Bellator 78 Preview: Welterweight tournament semifinals

The seventh season of the Bellator Fighting Championships continues tonight with Bellator 78, which will take place from the Nutter Center at Wright State University in Ohio.

Tonight’s card will begin with the preliminary card at 6 p.m. ET on, which will be headlined by Bellator women’s 115 pound champion Zoila Gurgel returning to the cage for the first time since March of last year when she takes on Casey Noland in a 125 pound fight.

Then, the main card will begin at 8 p.m. ET on MTV2 and in commercial free high definition on EPIX2 with the card featuring the semifinals in this seasons welterweight tournament.

Michail Tsarev (24-2) vs. Lyman Good (13-2)

This will be the main event of the fight card as Good will look to make it to the tournament final for the second time in his Bellator career. He made it to the final in the inaugural season, which he won that tournament and became the first Bellator welterweight champion. Since losing the title to Ben Askren, he has won three of his last four fights and defeated Jim Wallhead in the quarterfinals in this seasons tournament.

Tsarev made his Bellator debut in the quarterfinal round of this tournament and scored a second round submission victory over Tim Welch. It was his 19 career win by decision and he has won by submission in nine of his last eleven fight.

This will be a classic matchup of a striker (Good) versus a grappler (Tsarev) tonight. Tsarev will want to take the fight to the ground and Good will look to keep the fight standing. Tsarev has never been knocked out in his career, with both of his losses coming by submission. On the other hand, Good has never been submitted and his two career losses are by decision. If Tsarev is unable to get the fight to the ground, he could end up being knocked out for the first time in his career.

Prediction: Lyman Good by TKO in second round

Andrey Koreshkov (11-0) vs. Marius Zaromskis (19-6)

Zaromskis is the former DREAM welterweight champion and is currently on a six fight winning streak, with three of those wins coming in Bellator. His last two wins have come by decision and he defeated Nordine Taleb in the quarterfinals of this tournament. He has had some highlight knockouts in his career and he will look for another one tonight against his opponent.

This will be the fourth time that Koreshkov steps into the Bellator cage and he has won by knockout in two of his three fights in Bellator. He defeated Jordan Smith by decision in the quarterfinals and it was the first time he had gone to a decision in his career.

The key for Koreshkov in this fight is to get on the inside of Zaromskis and not allow his opponent to stay on the outside and out strike him. Zaromskis is a dangerous striker, whether it is with his hands or feet. However, Zaromskis has shown in the past that is chin can be a weakness and the Russian fighter may be able to show that again tonight.

Prediction: Andrey Koreshkov by TKO in third round

Brian Rogers (9-4) vs. Dominique Steele (6-2)

Rogers is a two time Bellator tournament veteran and has won two of his three fights in Bellator. He is known for his knockout ability, which he holds eight career victories by knockout and both of his Bellator wins have come in that fashion.

Steele will be making his Bellator debut tonight and is known for his wrestling base. After losing his pro debut, he rolled off six straight victories before losing a unanimous decision to former UFC fighter David Branch earlier this year.

Both of these fighters are from Ohio and will look to put on a good show for the fans in attendance. Steele will have to take the fight to the ground if he wants to win this fight. A winning formula for him is to not stand with Rogers. If Rogers can win tonight, he could end up back in the Bellator middleweight tournament in 2013.

Prediction: Brian Rogers by TKO in first round

Daniel Straus (20-4) vs. Alvin Robinson (12-6)

This will be Straus first time back in the Bellator cage since winning the season six featherweight tournament earlier this year. He is currently waiting for a title shot and will be looking for his seventh victory inside the Bellator cage. Five of his six victories in Bellator have come by decision and 13 of his career victories are by decision.

Robinson is a former UFC fighter and will be making his Bellator debut tonight. He has won three of his last four fights with all three wins coming by submission. In total, eleven of his career victories have come by submission and has only gone to a decision once in his career.

Straus should be able to win this fight fairly easily as he is better than Robinson in all aspects of mixed martial arts. Straus has shown his wrestling skills in the past and continues to show improvements in his striking. Robinson will have to attempt to use his striking to set up a takedown to have a chance of winning tonight.

Prediction: Daniel Straus by unanimous decision