Bellator MMA is set to continue its ninth season on Nov. 8 with Bellator 107. Live from Oklahoma, the card boasts a deep lineup that includes tournament finals in the heavyweight, middleweight and bantamweight divisions.

Cheick Kongo headlines opposite Peter Graham in the heavyweight finals. Graham fills in for the injured Vinicius Queiroz. The winner of this fight will meet the winner of the title tilt between Alexander Volkov and Vitaly Minakov, who fight at the end of the season. Queiroz, who beat Lavar Johnson, hurt his knee and could not participate in the tournament final.

The other two finals feature Mikkel Parlo versus Brennan Ward and Joe Warren against Travis Marx. Both men get $100,000 and a title shot in their respective weight classes.

Without further ado, let’s preview the Bellator 107 card and make some predictions.

HW Tournament Final: Cheick Kongo (19-8-2) vs. Peter Graham (9-5)

The heavyweight tournament will come to an end in the main event when UFC veteran Cheick Kongo takes on tournament replacement Peter Graham. Both men are strikers with knockout power, so this could be a great fight that ends in brutal fashion.

Kongo was let go after his UFC contract expired. From there, he entered this four-man heavyweight tournament opposite Mark Godbeer at Bellator 102, where he kneed and punched the Brit into oblivion. Though he is a Muay Thai stylist, he does have superior clinch and solid takedowns, which can allow him to grind away at opponents like he did against Shawn Jordan, Matt Mitrione and Paul Buentello.

Graham is a pro kickboxer that has won all of his fights with his great kicks and powerful punches. He won his Bellator debut in impressive fashion by battering Eric Prindle for three rounds. That was the first time he had gone to a decision, as his eight previous wins came via knockout. He needs to use his nasty leg kicks to create distance so that Kongo is not as quick when he tries to get inside.

For some reason, an upset seems likely due to the sheer power and technique of Graham. Kongo is tough and has a good chin, but Graham has just as much power, if not more, than guys like Pat Barry and Roy Nelson, who have rocked the Frenchman on multiple occasions. Graham will take the tournament final via vicious knockout, upending the UFC vet.

BW Tournament Final: Joe Warren (9-3) vs. Travis Marx (21-4)

The four-man bantamweight tournament for season nine comes to a close with former featherweight champion Joe Warren taking on Greg Jackson disciple Travis Marx. The winner moves on to face the eventual winner of the title fight between Eduardo Dantas and Rafael Silva.

Warren is a power wrestler, plain and simple. He looks to close the distance with his striking before snagging a leg or two. He has won two straight in the bantamweight division, decisioning Owen Evinger before tapping out Nick Kirk in the semifinals of this tourney. To beat Kirk, he used an unorthodox armbar which earned him some recognition for a possible “Submission of the Year.” Of course, in this fight, he wants to get Marx on the ground.

Marx is likely the more well-rounded of the two men, though it may be tough to overcome Warren’s wrestling. Marx is also on a two-fight winning streak which has seen him decision Chase Beebe and stop Brandon Bender with knees and punches. The Bender fight was a comeback win where Marx took a major beating in the first round.

This fight is definitely interesting because Marx is well-trained and has good takedown defense. The only problem is that Warren is a world-class wrestler that has also spent time with Greg Jackson, Marx’s coach. Expect a grinding approach that wears down Marx, eventually giving Warren a decision victory and the title shot.

LW: Patricky Freire (10-5) vs. James Edson Berto (17-10-1)

Brazilian Bellator staple Patricky Freire takes on James Edson Berto of the famous Berto family in a clash of lightweights seeking a berth in a future tournament. This could be a very fun fight, given the styles of both men.

Freire has been a Bellator mainstay for a big part of his career. He is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner with immense power in his strikes, but he has fallen on hard times recently. He opened up his Bellator career with a 3-1 record, knocking out Rob McCullough, Toby Imada and Kurt Pellegrino. However, he has dropped three straight fights in the company, succumbing to a kimura at the hands of Lloyd Woodard, falling via knockout to Eddie Alvarez and dropping a decision to Derek Anderson.

Berto comes from a boxing background, but he is a complete martial artist. That is seen in the fact that he has 10 career submission wins. He is 4-6 in his last 10 fights, but made a successful Bellator debut in his most recent outing when he tapped out Bruno Carvalho with a nasty heel hook. His well-roundedness could make this bout competitive.

Freire is getting a cherry in this fight as Bellator is trying to get him back in the win column. He is likely the better, more powerful striker with the takedown defense to keep this standing. He will hurt Berto and earn a stoppage due to strikes.

MW Tournament Final: Mikkel Parlo (11-1) vs. Brennan Ward (8-1)

The middleweight tournament for season nine comes to a merciful end with Denmark’s Mikkel Parlo taking on Brennan Ward, who was a late replacement to begin with in the tournament quarterfinals. The 185-pound tournament has been a mess this season, as it was plagued with numerous injuries.

Parlo is a striker that has rounded out his game well in training with Xtreme Couture. He showed improved wrestling in outworking Brian Rogers in the quarterfinals via decision. In the semifinals, he outhustled Jason Butcher to get to this point in the tournament. Arguably, he has had the toughest road to get to the finals, which could prove to help or hurt him come fight three of the tourney.

Ward has been a finisher in this tournament, despite the late notice upon entry. In the opening fight, he suffered a beating in the first round against Justin Torrey, but came back to stop him with strikes in the second. He then took on fellow replacement Joe Pacheco in the semifinals and tapped him out with a nasty guillotine choke. Ward is a strong, powerful guy with good strikes and impressive stopping power, something important when taking on Parlo.

Parlo’s recent performances indicate that he is going to be successful here. After seeing Torrey ground and hurt Ward, one has to believe the Dane can do the same thing. Expect another balanced approach to this fight by Parlo as he outworks Ward. A finish is doubtful, but Parlo should take a convincing decision.

Preliminary Card

LW: Chris Jones (8-2) vs. Robert White (2-0)

Undefeated wrestler Robert White returns to Bellator for the second time at lightweight and takes on Texan Chris Jones. White has won both of his fights with his grinding style, including his Bellator debut against Kenny Booker. He will need that wrestling attack when he takes on Jones, who is a finisher. Jones, a Mohler MMA rep, has defeated some southern regional staples like Steven Peterson, Chris Pecero and Javier Obregon. He is more well-rounded, which should carry him to victory over White.

LW: Derek Campos (12-3) vs. Martin Stapleton (12-2)

Derek Campos is a two-time Bellator vet that is coming off a Summer Series win over the tough Brandon Girtz. He is a wrestler with good ground-and-pound and submission prowess. He has only been finished once, in a submission loss to Rich Clementi. Stapleton is coming off a season-nine tournament quarterfinal loss to Saad Awad where he was overwhelmed on the feet and tapped with a choke. The Brit is a ground fighter, but doesn’t have the same level of wrestling skills as Campos, so expect a big win for the American.

MW: Jonas Billstein (11-3) vs. Cortez Coleman (9-4)

Potential middleweight tournament participants will vie for a spot against one another when TUF vet Cortez Coleman takes on Germany’s Jonas Billstein. Coleman is a power wrestler that is usually more physically strong than his opponent. That will not change here. Once he grounds a guy, they have a problem dealing with him on top. Billstein is a striker that needs to stay off his back, which may be tough seeing as how Perry Filkins treated him in their fight. Look for Billstein to try to headhunt early, but Coleman will hold him down and earn a decision.

HW: Raphael Butler (7-0) vs. Josh Burns (7-6)

Undefeated slugger Raphael Butler looks to add his name to a future heavyweight tournament bracket when he takes on Hammer House rep Josh Burns. Butler is a boxer who fought last month for Bellator, scoring a quick knockout of Joseph Bryant. He has left the first round only once, as the power striker has made short work of all the men he has faced. Burns is 0-3 with Bellator, falling to Eric Prindle, Thiago Santos and Rich Hale. In all six of his losses, he has been finished. Expect Butler to touch his chin early and score another knockout win.

LHW: Ryan McCurdy (8-3) vs. Mike Mucitelli (5-0)

Middleweight Ryan McCurdy fights up a weight class and takes on prospective light heavyweight tournament participant Mike Mucitelli. McCurdy is a power striker making his debut for Bellator. Five of his wins have come via knockout, showing that his stand-up is something to be feared in this bout. Mucitelli is competing in his fifth Bellator match and has yet to lose with the organization. The submission fighter has tapped Matt van Buren, Matt Uhde and Brent Dillingham before fighting to a no-contest, due to an eye poke, against Jeff Nader. McCurdy needs to keep this on the feet, but Mucitelli has the takedown chops to ground him and tap him out.

LHW: Matt Jones (4-5) vs. Linton Vassell (11-3)

Linton Vassell, a British light heavyweight with tournament aspirations, makes his Bellator debut when he takes on Matt Jones, who enters into his sophomore effort in Bellator. Jones is a Brazilian Top Team Texas member on a two-fight skid against the likes of Cortez Coleman and Roger Narvaez. He is fighting up a weight class for this bout. He takes on a man who has a well-rounded arsenal, but who loves to bang on the feet. Vassell’s latest outing saw him knock out Zelg Galesic, a Bellator tournament veteran. Jones will be in over his head for this bout and will fall to the Brit via strikes.

Photo: Cheick Kongo (R) (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Riley Kontek
Staff Writer

Riley Kontek is a Chicago-land native that has been an addict of mixed martial arts since the first Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz encounter. He has been writing on MMA for the last year and is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. In addition to that, he used to host a weekly radio show on MMA. Though he has no formal training in mixed martial arts, Riley is a master in the art of hockey fighting.