Bellator London: A Few Leans

Bellator London will be taking place during Saturday morning for us stateside, and it won't be easy to view even if you were planning on it. The card will only be available on their Bellator app, so have fun watching the event on your phone. Solid play Bellator....solid play.

There's only 3 lines posted for this card, and there's really only one fight to take a hard look at from a value perspective. Michael Page is currently a -2100 favorite, and Leon Edwards' little brother, Fabian Edwards, has grown to a substantial -350 favorite over the gritty Brit, Mike Shipman. I'd avoid both these fights, as it's really a dog or pass situation, and I wouldn't give either of the dogs a good chance at pulling off an upset. But there is a Parlay that we like for a small play with these favorites involved.

After doing our tape study, we found some value in the Soren Bak at -125, as he takes on British military vet, Terry Brazier (+105). Bak is on a 5 fight win streak, beating some stiff competition during that period (Morgan Charrier, Paddy Pimblet, & Alexander Jacobsen to name a few). He's fought his entire career in Europe, but he's poised to break into the mainstream and stake his claim with American-based Bellator.

Bak carries a grinding pace, and uses his thick stature to out muscle his competition as the fight wears on. He's not the most graceful striker in the world, but he's got solid cardio, is physically strong, and has been in deep waters against stiff competition and has come out on top. He's biggest strength is most likely his will to win, and desire to overcome.

Bak's opponent, Terry Brazier, is no stranger to the European MMA circuit, compiling an 11-2 record over the last 4+ years of fighting pro. Talk about a grinder. Brazier does not possess elite level skills, but what he lacks in raw talent he makes up for in physical and mental toughness. He pushes an incredible pace against the cage and on the mat, but he doesn't carry this same pace over to his striking game. On the feet, Brazier has an awkward, hunched over, type of boxing game. His hands aren't quick, he doesn't throw many kicks, and he's often caught flat-footed during striking exchanges. We really weren't very impressed by his skillset when watching tape on him. His best weapons by far are his mental toughness, the pace he carriers in the clinch and on the ground, and his ability to win scrambles. He often wins very close decisions due to his ability to win position battles that start out 50/50. This looks good in the eyes of the judges, especially if there is little striking occurring in the round.

As you can probably surmise, we like Bak in this spot at a very reasonable -125. We have him projected closer to a -160 favorite, so we are getting some value here, but this is in no way a "layup" for Bak. This fight will most likely go to a decision, and this is good for Bak, as his cardio is superior to Brazier's. Brazier is by no means a "walk in the park". His mental toughness is a big wildcard in this fight. He's openly battled with PTSD after his stint in the British Army, learning how to deal with it during his adult life, and finding that the sport of MMA was a therapeutic reprieve that quelled his demons.

Regardless of Brazier's grittiness and toughness, it will not be enough for him to overcome the gap in skills and cardio that Bak possesses. If this fight stays on the feet, then the 1st round will be a closely contested back and forth, with Brazier not looking all that bad, but as he starts to tire, his footwork becomes stagnant and his striking gets sloppy. Bak will win the striking exchanges in rounds 2 & 3 for a 29-28 victory.

If this fight turns into a clinch-orgy, or gets fully to the mat, then Bak will be too strong for Brazier to positionally control on the ground like he has done with so many of his other opponents. This most likely won't be the most visually appealing MMA fight you've seen all year, but the grinding nature of the match will keep it competitive, and superior cardio will prove to be the deciding factor. Bak's more polished skillset, physical prowess, and legit cardio will carry him to standing in the center of his cage with his and raised after 15:00 minutes.

Bak / Decision / Unanimous

BET: Bak (-125) 3.25 units

We are also on a small parlay as well: Bak/Edwards/Page (+144) 2 units

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