The last time Bellator held a pay-per-view card was May 2014, headlined by the first match between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal. The event drew more than 100,000 pay-per-view buys, which would be a horrible number by UFC standards, and probably far less than what then-CEO Bjorn Rebney was hoping for.
More than three years later, Scott Coker will run his first pay-per-view with Bellator, and he’s bringing some compelling names into the fold.
With guys like Fedor Emelianenko, Wanderlei Silva, Chael Sonnen, Ryan Bader and Lorenz Larkin all scheduled to compete, there’s a bit of everything planned for June 24: we’ve got legends, homegrown champs, and former UFC contenders all for a $50 price tag.
It might be a while before the fight odds release for the card. In the meantime, we took a stab at projecting money lines for some of the night’s biggest scraps. We’ll make sure to keep you posted with the official MMA odds at BookMaker.eu.
Chael Sonnen (-170) vs Wanderlei Silva (+140)
There’s a Grudge, But Not Much Else
Sonnen looked like ass in his “comeback” fight against Tito Ortiz. There’s just no other way to put it. The “Gangster from West Linn” got taken down and submitted in just a few minutes by a creaky, retiring fighter.
The good news for Sonnen is that there’s a good chance that Silva looks even worse for his comeback. The Brazilian hasn’t fought since March 2013, so not only will have to shake off four years of ring rust, he’ll have to do it against a wrestler that will likely stifle his preferred method of offense.
We have to make Sonnen the favorite here simply because he’s been the more “active” fighter. In this case, that means he’s at least had a training camp in the past few years.
Matt Mitrione (-145) vs Fedor Emelianenko (+125)
Let’s Accept That Fedor Is Done
We get to cheat a little bit, as money lines briefly released when these two were scheduled to meet at Bellator 172. Honestly, I was a little surprised that “Meathead” wasn’t closer to a 2-1 favorite. Did oddsmakers even watch the Russian’s last fight against Maldonado?
If he had trouble getting past a blown-up, out-of-shape light heavyweight washout from the UFC, how is the guy going to fare against a legit heavyweight? Mitrione is past his prime for sure, but nobody’s saying that he should be retired. We’ve been saying that about Emelianenko for years.
Ryan Bader (-195) vs Muhammed Lawal (+160)
Coming For the King
The fact that Ryan Bader has been one win away from a UFC title fight on multiple occasions already puts him in the elite tier of Bellator’s 205-pound weight class. And while King Mo is one of the better guys in the division, nobody would consider him a legit UFC contender.
If Mo can’t take his opponent down, he’s at a huge disadvantage. Bader is a bigger guy with comparable wrestling credentials. Plus, “Darth” has steadily improved his boxing over the years while Lawal is still a little lost on the feet. Bader has to be the favorite here.
Douglas Lima (+120) vs Lorenz Larkin (-110)
The UFC Halo Effect
Like Bader, Larkin gets a boost because of his UFC success. He comes into this title bout on the strength of a two-fight winning streak over Jorge Masvidal and Neil Magny – two top-10 UFC fighters. That should play very favorably with oddsmakers, even though Lima’s own two-fight win streak comes against former champion Andrey Koreshkov and the well-regarded Paul Daley.