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BELLATOR 109: Shlemenko vs. Marshall

November 22, 2013

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TV: Prelims start at 7pm EST on spike.com and the main card starts at 9pm EST on SpikeTV

This Friday, Bellator caps off their 9th season with an event at the Sands Casino from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The main event features middleweight champ Alexander Shlemenko against Doug "The Rhino" Marshall. The co-main event will showcase two young talented fighters in Alexander Sarnavskiy and Will Brooks, for the lightweight tournament final. Rick Hawn faces off against Ron Keslar and UFC vet Terry Etim makes his Bellator debut as he takes on Patrick Cenoble. I will break down the fights on the main card and give you my predictions and best bets.



Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor


Terry Etim (15-5) vs. Patrick Cenoble (9-2-1)


Terry Etim makes his bellator debut on Friday, coming off two straight losses in the UFC, Etim was subsequently released after a unanimous decision loss to Rene Forte. In 11 fights with the UFC, the British fighter had a mediocre 6-5 record. As for Patrick Cenoble, he debuted in Bellator 94 and fought to a draw with Tony Fryklund. Both of these fighters are really tall for 155ers and I think both can make some noise in the Bellator lightweight division. While Cenoble is a young and upcomer, Etim's UFC experience speaks for itself, there aren't many fighters in Bellator who have over 10 fights with the UFC. I believe Etim has more ways to win this fight and expect him try and take Cenoble down early. The oddsmakers have Etim at -450 and Cenoble at +330, I think the oddsmakers set this line so high because of Etim's UFC experience, while Cenoble is still relatively green. The line is set at a 1.5 rounds and I think the two can make this a pretty competitive fight, considering that I could would lean towards an Etim victory via decision.

Over 1.5 Rounds @ - 140


Rick Hawn (17-2) vs Ron Keslar (11-3)

 In the season 9 welterweight tournament final we have the Bellator veteran Rick Hawn facing off against durable Ron Keslar. Since losing two straight fights in Strikeforce, Ron Keslar has amassed six straight wins and now aims for a seventh. Two weeks ago Bellator released their welterweight champ, Ben Askren, essentially making this bout for the belt. Since joining Bellator in 2010, Rick Hawn has gone 9-2 and has won three straight, Hawn hasn't lost since fighting Michael Chandler for the lightweight title earlier this year. After that fight Hawn returned back to welterweight and this will be his fifth fight in the year 2013. Stylistically, this is a striker versus grappler matchup, Hawn is more experienced and his fights are usually barn-burners, while Keslar has shown to be quite durable, I think Hawn packs a powerful punch and if he could get his hands on Keslar early it might be a quick one. The oddsmakers have Hawn at -450 and Keslar at +330, seems about right, I like Hawn in this one and would lean towards a decision, although I could see Hawn via KO/TKO.

Over 2.5 Rounds @ - 160


Alexander Sarnavskiy (25-1) vs. Will Brooks (12-1)

As far as lines go, this is the closest one you'll find on the card. This is the fight i'm looking forward to watching the most and i'll go ahead and dub it the peoples main event. It is for the Bellator season 9 lightweight tournament final and it features two of Bellator's best lightweights. Sarnavskiy has looked impressive in Bellator thus far, coming off 5 straight victories, 4 of them with Bellator, reaching the finals after beating UFC vet Marcus Davis and than submitting Ricardo Tirloni in the first round. Will Brooks' path involved two unanimous decisions over John Alessio and Saad Awad, the fight with Saad Awad was a rematch as Awad KO'd Brooks in the first round at Bellator 91. Both of these guys are pretty tall and rangy for lightweights and match up really well. The oddsmakers have Sarnavskiy as the favorite at -200 and Will Brooks at +170, I would say the line is about right as Sarnavskiy has almost double the experience of Brooks. I predict Sarnavskiy wins via unanimous decision but I won't rule out that Will Brooks has a chance, Brooks has been quite a surprise in Bellator and this could be his time to shine. 

Sarnavskiy -200 or Over 2.5 Rounds @ -140


Alexander Shlemenko (48-7) vs. Doug Marshall (18-6)

In the main event of the evening, we have the Bellator middleweight champ facing off against the hard hitting Doug "The Rhino" Marshall. Shlemenko has fought 10 times for Bellator with only one loss against Hector Lombard in 2010, having gone unbeaten since than, Shlemenko won the Bellator middleweight title in a KO victory over Maiguel Falcao and has defended it once in a unanimous decision over Brett Cooper. As for Marshall, he's a WEC vet and hasn't lost since joining Bellator last year, going 4-0. The hard hitting Marshall defintely has a punchers chance in this fight but Shlemenko is very hard to finish, even Lombard couldn't finish him. This might be a big night for Russian fighters and I see Shlemenko winning this fight. The longer the fight goes the better the chances are for Shlemenko, expect Marshall to come out slinging leather but if he can't get his hands on Shlemenko early. I foresee Shlemenko to finish off Marshall in the later rounds.

Shlemenko - 320

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