Bellator finally returns to a small television screen near you this Friday with Bellator 71.

The promotion decided to kick off their “Summer Series” with an action-packed main card consisting of the first four light heavyweight tournament fights and complemented with the return of one big heavyweight.

On the main card, Roy Boughton and Emanuel Newton will go in the first of four light heavyweight fights, followed by Richard Hale and Beau Tribolet.

Now, of the other two light heavyweight match-ups, one consists of Zelg Galesic versus a big prospect for Bellator in Attila Vegh. In the other contest, we have Chris Davis taking on Travis Wiuff, a man who beat current Bellator light heavyweight champion Christian M’Pumbu last year.

On the undercard, Kevin Asplund will take on returning heavyweight and newly signed Bellator fighter Brett Rogers in what could give Rogers a spot in the next heavyweight tournament. Rogers was previously under the Strikeforce banner until personal matters led to his firing from the promotion.

Bellator 71 comes to you live from Chester, W. Va., with the prelims beginning at 7 p.m. ET and again after the main card at 10 p.m. ET, live from your computer on Spike.com and Bellator.com. The main card will air at 8 p.m. ET on MTV2.

LHW Quarterfinals: Travis Wiuff (66-14, 1 NC) vs. Chris Davis (10-3)

Davis (top) (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

Travis Wiuff is currently on a four-fight winning streak with his last two wins coming in Bellator. Wiuff definitely solidified his spot in the tournament after beating current light heavyweight champion Christian M’Pumbu last October. The loss was M’Pumbu’s first as a champion, as well as his first overall in Bellator.

Wiuff has excellent ground control and displayed that against M’Pumbu by keeping the champ on his back all night without giving him an inch on the ground. Wiuff knows how to take you down and keep you there, and while that may be his game plan against Chris Davis, Davis will also have to watch out for the strength of Wiuff, as Wiuff will knock him out if given the opportunity to do so.

In his last stint in the Bellator quarterfinals, Davis was eliminated by M’Pumbu by third-round TKO. Outside of that, Davis is a finisher, with all his wins coming by way of knockout or submission.

Davis hasn’t fought since last March, and that coupled with the experience of Wiuff are definitely going to be factors going into this fight. I think in the end Davis gets eliminated again in the quarterfinals, with Wiuff taking the unanimous decision victory.

LHW Quarterfinals: Zelg Galesic (11-6) vs. Attila Vegh (25-4-2)

Galesic (Daniel Herbertson/Sherdog)

Zelg Galesic comes into this fight with a win his last time out in Super Fight League, where he beat Doug Marshall by flying knee. Putting that aside though, in his last five fights overall, Galesic is 2-3. Those three wins though have come against Kazushi Sakuraba, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Alexander Shlemenko, who beat him in the middleweight tournament last September.

Galesic is a striker and knows how to work the stand-up really well. He has the power to knock you out with any limb, if he so chooses. Galesic owns nine knockout victories in his career, but the one disturbing eye-catcher is his submission defense, which has caused him to lose five fights.

Vegh does know how to pull off a submission, and can if the fight does go to the ground. But if the fight remains standing, Vegh can definitely hang with Galesic. If Vegh wants to win the fight though, he will have to take Galesic out of his comfort zone. That means putting Galesic on his back and trying to grapple his way to victory.

I think Vegh can get the submission here and take the fight.

LHW Quarterfinals: Richard Hale (19-4-1) vs. Beau Tribolet (7-1)

Hale (blue trunks) (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

Beau Tribolet gets to make the perfect debut to Bellator with a quarterfinal fight against Richard Hale.

Tribolet has won his last seven fights with the lone loss coming in his debut against Jojo Thompson. Tribolet rebounded in the next fight to beat Thompson, finishing him with a submission.

Tribolet has some good boxing and his ground game isn’t lacking either. While he has some good striking, Tribolet owns five wins by submission. He definitely has what it takes to win the fight on the ground, as well as standing if he can catch Hale on a mistake.

Unfortunately though, I think Hale has a pretty well-rounded game and has the advantage standing as well as on the ground. Since losing to M’Pumbu last May, Hale has won his last two fights by knockout and overall owns eight wins by submission and eight by knockout.

Again, I think regardless of where this fight ends up both fighters are good enough to get the win. I just think Hale is better in both areas, which will give him a late TKO victory.

LHW Quarterfinals: Roy Boughton (8-2) vs. Emanuel Newton (17-6-1)

Newton (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

Roy Boughton is a Cesar Gracie product, so we know that he has a good ground game as well as a decent enough striking game to help him through the fights. He has fought a couple of good fighters so far in beating Murilo “Ninja” Rua and losing a decision to Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. Boughton is also a finisher, with six of his eight victories coming by submission or knockout.

I think either way Boughton has a good chance to win, but primarily if he is able to utilize his grappling. If he is able to get the fight to the ground and work some ground-and-pound while attempting submissions, he will most definitely win the fight.

It’ll be tough for Boughton though as he faces another guy who excels in grappling. Newton is on a five-fight winning streak and holds six victories by submission.

Newton is coming off of a first-round submission victory over former TUF contestant James McSweeney.

In this fight, I’ll take Boughton to win by decision.

Preliminaries

HW: Brett Rogers (11-4) vs. Kevin Asplund (15-1)

This will be Rogers’ first bout since September, and he is 1-4 in his last five fights. Rogers hasn’t fought bad competition though, losing to the likes of Alistair Overeem, Fedor Emelianenko, Josh Barnett and Eddie Sanchez. Rogers possesses great strength and huge knockout power, but lacks a ground game. Seriously, its non-existent. Asplund knows how to submit guys, but I think Rogers is too strong and has too much knockout power. Rogers takes the fight by first-round knockout.

LHW: Dan Spohn (6-2) vs. John Stansbury (3-2)

Spohn is currently riding a two-fight losing streak with both losses coming in Bellator. Both of those losses have been split decisions, including one to Attila Vegh. These two met previously in 2009 with Spohn winning by submission. I think the same thing happens here.

LHW: Tim Carpenter (8-1) vs. John Hawk (7-4)

Hawk is 3-2 in his last five and is coming off a split decision win over Marcus Vattinnen in April. Hawk has pretty good hands and will face a man with good ground work in Carpenter. I think in the end, Carpenter takes the win by decision.

HW: Jason Butcher (3-0) vs. Duane Bastress (5-1)

Butcher has some nice knockout power, but he also has a ground game to boot. For a man at his level, he is pretty well-rounded. Bastress seems to love the ground-and-pound and knocking people out, picking up four victories by TKO and one via submission due to punches. I think Bastress takes the fight by TKO.

FW: Neil Johnson (6-4) vs. Brylan Van Artsdalen (6-3)

Johnson has been pretty inconsistent since winning the first two fights of his pro career. He has alternated between losses and wins throughout his next eight fights. Van Artsdalen has lost three fights in Bellator thus far, but owns six submission victories in his career. I’m going to go with the Van Artsdalen by submission here, considering Johnson is coming off a win and I’m kind of feeling the inconsistent trend continuing. Gut pick.

MW: Chris Goldbaugh (2-1) vs. Kevin Zalac (2-2)

All of Zalac’s pro fights have ended by submission, but he hasn’t won since a victory over the now infamous Brandon Saling in February of 2011. Goldbaugh has two wins this year already with one coming by TKO and the other by submission. I’m going to pick Goldbaugh by submission to win the fight and to win the “Most Awesome Nickname” award. Seriously, “Shenanigans” is a great nickname.

LW: E.J. Brooks (7-0) vs. Joey Holt (3-0)

Brooks has fought for Bellator four times, and of course has won in all of those affairs. His last three times out, he took the unanimous decision nod. Holt won his last time out in Bellator and has some knockout power, something he demonstrated against his last two opponents. Brooks will earn the decision yet again.

Top Photo: Travis Wiuff (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.