Bellator 75 kicks off the season-seven heavyweight tournament for the vacant Bellator heavyweight championship after Cole Konrad vacated his title in favor of a job as in the dairy industry.

The card isn’t the biggest one you’ll find from Bellator, but it doesn’t lack in good fights with the heavyweights sure to put on a show. The big men in this tournament include Brett Rogers, who was pretty entertaining during his Strikeforce days. Rogers takes on Russian heavyweight Alexander Volkov in what looks to be one of the top fights of the night.

The card also includes a rematch of the twice-botched fight that sent Eric Prindle to a title bout with Cole Konrad. Prindle takes on Thiago Santos, whose groin shot to Prindle ended their first meeting prematurely and whose weight cut left him 12 pounds heavy in their scheduled rematch, which was subsequently scrapped at Bellator 62.

Also in the tournament is Richard Hale taking on former Ultimate Fighter contestant Mike Wessel. Rounding out the card will be Brazilian heavyweight Vinicius Quieroz against Mark Holata.

Bellator 75 takes place in Hammond, Ind., at the Horseshoe Casino. The main card airs live on MTV 2 at 8 p.m. ET with the preliminary card airing before at 7 p.m. ET and again after the main card at 10 p.m. ET.

HW Quarterfinals: Eric Prindle (7-2) vs. Thiago Santos (10-1)

Prindle (top) works for the finish (Sherdog)

Finally, we have some resolution to the whole Eric Prindle/Thiago Santos heavyweight finals from two seasons ago. It feels like getting this fight together is an act of God that involved the cosmos lining up in certain way. Their first fight ended with a shot to the groin that resulted in a no-contest after Prindle was unable to continue.

Then, Prindle got sick, the fight was postponed a week, but then Santos came in 12 pounds over weight and the rematch of their fight was canceled, leaving Prindle as the winner of the heavyweight tournament and recipient of the title shot against Cole Konrad. Too bad for Prindle, though, as he was just outgunned in that fight. Totally outmatched by Konrad, Prindle was finished in the first round.

Last time, the game plan for Prindle was to keep the fight standing and beat Santos with his hands. For Santos, it was to get the fight to the ground, where he’d have the advantage over Prindle. Santos won that battle, taking down Prindle and showcasing his much better ground game, at least until throwing the kick to the groin that ended it.

I don’t think much has changed outside of the fact that Prindle might marginally have a better ground game than when they first met, but I think Santos displayed excellent control and takedowns to get the fight where he wanted it. If Santos can stay on the ground instead of popping up like the last time, I think it should be an easy TKO or submission victory for him.

HW Quarterfinals: Brett Rogers (12-4) vs. Alexander Volkov (16-3)

Rogers (Sherdog)

I like Brett Rogers in this tournament, I really do. He has faced quality competition—albeit losing in most of those outings—and his power is just unquestionable.

Rogers will most definitely do his job to keep this fight standing and try to connect with Volkov. If he does, even if it is only one time, Volkov will be knocked out. I’m really that confident saying it.

In his last fight though, Rogers was tested tremendously against Kevin Asplund. He didn’t look overwhelming against Asplund, although he won by a doctor’s stoppage due to Asplund suffering a swollen eye. Rogers better have made his adjustments heading into this fight, otherwise he will lose against a guy who is definitely a step up from Asplund.

Volkov will most definitely try to get this fight to the ground and get into a good position to unleash some ground-and-pound. Volkov owns 13 TKO victories and will definitely try to exploit Rogers’ biggest weakness. There is no question that if Rogers gets mounted or his back gets taken, this fight is over. Rogers’ guard and ground game from his back isn’t nearly what it should be.

The longer this fight goes, the more I think the fight will lean towards Volkov. I definitely like Rogers’ chances against Volkov and to win the rest of the tournament, but I can’t stray away from picking Volkov by TKO in the third round.

HW Quarterfinals: Richard Hale (19-4-1) vs. Mike Wessel (12-4)

Hale (blue trunks) (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

Richard Hale came awfully close to being Bellator’s first light heavyweight champion, but was met by Christian M’Pumbu, who dropped Hale a few times throughout their fight and ultimately captured the belt.

I think Hale is in a very winnable fight against Mike Wessel. Hale is pretty good both on his feet and on the canvas, and I think that gives him the edge here. With eight wins by both knockout and submission, added in with the fact that Hale has looked very good in his last two fights—both first-round knockouts—he, at least in my eyes, is the favorite to win this fight. Hale has very good power in his hands and moving up to fight at heavyweight could either be a great move or a poor decision.

Wessel will try to take this fight to the ground and look to gain mount or pummel away at Hale from Hale’s guard. I think it would still be risky for Wessel to take this fight to the ground, though, considering Hale’s ground game. Hale already owns a win by inverted triangle and another by guillotine, so he knows how to finish fights from the bottom.

In the end, I’ll take Hale to win the fight by TKO in the second.

HW Quarterfinals: Vinicius Queiroz (5-2) vs. Mark Holata (12-3)

Holata (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

Vinicius Queiroz will be fighting for the first time since his loss at UFC 120 to Rob Broughton just under two years ago. He is a striker, owning all of his wins by knockout, and of course has roots to the famed Chute Boxe Academy in Brazil.

That’s how you know his striking is legit—Chute Boxe roots. All three of Holata’s losses have been by knockout, so Queiroz will look to utilize his striking skills and keep this fight from hitting the ground. It’s hard to judge just how much Queiroz has grown in the past two years, since he hasn’t fought, but he does have some nice hands. It’s just a mediocre ground game that can be his demise.

Holata is skilled at submissions after all. If you didn’t see him lock up the Achilles’ lock at Bellator 69 against Abe Wagner, I highly suggest you try finding the video and watch the submission.

Holata does have a very iffy striking game, though. His fight with Ron Sparks showed that Holata has some holes in his striking defense, as he was hit multiple times in the short fight and finally was knocked out in the first round.

If Holata fights like that, Queiroz will definitely take advantage of it. I’ll go against Queiroz here, however, due to his inaction the last couple years. Holata wins by submission in the second.

Preliminaries

BW: Chase Beebe (21-8-1) vs. Bo Harris (7-3-1)

Chase Beebe is the former WEC bantamweight champion and participated in the season-five bantamweight tournament, losing in the quarterfinals to Marcos Galvao. Beebe has a very nasty guillotine and rear-naked choke, owning 16 submission victories with 15 coming by one of the two varieties of choke. Beebe takes this one by decision based on experience and just overall skill.

HW: Ryan Martinez (7-2) vs. Manny Lara (4-1)

Ryan Martinez possesses both knockout power and ground-and-pound ability, owning three victories by way of TKO and one submission by punches. Martinez is coming off a loss—a close one at that—to Mike Wessel, who is in this season’s heavyweight tournament. That says something about Martinez, that he came that close to possibly being in the tournament. Manny Lara also possesses knockout power with two straight knockout victories and a third by TKO. I’ll take Martinez, having a Bellator fight under his belt already, to win.

WW: Rod Montoya (15-14) vs. Joe Williams (6-1)

Twenty-five of Rod Montoya’s 29 fights have ended by some sort of finish, and I think this one will as well. Montoya has a glaring weakness to submissions, being submitted nine times in his career. Most come by rear-naked choke or armbar. Joe Williams lost his last time out in Bellator by unanimous decision, only the second time Williams has gone the distance. Williams has good stand-up for his level in the sport, and I think he drops Montoya and takes his back, winning the fight by rear-naked choke.

WW: Jason Graves (2-3) vs. Rafal Skibinski (4-1)

This is a rematch of an XFO fight from earlier this year. Rafal Skibinski won that fight by TKO in the first round. That means that this time Jason Graves has added motivation to win. Graves is currently on a three-fight losing streak and wanting to avenge that loss could drive him in this fight. Skibinski, though, is a finisher with none of his fights lasting longer than one and a half rounds. I think history repeats itself, as it hasn’t been long since their first fight and neither fighter probably has changed much since then. Skibinski by second-round TKO.

LHW: Jose Medina (1-0) vs. Anthony Gomez (5-2)

The jury is still out on Jose Medina, as there just aren’t enough fights of his yet to break him down fully. Anthony Gomez, however, has fought once before in Bellator in a loss to Travis Wiuff. Many fighters have fallen victim to a Wiuff decision, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of. It was Gomez’s first fight in two years and with the kinks out of the system now, I think he can get a couple takedowns and earn the decision victory.

FW: Cliff Wright Jr. (6-3) vs. Bobby Reardanz (8-11)

Cliff Wright lost his last fight to Josh Quayhagen at Bellator 69, but outside of that he owns six submission victories, so he obviously has the game plan of submitting Bobby Reardanz. Reardanz is 2-6 in his last eight, but also owns a majority of his wins by submission. I think Reardanz’s losing trend continues with a loss to Wright via decision.

Top Photo: Thiago Santos (top) pummels his opponent (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.