: This is gonna be another awesome tilt, but Chandler is determined to get his belt back that he lost via injury, so I think he comes out here shot out of a cannon. Chandler via R2 TKO.
Nolan: While a leg injury can be tragic for someone like Chandler who relies on power in both his wrestling and striking game, I believe this will be a return to form for him to remind us of his status as one of the top lightweights in the world as he keeps this standing. Michael Chandler by first-round TKO.
Featherweight Bout: Henry Corrales (14-3) vs. Georgi Karakhanyan (27-7-1)
Luke: Karakhanyan via R1 Submission.
Nolan: Showcase. Georgi Karakhanyan by first-round TKO.
Featherweight Bout: Aaron Pico (1-1) vs. Shane Kruchten (12-3)
Luke: After the Zach Freeman debacle, you have to think Bellator is going to be VERY careful about who they match Pico up with. Pico via R1 KO.
Nolan: While it remains to be seen if Pico will take to MMA long-term, this should still be a winnable fight for him. Aaron Pico by second-round TKO.