Bellator MMA is set to return on May 9 to continue its 10th season. Live from Canada, the card boasts a lineup that includes the featherweight tournament final bout.

In the main attraction of the night, Desmond Green and Daniel Weichel are set to square off with a featherweight title shot up for grabs. This is the first tournament final either man has been to, giving this match-up a fresh feel for a finals bout.

Also, some good talent in the form of Marlon Sandro, Chris Horodecki and Raphael Butler will grace the main card. All of these men have the potential for staying power in Bellator, as well as a shot to gain a future tournament slot.

Without further ado, let’s preview the Bellator 119 card and make some predictions.

FW Tournament Final: Desmond Green (11-2) vs. Daniel Weichel (33-8)

With Brett Cooper injured and the middleweight tourney final postponed, featherweight action takes the top billing at Bellator 119. Desmond Green clashes with Daniel Weichel in the season-10 featherweight tournament finals. The winner of this bout will lay claim to a $100,000 check and move on to a title shot against the winner of the upcoming championship bout between Pat Curran and Patricio Freire.

Weichel is a submission fighter from Germany who has gone from dark horse of the tournament to potential title challenger swiftly. In the tournament thus far, he has been nothing short of impressive. The German ran through Scott Cleve and choked him out in the quarterfinals before earning a workmanlike decision over Matt Bessette in the semis. He is facing a wrestler in Green, so his grappling chops will depend on takedown defense, transitions, scrambling ability and sweeps when fighting the American.

In addition to being a skilled wrestler, Green is athletic and quick. On the feet, he is nothing to write home about, but he uses his hands to set up takedowns and clinches so he can grind away wins. So far in the tournament, he has grinded away Mike Richman and Will Martinez with his wrestling. That should provide a clear hint of how he will approach Weichel in this bout.

This fight depends on the effectiveness of Weichel’s takedown defense. If he is lacking in that department, Green will have his way with the German. If Weichel comes in with his normal sturdy hips, effective striking and good submission offense, he will be in solid shape. Weichel is going to win this tournament with his well-rounded ability and become a star with Bellator in the process.

FW: Chris Horodecki (20-4-1) vs. Marlon Sandro (24-5-1)

Canadian striker Chris Horodecki takes on Brazilian buzzsaw Marlon Sandro in a battle of featherweights. The winner could likely land a spot in the next featherweight tournament, which might come as soon as season 11.

Horodecki is a WEC and Bellator veteran who was once one of the most promising prospects in all of the sport. He is still a very skilled fighter, though he never lived up to the prodigy label he was given. He is a kickboxer who is technical and loves to pick apart opponents. Since his last Bellator bout, a loss to Mike Richman in 2012, Horodecki has gone 2-0 with a no-contest, while choking out Tim Smith and taking a decision from Frank Carabello. He will need to stay technical and avoid brawling with Sandro.

Sandro is a multiple-time tournament veteran who was seemingly destined to become the champion of this company. However, in numerous chances, Sandro has been unable to achieve that goal. The bulky Brazilian is 7-3 with Bellator, owning notable wins over the likes of Akop Stepanyan, Alexandre Bezerra and Nazareno Malagarie. He is powerful on the feet and can entice fighters to brawl with him, though taking Horodecki to the mat could be advantageous for him.

This is going to be a close fight where the winner depends on who is able to impose their game plan. Sandro is a brute. When the best version of the Brazilian shows up, he can be as dangerous as any man. Horodecki is always solid, though the Richman loss was evidence that he can be defeated on the feet. Sandro should clinch and punish Horodecki, which will lead to him earning a win here in impressive fashion.

HW: Raphael Butler (8-0) vs. Nick Rossborough (23-18)

Undefeated heavyweight prospect Raphael Butler takes on journeyman Nick Rossborough. A win for Butler would likely warrant a tournament berth in a future heavyweight bracket.

Butler is a striker with very heavy hands, great explosiveness and great athleticism for a man his size. Undefeated in eight pro bouts, Butler has run roughshod through Bellator thus far, pushing a 3-0 record with three knockouts. Those knockouts came against the likes of Jeremiah O’Neal, Joseph Bryant and Josh Burns. Against Rossborough, he would be wise to keep this fight upright and punish the 41-fight veteran with his polished hands.

Rossborough is a submission fighter with good wrestling and a rugged disposition. He is 1-2 in his last three, notably fighting and falling to Cody East via decision and Marcin Rozalski via knockout. The Rozalski stoppage happened in March, meaning he has a pretty quick turnaround despite the fact he took great punishment in that bout. If he can ground Butler, he has more than a great opportunity to win this bout.

Rossborough is tough as nails and has been around the block plenty of times. However, Butler is simply the better athlete, the more powerful individual and has a far brighter future. Butler is being set up for success here. He will down Rossborough early to punch his ticket to the next heavyweight tournament.

WW: Marius Zaromskis (19-8) vs. Vaughn Anderson (16-2-1)

Canada’s own Vaughn Anderson looks to pick up his first Bellator win against Lithuanian vet Marius Zaromskis. Both men have fought in a tournament before and would love to do it again.

Zaromskis is a striker best known for his wicked kicks and finishing ability. He is best remembered as the guy who knocked out Bruno Carvalho with a somersault kick, a move that has been on highlight reels since it happened. He needs to keep this fight on the feet, where he has his best chance at success. Anderson will want to close the distance, but Zaromskis can create distance with his kicks and a stick-and-move strategy.

Anderson is a grappler who has yet to fight since losing in last season’s welterweight tournament, where he was out-hustled on the ground by War Machine. War Machine eventually put Anderson to sleep with a rear-naked choke. A kickboxing match with Zaromskis could spell trouble for him, so he’ll need to utilize his grappling.

Zaromskis has good hips and has fought better wrestlers than Anderson. That may be the blueprint here. Anderson will try to grab a leg, but the Lithuanian will shake it off and make him pay for it with his hands. Before the judges need to be called upon, Zaromskis will stop Anderson with strikes and do so in impressive fashion.

Preliminary Card
160-pound Catchweight: John Alessio (34-17) vs. Eric Wisely (22-8)

UFC vet John Alessio gets an opponent on late notice. That opponent is Eric Wisely, who will look to take a fight above his normal weight class here in hopes of impressing the Bellator brass. Alessio is well-rounded, though his best work is done when he is on top on the mat pounding away and fishing for submissions. Wisely is a striker who will want to avoid going to the mat with the bigger, stronger Alessio. That will not happen, though, as the Canadian closes the distance, puts Wisely on his back and makes it a long night for the American.

MW: Brian Rogers (10-6) vs. Adrian Miles (14-5)

The Ultimate Fighter 19 vet Adrian Miles looks to make a successful Bellator debut when he collides with longtime company vet Brian Rogers. Miles is a Alan Belcher disciple known for his skills on the feet, but he will likely play into his opponent’s strength. Rogers is a knockout artist who has put away eight of his 10 foes with knockouts. He’ll add a ninth victim to that list when he overwhelms Miles on the feet and puts him away violently.

HW: Stuart Austin (7-0) vs. Craig Hudson (4-3)

Canadian heavyweight Craig Hudson looks to defend his home turf on the prelims, but that will be a tough task when prospective heavyweight-tournament participant Stuart Austin invades his homeland from the United Kingdom. Hudson is a striker who likes to use his kicks and knees on opponents. He is on a two-fight surge, but fell to Tim Hague and Smealinho Rama previous to his current streak. Austin will likely be the bigger man of the two and similarly brings in a good striking skill set with him. He will use his size and overall skill advantage to beat up Hudson and eventually finish him when he gasses.

LW: Remy Bussieres (3-0) vs. Jason Meisel (4-3)

Undefeated lightweight Remy Bussieres looks to keep his record perfectly intact, but in his way is a near-.500 Canadian by the name of Jason Meisel. Meisel is a Score Fighting Series vet who has faced inconsistency in his career. His most notable fight came against Olivier Aubin-Mercier, who choked him out in under two minutes. Bussieres returns to Bellator for the first time since October, when the Quebec native took a decision over Blake Pool. Bussieres is a powerful lightweight with decent enough hands to crack through Meisel’s chin. He should do exactly that and get his fourth win in the process.

130-pound Catchweight: Malcolm Gordon (4-0) vs. Chris Kelades (6-0)

Malcolm Gordon and Chris Kelades, two undefeated fighters, take a late-notice bout at 130 pounds. Kelades and Gordon are normal flyweights taking a 130-pound fight on about a week’s notice. Kelades is a ground fighter who is comfortable on top or off his back. He scored an especially impressive win against Rick Doyle via gogoplata in his last fight. Gordon is a finisher and Canada’s top flyweight at the moment. He earned that distinction when he tapped out the well-regarded Mike Davis in his last outing. Wherever this fight goes, look for Gordon to be one step ahead of the solid Kelades. Gordon should finish him, whether it be with strikes or via submission.

LW: Behrang Yousefi (5-4) vs. Chad Freeman (8-5)

In the second of two late-notice bouts to be added to the card, lightweight Behrang Yousefi and Chad Freeman battle it out to keep their records as far away from the .500 mark as possible. Freeman is a Canadian who is making his Bellator debut. The ground fighter has finished all eight of his wins by pounding or tapping guys after he puts them on the mat. Yousefi is a ground fighter, too, though he should be cautious on the mat with Freeman. Freeman’s better track record and experience will be the difference here. He will finish Yousefi late down the stretch.

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.