I’ve been on the ground covering Bellator London this week, and it’s fair to say it’s been pretty lively already – and we haven’t even switched on the arena lights at the SSE Arena yet.
First, we had a melee on media day when Irish star James Gallagher – here to promote his upcoming fight in Dublin next February – put a left hook on the chin of Bellator featherweight Mike Kimbel after the American had apparently posted a none-too-pleasant message about “The Strabanimal’s” mother.
Then, earlier on Friday, we saw the two middleweight rivals set for action in Saturday’s co-main event come to blows as tempers boiled over at the ceremonial weigh-ins.
It seems there’s something in the air in London this week, and hopefully, it will translate to an exciting night on Saturday.
Paddy’s oddsmakers have priced up the top three fights on the card, with each matchup offering solid options, whether you’re looking to follow form or find value.
The main event isn’t quite what it was supposed to be, with Michael “Venom” Page’s originally-scheduled opponent, Derek Anderson, forced off the card through injury.
It meant a short-notice replacement was needed, and Italian Giovanni “The Punisher” Melillo has happily stepped in. He’s obviously as game as they come, but he’s also been finished in the first round in two of his last three outings.
That’s not a good stat for anyone hoping for a shock Italian victory this weekend, and anything less than a first-round finish from “MVP” will be declared a disappointment from the expectant Bellator fanbase.
Page specialises in knockouts, and highlight-reel ones at that, so expect him to suss out Melillo’s movement in the first 60 seconds, then see if he can work an angle to unleash something spectacular later in the round.
The 1/14 on an MVP win is too short, even for an acca, so keep an eye out for the round betting and method of victory markets. Page by KO will likely be long odds-on, but Page to win in Round 1 may offer a better return for your money.
These two REALLY don’t get along. Don’t believe me? Check out their weigh-in scuffle from earlier today…
The two former BAMMA rivals have never met inside the cage, but they will finally throw down on Saturday night in one of the most eagerly-anticipated clashes of the night.
Edwards’ undefeated record and ability to finish on the feet or on the mat makes him the pre-fight favourite at 1/4, but the 5/2 on Shipman doesn’t do justice to the Londoner’s own skillset. “Seabass” captured the BAMMA middleweight title and has starched a host of his opponents via his heavy hands.
Shipman has operated at a higher level than Edwards, and he’ll pose the toughest test of the Brummie’s undefeated career.
The 5/2 on Shipman is worth a sporting bet, but if Paddy’s oddsmakers introduce Round betting, I’d check the odds on Edwards to win it in the second round. If Shipman doesn’t get him out of there early, Edwards may well make him pay later on in the fight.
Two of the toughest cookies you could wish to fight at 155 pounds go head to head in a battle of former champions from the European scene.
Bak held Cage Warriors gold, while Brazier did the same in BAMMA. Now they face off in Bellator looking to push themselves up the ladder at lightweight.
The pair are both outstanding scrappers, and it would be no surprise to see them battle to the scorecards on Saturday.
* All odds correct at time of posting.