Bellator 75 Preview: Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinals

The seventh season of the Bellator Fighting Championships will continue tomorrow night with the quarterfinals of this seasons heavyweight tournament.

The heavyweight title is current vacant, with the recent retirement of Cole Konrad and Bellator has not announced any plans on how the new champion will be crowned.

The winner of this tournament could end up being the champion, which the tournament included former tournament winner Eric Prindle and former Strikeforce title contender Brett Rogers.

The main card will start off tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET on MTV2 and in commercial free high definition on EPIX2. The four live fights on the main card will be the quarterfinal bouts in the tournament, with the preliminary card having six fights on

Eric Prindle (9-2) vs. Thiago Santos (10-1)

This is a rematch of the season five heavyweight tournament final, which was declared a no contest when Santos landed an illegal groin shot and Prindle was unable to continue. The fight was then rescheduled for earlier this year, but Santos was unable to make weight and Prindle was declared the season five tournament winner.

With being declared the tournament winner, Prindle received a title shot against Konrad and was defeated in 60 seconds by a kimura submission. It was his second career defeat, which both are by submission and the first time that he had been defeated since his pro debut in 2008.

With his weight issues apparently behind him, Santos will look to prove that he is the better heavyweight. Out of his 10 victories, 5 of them are by submission and also has two wins by knockout.

During their first fight, which only last 84 seconds, Santos was able to take Prindle down on two occasions before the illegal groin shot. The weakness of Prindle is his ground game and Santos will likely attempt to put him on his back and work his ground attack. Prindle has to keep this fight standing and stay away from the ground and submission attempts of Santos if he wants to move on to the semifinals of the tournament.

Mike Wessel (12-4) vs. Rich Hale (19-4-1)

This marks the heavyweight debut of Hale, who is moving up from the light heavyweight division after making light heavyweight was not in his best health interest. Hale has won four of his five fights in Bellator and his last two wins are by knockout in the first minute of the fight.

Wessel is a former UFC fighter, who made his Bellator debut during the Summer Series with a split decision victory over Ryan Martinez. He has also won four of his last five fights and plans on going in and defeating Hale by knockout.

Based on what both fighters are saying and because of their history, look for them to stand in the middle of the cage and start throwing bombs. Both guys have a combined 15 knockouts in 31 career wins and 11 of those knockout victories have come in the first round. Wessel will be the bigger fighter in terms of weight, but Hale will have a reach advantage. If the fight becomes a slug fest, the advantage goes to Hale, but don’t be surprised if Wessel tries to use his weight to take the fight to the ground.

Vinivius Queiroz (5-2) vs. Mark Holata (12-3)

This is the second time that Holata has been in a Bellator heavyweight tournament as he was a quarter finalist in the season five tournament. He was defeated in the quarterfinals against Ron Sparks by knockout. He returned to Bellator earlier this year and defeated Abe Wagner by submission and earned a spot in this tournament.

Queiroz will be making his Bellator debut in this fight and this will be in first fight in nearly two years. His last fight came at UFC 120 against Rob Broughton, which he was defeated by submission in the third round. After the fight, it was announced that he had tested positive for steroids and was released by the UFC.

Holata has finished his opponents with submission and TKO’s, where Queiroz has knocked out all of his opponents in his five career victories. With being away from the sport for two years, cage rust could be an issue in this fight. Holata will likely look to take the fight to the ground, where his opponent will want to keep the fight standing.

Brett Rogers (12-4) vs. Alexander Volkov (16-3)

This will be the first fight on the main card tomorrow night and will be the second time that Rogers has stepped inside the Bellator cage. He made his Bellator debut earlier this year and it was his first win since October of 2010. He has promised this week that fans can expect to see the old Brett Rogers in this fight.

Volkov will be making his Bellator and United States debut in this fight and 13 of his career victories have come by knockout. He is currently on a seven fight winning streak, with six of the victories coming by TKO and four of them in the first round.

This fight would appear to be a classic striker against striker match, with both fighters going into the fight looking for a knockout. Rogers will have a size advantage and make look to use his size if the fight is not going well for him on the feet. This will be the biggest fight in Volkov’s career and has not faced an opponent like Rogers in the past.