Bellator returns to action after a one-week hiatus with Bellator 67 in Rama, Ontario, Canada.

The card’s main event is yet again another big lightweight showdown, this time between current Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler and Japanese veteran Akihiro Gono.

Chandler and Gono will take part in the Chandler’s first fight since he took the belt from Eddie Alvarez last fall. However, this is a superfight and Chandler will not be defending his title for the first time.

Along with the superfight will be a showdown in the semifinals of the season-six welterweight tournament between Ben Saunders and Bryan Baker.

For Saunders, this is a big fight as he is just one fight away from getting back to the finals of the welterweight tournament. For Baker, this will be his third semifinal appearance in a Bellator tournament, having previously made it to the finals in the middleweight division.

Bellator 67 airs live from Rama, Ontario with the prelims starting at 7 p.m. ET and again after the main card at 10 p.m. ET on Spike.com. The main card airs at 8 p.m. ET on MTV2.

 

LW: Michael Chandler (9-0) vs. Akihiro Gono (32-17-7)

 

Akihiro Gono (Stephen Martinez/Sherdog)

This should be a good fight and it’s like Bellator is trying to feed someone to Chandler to keep him busy and get him ready for his first title defense.

Personally, I would have liked to see Chandler fight Alvarez in a rematch for the belt, but we can’t have everything.

Anyway, Chandler is a very good wrestler coming from Missouri, and I mean really good. In his last fight he displayed improved striking, but it could use more work to fully develop a  two-dimensional game.

It’s likely that Chandler’s gameplan will be to utilize his wrestling to get the fight to the ground, work some ground-and-pound and break Gono’s will early.

Gono has lost his last two fights to average competition, and that’s me being generous. Gono last fought at welterweight, but for this fight he will be moving down and will be returning to the United States for the first time since his decision loss to Jon Fitch at UFC 94.

That loss to Fitch kind of gives me the idea that he will have trouble here against Chandler, who, like Fitch, has very strong wrestling and very good control on the ground. Unlike Fitch though, look for Chandler to choke out Gono in the second round.

WW Tourney Semifinal: Bryan Baker (17-3) vs. Ben Saunders (13-4-2)

Ben Saunders (Sherdog)

Like I mentioned before, this is a big fight for both of these guys as both are seasoned vets of the Bellator tournament.

Baker made the semis of the last middleweight tournament and previously made the finals of the season-two middleweight tournament before getting TKO’d by Alexander Shlemenko.

Baker is a strong striker who will most likely utilize his striking to win the fight as seen by his eight knockout victories. Hopefully this time around Baker’s weight cut doesn’t affect him like it did in his last fight.

Against Carlos Pereira, Baker looked tired and didn’t put on a strong performance, barely walking away with the split decision victory.

Baker will need to be on his A-game here against Saunders. Saunders looked really good in his last fight against Raul Amaya, which the UFC veteran won by unanimous decision.

Saunders chained submission attempts and utilized crisp striking to throw off Amaya. If Saunders can repeat that performance, take the fight to the ground and keep Baker busy with submission attempts, he could easily take the fight by unanimous decision.

It’s a tough fight to pick and I’m going off purely what I saw the last time around from both of these gentlemen, and unless Baker figures out the weight cut, I can’t see him beating Saunders. Saunders takes the submission victory.

WW: Luis Santos (50-7-1) vs. Ryan Ford (17-4)

 

Ryan Ford has his arm raised in victory (Charles Penner/Combat Captured)

Santos makes his return to Bellator after losing to Ben Saunders at Bellator 53 by submission. Santos is 2-1 in the promotion and is looking to earn a spot in the next welterweight tournament.

Santos owns 36 wins by finishes with 26 of those coming by knockout. He is a strong puncher and overall has very good striking with his utilization of knees, punches and kicks with elbows on the ground.

Santos could have a tough time with Ford standing, but I think he’ll keep it there to avoid Ford’s grappling.

Ford brings an excellent package here and makes this fight super interesting with his finishing ability. Ford owns 16 wins by some sort of finish with nine by knockout and seven by submission. For Ford’s gameplan, it’s tough to say cause he could stand and trade with Santos or take it to the ground and submit him.

I think if they stand and trade I might actually give Ford the fight. This will be Ford’s first appearance for Bellator, but he has fought for MFC. Not exactly what you would call a high-profile, major-league type promotion, but if this was baseball it would be Triple-A.

Give me Ford by knockout in the late first or second round.

HW: Damian Grabowski (15-1) vs. Dave Huckaba (17-4)

 

Damian Grabowski (Piotr Pedziszewski/Sherdog)

Here we have a heavyweight fight to round out the main card. Grabowski is 1-1 in Bellator and lost to Cole Konrad at Bellator 29 in the heavyweight semifinals. Of course, Konrad would go on to win the belt.

Grabowski has won two fights since his loss to Konrad in September of 2010 submitting both Joaquim Ferreira and Eddie Sanchez. Grabowski will be looking to submit Huckaba in this fight (Grabowski owns nine submission victories) and get into the heavyweight tournament some time soon.

Huckaba is riding a six-fight win streak that includes five knockout victories and a unanimous decision victory over Ruben Villareal.

Huckaba’s gameplan is completely the opposite of Grabowski’s as he will be looking to knock Grabowski’s head into the stands and end the fight with a knockout.

I’m going to give the edge to Grabowski here due to his Bellator experience and say he submits Huckaba in the third round.

Preliminary Card

LW: Cosmo Alexandre (1-1) vs. Lorawnt-T Nelson (4-0)

 

It’s pretty safe to say Lorawnt-T Nelson is a finisher. Of his four fights (and three amateur fights), Nelson has never gone the distance. In fact he has only been to the third round twice. Of his four victories, he has two by knockout and submission.

Cosmo has had two fights in Bellator, obviously losing one and winning one. At Bellator 58, Cosmo knocked out Avery McPhatter in the first round and will look to do the same here.

I’ll take Nelson by knockout.

WW: Nathan Gunn (9-2) vs. Dominic O’Grady (13-4)

 

Gunn is currently riding a two-fight winning streak after going 0-2 in MFC. He holds three wins by submission. O’Grady has gone 4-2-1 in King of the Cage and is currently riding a three-fight winning streak. Of his 13 wins, seven have come by some sort of finish. Gunn by decision.

FW: William Romero (7-3) vs. Matt Veal (9-7)

 

Romero comes into this fight on a two-fight winning streak. Before that streak, Romero was on a three-fight winning streak, which included a loss to Patricio Freire. Veal is 3-2 in his last five and owns five victories by submission. I’ll take Romero by decision.

BW: Nick Kirk (7-0) vs. Bo Harris (6-3)

 

Being a small guy, Kirk doesn’t have many finishes. Of his seven wins, five have come by decision. Harris has faced some good competition, including a loss in his last fight to Mitch Gagnon and a loss to former Bellator bantamweight champion Zack Makovsky. Harris has four victories by finishes, splitting it evenly between submissions and knockouts. Kirk will get the victory by decision.

Top Photo: Michael Chandler (William Musacchia/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.