himNow with the UFC back in action, Bellator brings in its big super fight it has been trying to make. Former Bellator lightweight champion, Eddie Alvarez, steps in the cage against Dream champion Shinya Aoki, who beat him way back on New Year’s Eve in 2008.

On top of Alvarez’s first fight since losing his belt to Michael Chandler in the fall, the lightweight and middleweight tournaments begin their semifinals.

For the lightweights, Brent Weedman faces Thiago Michel and Rick Hawn takes on the biggest upset of the lightweight tournament, Lloyd Woodard.

In the middleweight tournament, Maiquel Falcao battles the Russian, Vyacheslav Vasilevsky. Since Bruno Santos had to pull out of his fight with Brian Rogers, Rogers will now face the Swede Andreas Spang in the second part of the middleweight tournament.

Bellator 66 comes live from the I-X Center in Cleveland. The undercard begins at 7 p.m. ET on Spike.com and again after the main card at 10 p.m ET. The main card starts at 8 p.m. ET on MTV2.

LW: Shinya Aoki (30-5) vs. Eddie Alvarez (22-3)

Can Alvarez regain championship form? (Bellator)

These two lightweights have been the top lightweights in the world outside of the UFC for quite some time. Now though, Alvarez has taken a stumble with his loss to Chandler in the fall making this fight a little less awesome then it could have been.

Aoki is a submission machine, the man simply knows how to manipulate limbs and suffocate you to get a victory. Aoki always wears magic submission pants. Seriously, I think those pants are made of magic.

If this fight stays standing there is absolutely no chance Aoki wins this fight. Aoki needs to take this fight to the ground and control Alvarez or submit him like he did last time if he wants to get the win.

For Alvarez, the fight needs to stay standing. Alvarez is light years ahead of Aoki in the striking department and will be able to tear into him easily.

Alvarez has some really good boxing and just striking in general and is pretty adept on the ground, but the edge on the ground goes to Aoki.

I think Alvarez comes back hungrier than ever, wanting to prove the Chandler fight was a fluke and the last time Aoki won was luck. I’ll take Alvarez by second-round TKO.

MW Tourney Semifinal: Andreas Spang (7-1) vs. Brian Rogers (9-3)

Rogers (Andy Hemingway/Sherdog)

Spang is in this fight since Rogers’ original opponent, Bruno Santos, pulled out of the fight due to injury. So now the Swedish fighter gets an easier chance to get to the belt by taking over in the semifinals.

Rogers last time out smoked his opponent with a vicious flying knee knockout and proved just how good his striking can be. Rogers’ gameplan here will be to keep the fight standing and look to land the knockout blow.

For Spang, it might end up being pretty much the same thing. Spang is decent in all areas, winning three fights by submission and two by knockout, with his most recent win coming by TKO.

Spang needs to be aware of the knockout blows and shoot for a takedown and try and pound out Rogers or hope Rogers goes for a takedown and lock in a guillotine choke that has given him all three of his submission victories.

Unfortunately for Spang, he’ll be one and done in the semifinals of the Bellator middleweight tournament. Rogers by first-round knockout.

MW Tourney Semifinal: Vyacheslav Vasilevsky (16-1) vs. Maiquel Falcao (29-4)

Maiquel Falcao (R) (Sherdog)

Last time out, Vasilevsky proved he has what it takes to compete in the tournament. On both the feet and on the canvas Vasilevsky battered Victor O’Donnell on his way to a 29-28 unanimous decision victory.

Vasilevsky took some time though to adjust in the first round and doing that against someone of Falcao’s caliber could be his downfall.

Much like his opponent, Falcao can do damage with his punches from either the ground or standing. Falcao gave a heady beating to Norman Paraisy after the two had a heated battle at the weigh-ins that spilled over into the fight.

At one point Falcao could have finished Paraisy but opted to taunt his foe and keep the fight going. Now that could be either the smartest move, or the dumbest move. Falcao obviously can’t pull a stunt like that here as Vasilevsky will capitalize on the extra time.

For Falcao, this fight is about getting it to the ground and achieving the mount position to work some oh so sweet ground-and-pound on Vasilevsky. For Vasilevsky he has a choice, either work to do the same plan as Falcao or keep the fight standing and try to avoid the knockout blows while countering.

In this fight, I see Falcao getting a very, very late TKO victory.

LW Tourney Semifinal: Rick Hawn (12-1) vs. Lloyd Woodard (12-1)

Lloyd Woodard (top) submits Patricky Freire (Bellator)

Hawn might be a former Olympic judo competitor, but he has proven he can get the knockout victory and did so in his last fight against Ricardo Tirloni.

Hawn’s judo background also gives a very good ground game and very good takedown ability, which Woodward will have to watch.

Woodard might not care though. In his last fight against Patricky Freire, Woodard came in as the underdog and left with a submission victory that dislocated the elbow of Freire. Woodard is no slouch on the ground and if the fight goes there, Hawn will have to be careful.

For Hawn the fight should stay standing as I think he has the advantage in the striking department and it will be safe enough for him standing. I also will go out on a limb here and give Woodard a slight edge on the ground where he should take this fight.

Unfortunately for Woodard, I think his tournament run ends here. I thought there was no chance he would win the first fight but he did prove me wrong so this was kind of a tough pick to make. I think Hawn will win by unanimous decision.

LW Tourney Semifinals: Thiago Michel (10-2) vs. Brent Weedman (19-7-1)

Brent Weedman (L) (Sherdog)

In his last fight Michel eeked out a split decision victory after he dominated the standup, but couldn’t avoid the ground with Nazare.

Granted Michel did stuff some takedowns and Nazare was unable to do much if anything on the ground. Michel looked really good in the striking department with some great front kicks and punches that kept Nazare out of range.

Weedman looked equally impressive, as would anybody if they pulled off a Von Flue choke. Weedman looked at home in the lightweight division after making the drop down from welterweight. Weedman was able to stun and drop J.J. Ambrose who has an impressive list of Muay Thai credentials.

For Michel in this fight he needs to keep the fight standing and avoid Weedman’s combos or take the fight to the ground and work some ground-and-pound. For Weedman, if he can get the fight to the ground, he should look for submissions as Michel’s two losses have come by way of submission.

I think Weedman looked good and overall, he is a more well-rounded fighter than Michel. I’ll take Weedman winning by unanimous decision.

Preliminary Card

Women’s 131-pound Catchweight.: Jessica Eye (6-1) vs. Anita Rodriguez (5-2)

Eye has two wins by TKO and four by decision. She knows how to control her opponent and if the fight goes to the ground, she will finish you from the top. Rodriguez also knows how to finish from the ground winning three contests by submission, winning her last time out by decision. Eye by TKO in the third.

BW: Donny Walker (15-8) vs. Frank Caraballo (8-4)

Walker has 12 finishes and is coming off a two-fight stint in the UFC that saw him go 0-2. Caraballo has six finishes and is 1-1 in Bellator, most recently beating Dustin Kempf last September at Bellator 51. Caraballo by TKO in the third.

LW: Tyler Combs (13-9-1) vs. Jason Dent (21-12)

All of Combs’ victories have come by some sort of finish and he has been beaten in four of his previous six fights.

Dent is a former contestant from TUF: US vs. UK, and much like Combs all of his wins have also come by finishes. Dent went 1-1 in the UFC beating TUF cast mate, Cameron Dollar, but dropped his next fight to George Sotiropoulos.

Despite going 0-3 in his last three fights, Dent gets the win by some sort of finish.

LHW: Dan Spohn (6-1) vs. Attila Vegh (24-4-2)

So far in his two fight Bellator career, Spohn is 1-1 most recently losing by split decision to Kelvin Tiller at Bellator 56. Spohn knows how to control a fight on the ground and knows how to finish from the top.

Vegh is more the well-rounded fighter coming in with 10 wins by submission and nine by knockout. Vegh is 4-0-1 in his last five fights and will pick up his fifth win by submission.

LHW: John Hawk (6-4) vs. Marcus Vanttinen (21-3)

Hawk hasn’t had much luck since early 2010, going 2-4 since then. Last fall, Hawk beat Allan Weickhart, but then dropped a split decision to Roger Hollett at Bellator 57 in November.

Vanttinen comes to Bellator for the first time and is coming off a victory over Malik Merad in October. Before that, a loss to Attila Vegh ended his 11-fight win streak. Vanttinen has 17 finishes in his career and will get his 18th over Hawk.

LW: Julian Lane (3-0) vs. Joe Heiland (6-1-1)

Lane has finished all three of his opponents so far in his young professional career with two of those finishes coming by way of guillotine choke. For Heiland, he has three TKO victories and is 1-1-1 in his last three fights. Heiland hasn’t fought since October 2010, and Lane will get his fourth victory here.

Top Photo: Shinya Aoki (Esther Lin/Strikeforce)

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.