“Hey baby, there ain’t no easy way out
I won’t back down
Hey, I will stand my ground
And I won’t back down.”

That’s not Tom Petty singing, but rather Bellator, as they continue to hold their own against the world’s top promotion in the UFC. The rapidly-growing, Bellator, will attempt to hit the ground running on September 26 at the Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix, AZ as they host Bellator 126.

Long-time middleweight champion, Alexander Shlemenko, will put his title up for grabs in a showdown with the challenger in Brandon Halsey.

Shlemenko will look to spring himself back into the win column following a first-round loss to Tito Ortiz at Bellator 126, while Halsey will attempt to remain unbeaten.

Shlemenko and Halsey are sure to deliver a show for bystanders and those viewing the event on Spike TV.

But what about the rest of the card?

The MMA Corner’s Josh Davis (3-1) and Garrett Derr (3-1) break down the card in this week’s edition of Davis vs. Derr.

 

 

Mike Richman vs. Ed West

Davis: When most people look at this fight, they probably think this a meaningless scrap between two sub-par guys that help fill up the fight card. And if that’s what you are thinking, you just might be right. However, I will say, don’t sleep on his fight. Yes neither Richman or West have been world beaters, but this is a classic match up of a striker versus a grappler. This might be the end of the road for the loser of this fight, and with that being said, it will always make for an exciting fight. It’s a no-brainer that if West can not get this fight to the ground, he is not going to win. I don’t think he will. I am going with Richman.

Prediction: Richman by TKO Round 2

Derr: This is a win or skip town type of fight for both Richman and West. Both guys have mediocre track records, but both are fortified sluggers that are difficult to finish. Richman is a much more versatile fighter who will adapt to West’s submission game. West doesn’t have much of a standup, so I expect to see “The Marine” outclass his opponent to a much-needed win.

Prediction: Richman by Decision

 

Thiago Meller vs. Bubba Jenkins

Davis: Honestly folks, this is the fight that you should really pay attention to. Yes, this card is stacked with great fights, but this fight, I believe, will be the most technical and has the potential to be the most exciting fight on the card. Both guys bring it and are always looking for a finish. Both also want this fight on the ground. The only difference is how they want to fight once the fight gets there. Jenkins wants to use his wrestling and work ground-and-pound from the top, while Meller will look to use his world class jiu-jitsu to get the submission. The problem is, wrestlers these days have proven to have submission defense, and jiu-jitsu practitioners have not been able to own the ground to work towards solid submissions. With that being said, I think Jenkins gets it done.

Prediction: Jenkins by Decision

Derr: Here’s a fun fact for youJenkins once went the distance with UFC featherweight kingpin, Jose Aldo. He came up short, but anyone who can survive those leg kicks earns my respect. This is an exceedingly intriguing matchup for fans and the featherweight division alike. Jenkins’ wrestling should do enough to hold off Meller’s superb submission attack. Jenkins does just enough to escape Phoenix with a narrow victory.

Prediction: Jenkins by Decision

 

Patricky Freire vs. Marcin Held

Davis: Held might be a fighter that you haven’t heard of if you’re not a main stream fan, but I will promise you thisif you watch this Friday night, he will not disappoint. Held is a submission specialist and will do whatever he can to get the fight to the ground. Once the fight is on the ground, even Freire won’t be able to handle his ground game. The problems is getting the fight to the ground. If he is going to do that, he is going to have to eat some punches, as Freire has proven to be a tough fighter to put on the canvas. For me, it’s like this, every fight starts on the feet and this fight will end on the feet with Freire’s hand being raised.

Prediction: Freire by KO, Round 1

Derr: Freire and Held have been on an absolute tear as of late. Held will surely try and take this fight to the ground. Freire, quite the contrast, will do whatever it takes to stand and exchange. Freire is well past the abrasive patch of his career and not even Held can prevent the “Pitbull” from returning to the top of the division. This will be the turning point in Freire’s career.

Prediction: Freire by KO, Round 2

 

Alexander Shlemenko vs. Brandon Halsey

Davis: I have to be honest, I am one of those guys that really loves this fight. I am firm believer that Schlemenko is one of the most underrated fighters in all of MMA, but he is going to be pushed again in this fight. Halsey put himself on the map when he defeated Shonie Carter in only the second fight of his career. Halsey then seized the moment again, winning the Bellator MMA Season 10 Middleweight Tournament, earning himself the title shot. Hasley will definitely need to use his All-American wrestling skills, size, speed, and strength advantage to push the pace and dictate the pace of this fight. Hasley has many ways to win this fight, but at the end of the night, I believe that Schlemenko will be walking out of the cage with his title.

Prediction: Shlemenko by Submission, Round 4

Derr: Who would have thought Shlemenko’s first loss in nearly four years would have came to the hands of Tito Ortiz? Not this guy. Not any coherent guy for that matter. It’s an ambitious uphill climb for Halsey who lacks momentous experience. Nonetheless, I expect Halsey to push the tempo early as a sign of his excitement, only for Shlemenko to take control later in the fight. If the champ can endure an early storm, which I believe he will, I envision Halsey’s first defeat in memorable fashion.

Prediction: Shlemenko by KO, Round 3

 

Follow @JoshDavisMMA and @GarrettDerr on Twitter.