Bellator 80 Preview: Joe Warren looks to snap a two fight losing streak

The seventh season of the Bellator Fighting Championships continues tonight from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida for Bellator 80.

The fight card will begin with the preliminary card on at 6 p.m. ET with six fights and the main card will begin at 8 p.m. ET on MTV2 and in commercial free high definition on EPIX HD with four fights.

Tonight’s card will be headlined by a bantamweight bout as former featherweight champion Joe Warren looks to snap a two fight losing streak against Owen Evinger.

Also, the main card will feature two tournament semifinal bouts, with the action being the heavyweight and featherweight tournaments.

Joe Warren (7-3) vs. Owen Evinger (7-3)

Both fighters will be looking to snap a two fight losing streak and Warren will be looking for his first win since April of last year. He is the former Bellator featherweight champion, but decided to move down to the bantamweight division after losing his title to Pat Curran earlier this year.

Evinger has not won a fight in over a year and has lost two of his last three after starting his career with six straight victories. This will be the third time that he has stepped into the Bellator cage and this is the biggest fight of his career. All three of his losses are by submission and he knows that he will have to keep the fight standing against Warren.

Warren is an overwhelming favorite tonight (-1155) and not many people believe that Evinger has a chance to win. Warren is known for his wrestling, but his chin has proven to be his weakness. He has been knocked out in his last two fights and Evinger will look to stop the takedown and strike with the former champion. If Evinger can stop the takedowns and stay off his back, he could pull off the upset.

Prediction: Joe Warren by decision

Vinicius Queiroz (6-2) vs. Alexander Volkov (17-3)

This will be the second semifinal bout in the heavyweight tournament and the winner of this fight will advance to the final to take on Rich Hale, who defeated Thiago Santos last week in the other semifinal fight.

Queiroz is a former UFC fighter that only had one fight with the company, which he was defeated by Rob Broughton at UFC 120. He was cut from the UFC after the fight because he tested positive for a steroid. He made his Bellator debut in the quarterfinals of the tournament and scored the first submission victory of his career against Mark Holata.

Just like Quieroz, Volkov made his debut in the quarterfinals of this tournament and he dominated former Strikeforce fighter Brett Rogers to score a unanimous decision victory. It was his eight straight win and six of those wins have come by knockout.

Both of these fighters are tall (6’7) and Quieroz will have the weight advantage in the fight. Queiroz will likely look to take the fight to the ground, where Volkov will want to stand with him. Volkov is the favorite in the fight on the betting odds (-190) and look for him to out strike his opponent to get the victory.

Prediction: Alexander Volkov via TKO in Round 2

Wagnney Fabiano (15-2) vs. Rad Martinez (13-2)

This will be the second semifinal bout in the featherweight tournament and the winner of this fight will advance to the final to take on Shahbulat Shamhalaev, who defeated Mike Richman last week in the other semifinal fight.

Both fighters have nearly the same amount of professional fights, but Fabiano has faced the tougher competition. He was the IFL featherweight champion and is a veteran of the WEC. He made is Bellator debut in the quarterfinals of this tournament, which was his first fight in nearly two years. In the quarterfinals, he defeated Akop Stepanyan bu submission and this was his eighth career victory by submission.

Martinez became a well known name last year when ESPN did a story on him about his personal life and how he takes care of his father. Following the story, he was signed by Bellator and his fighting has done the talking for him. He has won four straight fights and three of them have come in Bellator. In the quarterfinals, he had a battle with Nazareno Malegarie and won by unanimous decision.

Both fighters don’t mind taking the action to the ground, but Fabiano is more dangerous on the ground with his submissions. Martinez will need to stay away from going to the mat with Fabiano because of the submissions. He has shown improvements in his striking in recent fights and likes to use his wrestling to set up his ground strikes.

Prediction: Wagnney Fabiano by submission in Round 2

Brett Cooper (16-7) vs. Darryl Cobb (5-5)

This will be the first fight on the main card and Cooper is a big favorite (-800) in this fight. Cooper is currently on a three fight winning streak and his only lost in his last six fights is against Alexander Shlemenko, which he lost by decision at Bellator 44. He is a finisher as he was won 11 of his fights by knockout.

After starting his career 5-1, Cobb has lost four straight, with one of those losses coming in Bellator. During his losing streak, all four losses have come by submission and three of them have taken place in the first round.

During the weigh-in’s yesterday, Cobb said he was going to bring fireworks to the fight and Cooper is known as a fighter that likes to stand with his opponent. Cobb has never been knocked out in his career, but that may end up happening tonight in South Florida.

Prediction: Brett Cooper by TKO in Round 1