Life has been tough for Marcin Held lately.

First, casino officials interfered with the then 20-year-old’s attempts to enter the site of his scheduled lightweight final bout. Then, just as he prepared to fight at Bellator 92 two weeks ago, he suffered an injury. Now, at Bellator 93, Held finally gets his shot at Dave Jansen, the season-seven Bellator lightweight tournament championship and the all-important rematch that Held seeks against undefeated lightweight champion Michael Chandler.

That’s just the icing on the cake when Bellator heads to Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine. There’s also the return of Brett Rogers, who lost to current Bellator heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov in the tournament where the Russian claimed the title. The former Strikeforce competitor is set to face Eric Prindle in heavyweight action. Former light heavyweight tournament finalist Travis Wiuff also returns—and moves back to heavyweight—to combat Ryan Martinez. In addition, UFC veteran Marcus Davis comes off a five-month layoff to combat Waachiim Spiritwolf.

As always, The MMA Corner thanks you for making us your home for your official Bellator 93 preview, and as we await the result of a long-overdue lightweight tournament final, we also thank you for allowing us to expertly break this card down from top to bottom!

LW Tournament Final: Dave Jansen (18-2) vs. Marcin Held (15-2)

Held (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

Marcin Held experienced his share of issues in getting this fight with Dave Jansen to happen, but luckily for him, he only needs to prove that the lingering effects of his injury will not hinder his performance. Both men return from a four-month layoff, and both bring their own very unique styles into the cage. Those styles prove most effective on the ground, which raises the question of whether one of the two will want to stand with the other.

On one hand, Held’s career holds three TKO wins, but on the other, two of those three came due to injury. Held’s best edge, like Jansen’s, will come on the ground, but his specific edge comes in the form of the leg locks for which many know him best. In fact, half of his career wins came by some form of a leg submission, and so a trip to the ground means Held will look to take one of Jansen’s legs with him in victory.

In contrast, the brunt of Jansen’s wins all come by way of chokes. Don’t think for an instant he’s a one-trick pony, though. He has employed anaconda, d’arce and rear-naked chokes, as well as several guillotines, to account for those finishes. However, with both men showing a certain expertise on the ground, it raises the question of which one will hunt harder for the submission here.

But what if neither will hunt for the submission? Quite candidly, both expect the other’s grappling to show up at some point, and nothing outside of a strange submission can stifle the other in this one. In a bout that should provide more action against the cage than anything else, the wrestler, Jansen, will enjoy the size advantage and take a unanimous decision in what might prove an ugly fight. However, don’t expect Jansen to get as much out of his takedown completions as he wants, and that’s if he does get any takedowns.

HW: Brett Rogers (12-5) vs. Eric Prindle (7-3)

Rogers (Sherdog)

Eric Prindle rides the first losing skid of his career into this bout with Brett Rogers, who stands at 1-3 with one no-contest in his last five bouts. Both men competed in the most recent Bellator heavyweight tournament, and both need a win to get back on track. In a battle of these two heavy hitters, however, it becomes difficult to tell exactly which man stands the best chance of getting it.

Strangely enough, Rogers will hold the veteran edge on fight night. As alluded to earlier in this preview, he owns a recent loss to reigning champ Volkov in which Volkov handily outstruck him. Despite the loss, however, Rogers’ knockout power remains intact.

He will need all of that power against “The American Soldier.” Prindle, with his set of cinderblock fists, also prides himself on finishing fights. More than the thrill of ending the fight in the most exciting way possible, Prindle just does not like to leave much doubt about the verdict.

After two bizarre fights with Thiago Santos, who could blame Prindle for wanting a clear finish over Rogers? Rogers himself will want the same against Prindle, and fans should expect this one to end quite definitively. Ultimately, Rogers gets off to a good start, but Prindle scores a first-round knockout after Rogers smells blood in the water and hunts a little bit too hard for a knockout of his own.

HW: Travis Wiuff (66-18) vs. Ryan Martinez (8-2)

Wiuff (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

After Travis Wiuff fell short against Attila Vegh, who went on to claim light heavyweight gold shortly after his tournament win against Wiuff, questions linger as to how the journeyman will respond to the loss. However, while the loss to Vegh did hurt Wiuff, he actually comes off a split decision loss to Croatian standout Maro Perak. Meanwhile, Martinez rides into this shodown on the strength of a majority decision win over Manny Lara.

With Wiuff’s insane experience, no mystery exists as to how he beat former champion Christian M’Pumbu, nor is it surprising that his name came up as something of a favorite in Bellator’s Summer Series light heavyweight tournament. Running into Vegh and Perak, however, set the man back in his quest for some gold, and now he must prove that the tolls of that experience did not take much away from his overall game.

Whereas Wiuff’s resume would require a ream of paper to print, Martinez has just 10 fights under his belt and added only his third career win by decision to his record when he bested Lara. However, once upon a midnight cloudy, Martinez scored himself a few nice finishes. Those finishes came in 2011, and, without a finish in 2012, Martinez’s hunger to end a fight on his terms in 2013 grows by the minute.

Wiuff’s experience tells a tale of two possibilities. Sometimes, it works well in his favor and helps shine a light on an area in which his foe needs improvement. In contrast, it sometimes works against Wiuff because of the toll that comes with trying to extend an 85-fight career even further. Nonetheless, neutralizing the striking of Martinez will normally win a man a fight, so expect Wiuff to seek to make Martinez’s hands a non-factor by utilizing takedowns and top control en route to a unanimous decision win.

WW: Marcus Davis (15-9) vs. Waachiim Spiritwolf (9-11-1)

Davis (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Please, folks, do not underestimate Waachiim Spiritwolf’s record, even for a minute. In retrospect, Spiritwolf probably should come into this bout against UFC veteran Marcus Davis with at least one win over Marius Zaromskis under his belt, but a variety of things cursed that three-fight series. Meanwhile, Davis rides a 4-1 run, and recently righted the ship after a decision loss to Chuck O’Neil.

Spiritwolf might run a losing record, but if he’s not fighting Zaromskis, nobody loses out when he fights. As a matter of fact, most will remember his bout with Jamie Jara over either of his three “haunted” bouts with Zaromskis. That bout with Jara marked Spiritwolf’s last win, and it showcased the type of back-and-forth affairs that Spiritwolf can bring to the table when matched up against a tough opponent.

Spiritwolf will need that grittiness against Davis. Davis experienced a bit of good luck when he soothed the sting of a 2011 loss to Jeremy Stephens with three decision wins in four total victories outside of the UFC. However, while two of the decisions came with unanimous verdicts, his submission win over Travis Coyle sticks out as one of the rare instances of a guillotine choke from the side mount.

Although this one likely hits the scorecards, Davis can show something unorthodox if he does take it to the ground, and especially if he puts Spiritwolf in a similar position to what he put Coyle in. Unless Spiritwolf grabs the neck and sinks in something deep, or unless he gets a crazy submission game from all angles, Davis’ wrestling will play some sort of factor in this bout. The end result will render a verdict that puts another unanimous decision in the favor of “The Irish Hand Grenade.”

Preliminary Card

WW: John Raio (0-1) vs. Vince Murdock (1-0)

Vince Murdock scored a 16-second knockout win in his pro debut, while John Raio looks for his first pro win here. Unless Raio comes in with his hands down, this bout will go on longer than Murdock’s debut, albeit producing a similar outcome. Murdock by first-round knockout.

WW: Ryan Sanders (4-3) vs. Michael Page (3-0)

Ryan Sanders wants to submit Michael Page, but submitting the flashy welterweight means catching him or backing him into a corner. Page lacks experience, and his habit of dropping his hands may come back to bite him, but he still stops Sanders easily. Page wins by a one-punch second-round knockout after one of the most dominant first rounds in Bellator history.

LHW: Mike Mucitelli (4-0) vs. Brent Dillingham (0-0)

Michael Mucitelli showcases his grappling about as well as a 4-0 prospect can in the sport, and he will only get scarier as he progresses. Brent Dillingham makes his pro debut on the heels of two submission wins and two TKO victories in the amateur circuit. Mucitelli will get this fight to the ground and sink in a rear-naked choke midway through round one.

MW: Joe Pacheco (5-0) vs. Luc Bondole (2-0)

Joe Pacheco scored the first knockout of his career in his Bellator debut and looks to ride the momentum to the top of his division. Luc Bondole owns two wins of his own, but his inexperience will not work in his favor, despite his tremendous upside. Pacheco by unanimous decision.

MW: Jason Butcher (5-0) vs. Jack Hermansson (5-1)

In five first-round victories, Jason Butcher has never fought past the three-minute mark. Jack Hermansson owns a split decision loss in his most recent bout, and he owns four first-round finishes in five pro victories. Expect Butcher to pressure Hermansson early and put him away somewhat late. Butcher knocks Hermansson out with a solid left hand to the jaw in the later part of the first round.

MW: Dave Vitkay (11-12-1) vs. Jesse Peterson (7-2)

Dave Vitkay, despite his record, deserves credit for five wins by guillotine choke. Jesse Peterson, meanwhile, owns four wins and one no-contest, including a pair of first-round TKOs and, most recently, a second-round submission win. Peterson should catch Vitkay right on the chin and score another first-round TKO here, but it won’t be shocking if it comes in the second instead.

LW: Jon Lemke (1-0) vs. Jesse Erickson (0-0)

Jon Lemke won his pro debut by unanimous decision after a 3-0 run in the amateur circuit. Jesse Erickson closed out his amateur career on a first-round TKO win. Call it a crazy thought, but Erickson will stop Lemke in the second round by TKO. However, bet on this one hitting the scorecards if Erickson cannot finish Lemke, and parlay that bet with Erickson dropping a decision unless he can hinder Lemke’s attempts to get something going.

Photo: Dave Jansen (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.