Bellator comes back to Atlantic City with Bellator 65 and a huge bantamweight title fight on Friday night.

Current bantamweight champion, Zach Makovsky, faces off against last season’s bantamweight tournament winner, Eduardo Dantas.

On top of Makovsky versus Dantas, added to the main card were three additional lower-weight class fights with the second half of this season’s bantamweight tournament and a semifinal featherweight bout.

Strangely enough, the man who Dantas beat last season, Alexis Vila, looks to get his tournament hopes started against Luis Nogueira in the opening round of the current bantamweight tournament.

Bellator 65 airs its main card this week at 8 p.m. ET on MTV 2 and its undercard at 7 p.m. ET and promptly after the main card at 10 p.m. ET on Spike.com.

BW Championship: Zach Makovsky (14-2) vs. Eduardo Dantas (13-2)

Eduardo Dantas (R) (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

The former Drexel University wrestler, Makovsky, defends his title for the first time in 2012 and for the first time since winning it in October of 2010.

Makovsky is built with a good wrestling base and is rounding out all his other skills which has helped give him six victories by submission.

Makovsky won’t scare anyone on the feet though, which could be the key for Dantas.

Dantas is a Nova Uniao product and has something over Makovsky—size and range. Dantas is 5-foot-10 and will use every inch to keep Makovsky at bay.

At 23 years old, Dantas is a great prospect in the bantamweight division and has well-rounded skills. He can beat you standing—as evidenced in his victory over Wilson Reis—or beat a very adept wrestler—as demonstrated in his win over Vila.

It’s a tough pick and call me crazy, but I’ll take Dantas to take home the strap from Makovsky.

FW Tournament Semifinal: Mike Corey (12-2-1) vs. Daniel Straus (18-4)

Daniel Straus (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Corey was making his featherweight debut in the quarterfinals when he faced off against England’s Ronnie Mann and earned his first victory inside the Bellator cage.

Corey is a strong ground fighter with six submission stoppages, but could be in for a day against Straus.

Straus’ fighting stance alone could give Corey some trouble. Straus—a southpaw—could possibly throw Corey’s timing off. Straus could use his wrestling to hold down and frustrate Corey while fending off the submission attacks.

I’ll take Straus to get a unanimous decision victory.

BW Tournament Quarterfinal: Marcos Galvao (10-5-1) vs. Ed West (17-6)

Marcos Galvao (L) (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Galvao is a very skilled grappler and uses his grappling knowledge to pin his opponents and control them on the ground.

Nine of Galvao’s wins have come by decision and has fought in the WEC, although his foray into the WEC didn’t end with a win in either fight.

West, though, is an exciting fighter and even though he isn’t knocking people out, he is adept at the striking game. West also could give Galvao a run for his money on the ground as seen by his nine submission victories

West was in the previous bantamweight tournament before Dantas beat him by split decision in the semifinals.

However, Galvao will get the decision victory.

BW Tournament Quarterfinal: Alexis Vila (11-1) vs. Luis Alberto Nogueira (12-2)

Alexis Vila (top) (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

Vila is back for revenge in the bantamweight tournament and this time he looks to win the final match to get his title shot.

Vila is a great wrestler and don’t let his age fool you, he fights like he’s ten years younger. Vila has excellent striking and possesses a lot of power. The Cuban destroyer has seven victories by knockout—not your typical wrestler.

Nogueira was bounced out in the first round of the last bantamweight tournament by Ed West and yet again draws another tough first-round match-up.

Nogueira is yet another grappler who uses his ability to pin and control his opponent on his ground, but he also has solid striking.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t have good enough striking and grappling to beat Vila. Vila takes the fight by TKO in the second round.

Preliminary Card

WW: Lyman Good (11-2) vs. LeVon Maynard (12-8)

Maynard is a solid ground fighter and in his last fight, against Chris Wing, he showed  improved striking, nearly finishing Wing by strikes in the second and third rounds.

Maynard faces Good who is the former Bellator welterweight champion. Good hasn’t fought since his split decision loss to Rick Hawn in April of 2011.

Maynard will upset the former champion by taking a decision.

WW: Ailton Barbosa (10-3) vs. Kris McCray (7-3)

McCray is a former Ultimate Fighter contestant. McCray has four wins by stoppage, but his last two have been by decision. Barbosa holds eight wins by submission and lost his last time out in Bellator. Barbosa by decision.

FW: Kenny Foster (9-6) vs. Jay Haas (10-8)

Foster has four wins by submissions, but he hasn’t been on the winning side of a fight since March of 2011. Haas holds nine victories by submission and knockout and is also on a losing skid of his own, dropping his last two fights. I’ll pick Haas to finish Foster.

FW: Lester Caslow (7-6) vs. Scott Heckman (9-3)

Caslow has lost three of his previous five fights including a decision loss to Kenny Foster at Bellator 33. Out of his seven wins, five have been finishes. Heckman won his last time out in Bellator in November, after previously losing to Alexandre Bezerra at Bellator 49. Heckman has six victories by submission and will get his seventh at Bellator 65.

MW: Duane Bastress (4-1) vs. Plinio Cruz (5-4)

Plinio has lost four of his last six fights inside the cage and has competed only twice since August of 2010. Bastress on the other hand won his last fight at Bellator 54 and holds three victories by knockout. Bastress will earn his fourth knockout victory against Plinio.

LW: Mikhail Malyutin (21-9) vs. E.J. Brooks (5-0)

The Russian Freight Train, Malyutin, finally makes his Bellator debut after compiling a 21-9 record in various promotions. Malyutin has ten victories by stoppage including his fourth knockout victory back in November. Brooks has won both of his fights in Bellator which occurred last October. I’ll take experience to trump here. Malyutin will get a hard-earned decision victory.

FW: Will Martinez (3-2-1) vs. Andy Main (5-1, 1 NC)

Ultimate Fighter 12 veteran, Main, had a no contest in his last bout in April of last year. Martinez has won his last two fights with his last fight coming last June. Main will edge out the decision victory.

Top Photo: Zach Makovsky (Dave Mandel/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.