Bellator MMA is set to return on June 6 to start its Summer Series. Live from Oklahoma, the card boasts a lineup that includes the light heavyweight tournament quarterfinals and some interesting feature bouts.

In the main attraction of the night, James Thompson and Eric Prindle are set to square off in a heavyweight feature bout. This bout was made on late notice after the original main event between Pat Curran and Patricio Freire fell through.

Also, three of the light heavyweight tournament quarterfinals are set to commence. Guys such as Rodney Wallace, Carlos Eduardo, Kelly Anundson and Philipe Lins are in the hunt for a future title shot.

Without further ado, let’s preview the Bellator 121 card and make some predictions.

HW: Eric Prindle (8-5) vs. James Thompson (19-14)

Pride veteran James Thompson earns the call to fight in the main event, where he takes on Bellator tournament finalist Eric Prindle. The winner here may jockey himself into a future tournament.

Thompson is a hulking heavyweight who cuts to make the 265-pound limit. He’s had his troubles in the past, but he has earned some high-profile wins recently against the likes of novelty fighters Mariusz Pudzianowski, Bob Sapp and Bobby Lashley. He is a striker, though he has been knocked out on numerous occasions. He will need to keep his hands up, especially against a boxer like Prindle.

Prindle looked to be a solid heavyweight early in his Bellator tenure, but he has gone 1-4 in his last five. He has suffered losses to Cole Konrad, Thiago Santos, Peter Graham and Javy Ayala. He is a boxer who throws heavy leather, but he has also been knocked out.

Prindle is a bit overhyped, especially by Bellator. This is evident by his placing in the main event. Thompson has been around the block a few times, and he has defeated guys tougher than Prindle. The Brit should be able to get the win here and score a knockout on the former American soldier.

LHW: Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (14-12) vs. Terry Davinney (10-7)

In a light heavyweight feature bout, Pride and UFC vet Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou makes his Bellator debut against company veteran Terry Davinney. One has to believe this is an audition for Sokoudjou to be in a future tournament.

Sokoudjou is a judo black belt who has fully embraced the Muay Thai game since becoming a mixed martial artist. He has nasty leg kicks and great power, but his cardio is questionable and his striking defense is poor. He is 2-2 in his last four, losing to the better competition and beating the lesser fighters he met in that stretch. He will likely keep this fight on the feet, where he has kept his bouts most of the time.

Davinney is a well-rounded fighter best known for his submission prowess. His biggest win came in his latest Bellator outing, where he knocked out The Ultimate Fighter 19 participant Matt van Buren in a quick bout. He likely will want to ground Sokoudjou and tire him out so he can finish him later.

Bellator just signed Sokoudjou, and the promotion wants him to be successful. That’s why he has been set up with this fight. Davinney could always draw this out and tire Sokoudjou, but Sokoudjou will likely put Davinney down with strikes.

LHW Tournament Quarterfinal: Philipe Lins (8-0) vs. James Austin Heidlage (7-0)

One undefeated fighter will move on in this light heavyweight tournament bout featuring Brazilian Philipe Lins and American James Austin Heidlage. The other fighter will go home with his first pro loss. The winner of this contest will move on in the bracket to fight either Rodney Wallace or Kelly Anundson, who are set to battle during the prelims.

Heidlage makes his Bellator debut after an undefeated pro and amateur run, which featured finishes in all of his fights. Heidlage has won most of his fights via submission, including two wins each at the pro level by way of kimura, guillotine choke and rear-naked choke. This will definitely be his biggest step up in competition, as Lins is a top prospect with great star potential.

Lins is a well-rounded fighter who runs with the Nova Uniao Kimura camp in Brazil. He has good striking and power, which goes well with his ability to tap guys out on the mat. He made his Bellator debut in his last bout, where he tapped out Travis Clark in just 40 seconds. He may want to keep this fight standing to avoid the risk of a submission.

Heidlage is a good prospect, but Lins is extremely skilled. Even if Heidlage can get Lins down, he’s not out of the woods. Lins will likely take a win here, either by late stoppage or a decision.

LHW Tournament Quarterfinal: Carlos Eduardo (11-3) vs. Egidijus Valavicius (26-10)

Lithuanian striker Egidijus Valavicius and Nova Uniao product Carlos Eduardo are set to fight for a spot in the light heavyweight tournament quarterfinals. The winner gets Liam McGeary, who already won his fight against Mike Mucitelli.

Valavicius has been a pro since 2000 and has fought everybody from Fedor Emelianenko to Attila Vegh. He has immense knockout power, as well as punishing leg kicks and solid knees. He earned this spot by knocking out tournament veteran Atanas Djambazov, whom the Lithuanian put down with a nasty combo of knees and punches. He will want to keep this fight on the feet with Eduardo.

Eduardo is in this tournament despite losing in his most recent outing against fellow tournament participant Rodney Wallace. The Brazilian is well rounded, though grappling would be a wise choice for him in this fight. His takedowns are going to be key, though, as he is not really known as a great takedown artist.

Eduardo was a top prospect going into his fight with Wallace, but a lot of wind was taken out of his sails with that loss. Valavicius is a wily veteran and knows a lot of the tricks of the trade. That will make him tough to beat. Valavicius will defend the takedown and avoid Eduardo’s wild swings to outstrike the Brazilian to a decision.

Preliminary Card
LHW Tournament Quarterfinal: Kelly Anundson (7-2) vs. Rodney Wallace (21-8-1)

A spot in the light heavyweight semifinals is up for grabs when The Ultimate Fighter 19 veteran Kelly Anundson makes his sophomore appearance with the company against UFC vet Rodney Wallace. Anundson is a wrestler who showed off his skills in his Bellator debut against Volkan Oezdemir. In that bout, he used a devastating neck crank to tap out the Swiss prospect. Wallace is a jack of all trades who uses good movement and timely striking to frustrate opponents. His last Bellator outing saw him outpoint Carlos Eduardo using good takedown defense and superior striking. This bout can go either way, but Anundson’s wrestling is an asset that could aid him in advancing to the next round.

FW: Treston Thomison (3-1) vs. Stephen Banaszak (7-2)

Treston Thomison and Stephen Banaszak meet again in the Bellator cage in a rematch of their Bellator 111 affair. Despite being an underdog in their first bout, Thomison was able to defeat Banaszak with a nifty little armbar. However, one has to believe the line is still close. History is important, though, and it must be observed here. Thomison will take another victory.

MW: Cortez Coleman (10-5) vs. Joe Vedepo (15-8)

Cortez Coleman and Joe Vedepo, a pair of middleweights, will seek to potentially earn a tournament spot. The Ultimate Fighter 16 vet Coleman is a wrestler with immense power, but he has cardio issues. He is ferocious early in the fight, but he needs to pace himself to incorporate his takedowns and ground-and-pound. Vedepo, an UFC veteran, is well rounded, but he has fallen on hard times of late by dropping three of his last four, including two fights in the Bellator cage. Coleman is the brute in this bout, and he will impose his will en route to an early stoppage via strikes.

LHW: Ray Sloan (6-0) vs. Jamelle Jones (2-1)

Undefeated light heavyweight Ray Sloan looks to continue his winning ways when he takes on young Idahoan Jamelle Jones. Jones is a grappler who in his young MMA career has a victory via banana split. That was impressive, but he’ll need to pull out all the stops against Sloan. Sloan is similarly a grappler, but he has more experience and five finishes in his pro career. One has to believe that experience is going to be key here, as Sloan has three more fights and a strong grappling background. He will win via submission.

MW: Robert “Bubba” McDaniel (21-8) vs. Matt Jones (5-7)

UFC veteran Robert “Bubba” McDaniel takes his first fight since being cut from the UFC. He’ll meet middling fighter Matt Jones. McDaniel’s stint in the UFC saw him go 1-2. He defeated Gilbert Smith, but he fell to Brad Tavares and Sean Strickland. The Jackson’s MMA fighter is a kickboxer with solid grappling abilities. He takes on a striker in Jones, who is likely going to be overmatched in this bout. McDaniel should be able to finish this bout, whether it be with strikes or by submission.

140-pound Catchweight: Steve Garcia (3-0) vs. Cody Walker (0-0)

Hot prospect Steve Garcia looks to keep his record perfect when he meets pro debutant Cody Walker. Walker was 1-0 as an amateur, where he won his only fight via knockout. Garcia is a well-rounded fighter who has ended all of his pro and amateur fights via knockout. The most impressive of those fights was against wrestling prodigy Shawn Bunch, whom Garcia knocked out in the third round. Walker has a big task in front of him here, and he will likely fall via knockout, just like the rest of Garcia’s foes.

WW: Guillermo Martinez (6-0) vs. William Florentino (4-3)

Guillermo Martinez looks to keep his undefeated record intact when he takes on the slumping William Florentino. Martinez is a savage who uses wrestling and power punching to win fights. He owns a victory via slam, as well as one where he utilized a jaw-rattling series of elbows. Florentino is a submission fighter who finds himself on a three-fight skid. Florentino is basically here to make Martinez look good. Martinez beats him up en route to a ground-and-pound stoppage.

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.