After three straight cards without a title fight, welterweight champion Ben Askren will defend his title against Douglas Lima at Bellator 64.

Before Askren’s second title defense though will be the first part of the Bellator featherweight tournament semifinals. Tournament favorite, Marlon Sandro, gets another shot at winning the featherweight tournament against Alexandre Bezerra.

On top of the featherweight and welterweight action, the first leg of the bantamweight tournament begins with two quarterfinal match-ups.

Perhaps the best bantamweight not in the UFC, Masakatsu Ueda, takes on Travis Marx. In the other bantamweight quarterfinal matchup, Rodrigo Lima fights Hiroshi Nakamura.

The undercard fights are streamed live on Bellator.com and Spike.com at 7 p.m. ET and continue after the main card action at 10 p.m. ET. The main card is televised live at 8 p.m. ET on MTV 2.

Welterweight Championship: Ben Askren (9-0) vs. Douglas Lima (21-4)

Lima (L) is searching for Bellator gold (Sherdog)

Lima finally gets his shot at Askren after back-to-back knockouts of Ben Saunders and Chris Lozano last fall.

Lima has a good submission game picking up 11 wins by submission. As evident by his last two wins, he also possesses the power to end the fight on the feet.

Askren is pretty simple to breakdown. His gameplan here will be to get the fight to the ground and hold Lima against his will on the mat while working some ground-and-pound.

Lima will suffer his first loss since 2009 here against Askren. Askren wins by unanimous decision.

FW Tournament Semifinals: Marlon Sandro (21-3) vs. Alexandre Bezerra (13-1)

Sandro chokes out Roberto Vargas at Bellator 60 (Sherdog)

Sandro comes into this fight still as my favorite to win the featherweight tournament.

Sandro is a well-rounded fighter — seven wins by knockout, five by submission — and the Nova Uniao product has been tested before. Last time he was in the tournament, Sandro made it to the finals only to be knocked out by current featherweight champion Pat Curran.

Sandro’s three losses have come against Curran, Hatsu Hioki and a prime Michihiro Omigawa.

Bezarra is a good prospect and his only loss came against Charles Oliveira back in September of 2009.

Over the course of his career he has only gone to decision one time and has finished all of his Bellator opponents. Bezarra has good stand-up but its his submission game that stands out as the factor to watch in the fight.

It will be a tough test for Sandro to outlast Bezarra, but he will do so and secure a third-round knockout victory.

BW Tournament Quarterfinal: Masakatsu Ueda (15-1-2) vs. Travis Marx (18-3)

Ueda (top) is looking to make a splash in Bellator (Sherdog)

Ueda is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, and having that pedigree gives him the excellent ground control he has. Ueda has 15 wins, 10 of those coming by decision.

Ueda knows how to get the fight to the ground and keep a guy from getting up. Ueda also has been tested against current bantamweight title challenger, Eduardo Dantas and an aged Royler Gracie.

Marx, on the other hand, can pose problems for Ueda’s ground style. Marx himself is very adept on the ground taking 10 of his 18 wins by submission.

Marx has to figure out how to avoid Ueda in top control or bring his best guard skills to cause the upset. Ueda by unanimous decision.

BW Tournament Quarterfinal: Rodrigo Lima (10-0) vs. Hiroshi Nakamura (14-5-4)

Nakamura (standing) wants a successful US debut (Sherdog)

The styles of Nakamura and Ueda are pretty much the same thing. Nakamura holds 12 wins by decision and has yet to fight out of his home country of Japan.

Nakamura will be looking to repeat Ueda and control Lima on the ground.

Lima is another prospect and at age 20, he has 10 wins with eight of those coming by way of some sort of finish.

Lima has a strong  grappling base — he does come from Team Nogueira — and at his age he is still developing his striking game and could one day be a dangerous threat at bantamweight.

In this fight I’ll take the young, upstart Lima over Nakamura to get the decision victory.

Preliminary Card

160-pound Catchweight: Kyle Prepolec (2-1) vs. Lance Snow  (1-2)

Prepolec’s two wins have come by TKO and is coming off a loss in his last fight. Both wins came in the first round. Snow is on a two-fight losing streak and has only fought three times, including his 2007 MMA debut. Prepolec gets the win here.

FW: Chris Horodecki (18-3-1) vs. Mike Richman (11-1)

Horodecki fought to a draw in his last fight and certainly has the experience advantage here over Richman. Horodecki is 1-0-1 in Bellator and previously fought in the WEC and IFL. Horodecki also holds two wins over Bart Palaszewski.

Richman has seven wins by submission and is coming off two straight wins on the regional circuit.

Horodecki gets the knockout win here.

WW: Matt Secor (1-0) vs. Nordine Taleb (6-1)

Taleb is coming off a knockout victory over Pete Sell in Ring of Combat and enters the fight with four wins by knockout. Secor’s lone fight came last July and was a submission victory over Matt Dempsey. Taleb takes the fight here by knockout.

MW: Elis Theodorou (3-0) vs. Rich Lictawa (2-2)

Theodorou has a victory by decision, submission and knockout and is coming off a decision victory almost three weeks prior to this fight. Lictawa is coming off two straight losses with his last fight coming in 2010. Theodorou gets the submission victory.

WW: Chad Laprise (4-0) vs. Josh Taverine (2-2)

Laprise’s stats? Four fights, four wins, four knockouts and four first round finishes with his most recent fight coming last July. Taverine is coming off two straight losses — both by submission — and last fought in December. Laprise gets the first-round knockout.

LW: Taylor Solomon (3-3) vs. Jason Fischer (0-1)

Fischer last fought in 2006 and lost his MMA debut by submission. Solomon fought four times in 2011 and went 1-3 in those four fights. Solomon is coming off a knockout victory in his Bellator debut, though. Solomon gets the submission finish.

Top Photo: Ben Askren (top) hopes to retain his welterweight strap (Sherdog)

About The Author

Sal DeRose
Staff Writer

Sal hails from New Jersey and is currently training for his first MMA fight. He hopes to use his knowledge and insight to generate articles that interest and entertain you. Outside of MMA, Sal is a big fan of every other sport. He's a diehard New York sports fan, with the exception of cheering for the Packers.