Bellator 76 Preview: Eddie Alvarez’s last fight in Bellator?

The seventh season of the Bellator Fighting Championships will continue tonight from Caesars Windsor in Windsor, Ontario, Canada with Bellator 76.

The action will kick off with the preliminary card at 6 p.m. ET on and the main card will begin at 8 p.m. ET on MTV2 and in commercial free high definition on EPIX2.

Tonight’s event will potentially be the last fight for former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez in Bellator and will feature the start of this seasons featherweight tournament.

Eddie Alvarez (23-3) vs. Patricky Pitbull (10-3)

This is a matchup that Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney has been looking to have for awhile now and nearly happened last year.

This is the last fight on Alvarez’s contract and it’s expected that this will be the last time that he steps in a Bellator cage. After losing the Bellator title last year, he returned in April and defeated DREAM lightweight champion Shinya Aoki by TKO in the first round, which was a rematch from a 208 bout which Aoki won by submission in the first round.

Pitbull entered Bellator during during four and was immediately entered into the lightweight tournament where he advanced to the final. Since advancing to the final of that tournament, he has lost two of three and lost in the quarterfinal round of the season six lightweight tournament to Lloyd Woodard.

This is probably the biggest fight that Bellator will have during this season and look this fight to not last all three round. Alvarez has only gone the distance in Bellator once in nine fights and Pitbull has only gone the distance once in four fights. Both fighters like to throw big shots and one of them will get caught and the referee will come in to stop the fight.

Prediction: Eddie Alvarez by TKO in second round

Nazareno Malegarie (22-2) vs. Rad Martinez (12-2)

This will be the first Bellator tournament for Rad Martinez, who became a name last year after ESPN did a piece on him about how he takes care of his father. After the piece came out, Bellator immediately signed him and he has won two fights in the organization to earn a spot in the tournament. Six of his career victories are by knockout and his last two wins have come by knockout.

On the other side, this is the third tournament for Malegarie and was a semifinalist in the summer series featherweight tournament, where he was defeated by Marlon Sandro. He is currently on a two fight winning streak, with both victories coming by knockout.

Martinez’s strength is his wrestling, where Malegarie is known for his grappling and submission skills. This fight will come down to which fighter can impose there strength and grind out a victory.

Prediction: Nazareno Malegarie by decision

Akop Stepanyan (12-3) vs. Wagnney Fabiano (14-3)

This will be the Bellator debut for both fighter and Stepanyan is currently on a 12 fight winning streak after starting his career with 3 straight losses. He has finished his opponent in the first round on five occasions and 8 of his victories are either by knockout or submission.

Fabiano is a former WEC fighter that has not had a fight since WEC 52 in 2010. After his lost at WEC 52 to Joseph Benavidez, he was cut by Zuffa. He did try out for “The Ultimate Fighter 14,” but he was not selected for the show. Half of his victories are by submission, but his last three wins have come by decision.

One of the biggest questions of this fight is will Fabiano have cage rust with this being this first fight in nearly two years. Stepanyan is a Russian fighter, which Russian fighters have had success in Bellator during this season. Fabiano will look to take this fight to the ground and Stepanyan will look to stand and strike with the Brazilian.

Prediction: Wagnney Fabiano by decision

Jeremy Spoon (12-1) vs. Mike Richman (12-1)

This is the second tournament for Spoon, who was a quarter finalist in the season six tournament and lost to Daniel Straus at Bellator 60. That was his first lost in his career and eight of his career victories are by submission.

Richman made his Bellator debut earlier this year against Chris Horodecki and dominated the fight. He finished the fight in less than 90 seconds with a knockout and it was his 4 career victory by knockout. He is currently on a three fight winning streak and 10 of his victories have come in the first round.

Spoon will look to use his wrestling to control the fight and Richmond will look to keep the fight standing. He will want to use his power to finish the fight in the first round. Since most of his fights have only gone one round, Spoon will likely look to get the fight to the later rounds and test the cardio of his opponent.

Prediction: Mike Richmond via TKO in first round

Cody Bollinger (12-2,1 NC) vs. Shahbulat Shamhalaev (9-1-1)

This is the Bellator debut for both fighters and Shamhalaev is another Russian fighter that Bellator has recently signed. His only career defeat came against UFC prospect Khabib Nurmagomedov and is 7-0-1 in his last eight fights.

Bollinger is 5-0, 1NC in his last 6 fights and has 8 stoppage victories in his career. He is a former wrestler and tends to use this in his fights.

Bollinger will look to take the fight to the ground and Shamhalaev will look to keep the fight standing and look for a knockout victory.

Prediction: Shahbulat Shamhalaev via TKO in first round