On Friday, September 14th, Bellator 245 will be live from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, with an eight fight card featuring a main event rematch of Phil Davis taking on Lyoto Machida.
Also appearing on the card are Cat Zingano in her Bellator debut, Ed Ruth, former champ Rafael Carvalho, Tyrell Fortune and Leslie Smith.
Bellator betting sites have released odds for the entire Bellator 245 card. Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine these odds, identify any potential value, and tap out these predictions.
The preliminary card for Bellator 245 is scheduled to start at 8:15PM ET and consists of four bouts with a featured fight of Rafael Carvalho taking on Alex Polizzi.
Amanda Bell vs Leslie Smith
Amanda Bell (+220)
Leslie Smith (-260)
This fight was added to the Bellator 245 lineup last week.
Amanda Bell comes into this fight as a large underdog. She got her MMA start in Invicta FC and joined Bellator in 2017. Since then, she’s gone 3-2 in Bellator having won her last fight at Bellator 233 in November 2019. She defeated Janay Harding via 3rd round TKO.
Six of her seven pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of TKO/KO. She’s 1-2 when going the distance.
Leslie Smith joined Bellator last year after having competed in the UFC for five years. She went 4-3 with the UFC and is 1-1 with Bellator. Smith is 3-1 in her last four fights, but did drop her Bellator bout last November via unanimous decision.
5 of her 11 pro wins have come via TKO/KO. Smith is 6-6-1 when going the distance.
This fight is set up for Smith to succeed as Bellator needs more competitors in their women’s featherweight division. With that said, I believe Leslie will get the win in this contest.
However, I’m not sure what the method of victory will be. Smith has gone the distance in 13 of her 20 pro fights, but Bell has gone the distance just twice. Furthermore, Bell has been stopped five times in her career.
Either way, take Smith to win this contest and get back on track within the division.
Amanda Bell vs Leslie Smith –Smith (-260)
Keith Lee vs Vinicius Zani
Keith Lee (-260)
Vinicius Zani (+220)
This fight was originally scheduled to be Dominic Mazzotta versus Keith Lee, but Mazzotta was removed from the card. Vinicius Zani is stepping up on short notice to take the bout at a catchweigth of 140 pounds.
Zani made his Bellator debut in February, but lost to Josh Hill via unanimous decision. It was his second loss in a row. Those defeats snapped a four fight winning streak that Zani had across three different promotions.
Seven of his 11 pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of TKO/KO. Zani is 4-2 when going to a decision.
Like his opponent, Keith Lee also made his Bellator debut in February. However, unlike Zani, Lee won his fight via unanimous decisions. Lee enters this weekend’s catchweight contest on a three fight win streak across three different promotions.
Four of his six pro wins have come via stoppage with three by way of TKO/KO. He’s 2-3 when going the distance.
From what I have seen of both fighters, I think Lee has more potential. Zani is 32 years old and has reached his ceiling, whereas Lee is just 23 years old and still evolving. The Xtreme Couture fighter has shown me more overall talent than Zani ever has.
I’m taking Lee to win this fight most likely via unanimous decision. Combined, these two men have gone the distance in eight of their last 11 total bouts.
Keith Lee vs Vinicius Zani –Lee (-260)
Tyrell Fortune vs Jack May
Tyrell Fortune (-400)
Jack May (+325)
Jack May is the perfect example of a journeyman fighter having competed in a dozen different promotions during his nine year pro career. He last fought in May 2019 for LXF and won via unanimous decision. May has also competed in PFL, Titan FC and the UFC where he went 0-2.
May’s Bellator debut came in January 2017 when he defeated Dave Cryer via 1st round TKO. He’s making his first fight for the promotion since then and is a large underdog against Fortune.
Eight of his 11 pro wins have come via TKO/KO. May is 3-0 when going the distance.
Fortune started off his career at 8-0 and was one of Bellator’s top prospects. Unfortunately, the former DII National Champion wrestler suffered the first loss of his career in February via KO in the 1st round against Timothy Johnson.
Six of his eight pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of TKO/KO. He’s 2-0 when going the distance.
Jack May is a step down from Timothy Johnson and I see this bout as an attempt by Bellator to get a former unbeaten prospect back on the winning track and regain some of that mojo he lost.
Not only does Fortune have the striking skills and power to beat May, but he’s clearly the better grappler between the two and should have plenty of success with scoring takedowns.
This fight will either end with Fortune knocking out May on their feet or scoring the TKO via ground and pound on the mat.
Tyrell Fortune vs Jack May –Fortune (-400)
Rafael Carvalho vs Alex Polizzi
Rafael Carvalho (-145)
Alex Polizzi (+125)
In the featured bout of the prelims, we have a light heavyweight showdown between former champs as Rafael Carvalho takes on the undefeated Alex Polizzi.
Polizzi is the former LFA light heavyweight champ having never lost the title, but deciding to head to Bellator instead of staying in the LFA. He’s won all six of his pro fights via stoppage with an equal split of victories among TKO/KOs and submissions.
Carvalho is the former Bellator middleweight champion having defending his belt three times before losing it to Gegar Mousasi in 2018. Carvalho is 1-3 in his last four fights, which is the worst stretch of his pro career.
He last fought 11 months ago and lost via 2nd round submission to Vadim Nemkov at Bellator 230. That was Carvalho’s debut in the light heavyweight division and he lost to a fighter who just upset Ryan Bader two weeks ago to capture the light heavyweight championship.
As for his fight this week against Polizzi, Carvalho had the following comments about his opponent:
“He’s very explosive. He comes from a wrestling background, so he has a sharp grappling game. He’s undefeated and a former LFA champ. He’s not undefeated by accident. He has good skills. I expect a difficult fight, as always. I don’t get to face any easy opponents. I only visualize my arm being raised at the end. I can’t say if it will be by KO, submission, or by decision. I’ll fight. I’ll look to exploit any openings he gives me. I think his weak spot could be his striking, which tends to be difficult for most grapplers. Look for me to score another victory.”
12 of Carvalho’s 16 wins have come via TKO/KO. He’s 4-1 when going the distance. Carvalho will have both the height and reach advantage in this bout.
This is a close fight with MMA betting sites and pundits. I am leaning towards Carvalho in this contest as he has the experience edge, is the bigger fighter, and is the better striker.
I’m taking Carvalho to win this fight via decision.
Rafael Carvalho vs Alex Polizzi –Carvalho (-145)
Bellator 245 Main Card
The four fight main card for Bellator 245 is set to begin at 10:15PM ET and will air on both Paramount and DAZN.
Raymond Daniels vs Peter Stanonik
Raymond Daniels (-265)
Peter Stanonik (+225)
Stanonik is making his Bellator debut this week and will do so on the main card of Bellator 245. He’s riding into town on a two fight losing streak and hasn’t competed in two years. All four of his pro wins are via TKO/KO and he’s 0-2 when going the distance.
Since returning to MMA last year, Daniels is 2-0 with both wins coming via TKO/KO. He last fought in January and won via 1st round TKO over Jason King. Yet, it’s his highlight reel knockout over Wilker Barros last year that people still talk about.
Bellator is hand feeding Daniels this fight against someone who’s also a pure striker, but hasn’t competed in two years. The successful kickboxer, with a pro record of 35-3, has potential to succeed with these baby steps that Bellator is taking.
You can’t ever claim that Bellator throws their prospects into the fire. They build them up and then hope the prospects will shine. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
For this contest, I expect it to work. Daniels will win via TKO/KO and his hype train will continue.
Raymond Daniels vs Peter Stanonik –Daniels (-265)
Ed Ruth vs Taylor Johnson
Ed Ruth (-275)
Taylor Johnson (+235)
Taylor Johnson will make his Bellator debut in a tough matchup against the veteran grappler Ed Ruth. Johnson spent most of his career in the LFA where he went 4-0. However, things didn’t turn out well for Johnson in his DWCS fight 13 months ago where he lost via 1st round submission to Andrew Muniz.
All five of Johnson’s wins have come via TKO/KO. He’s never made it past the halfway mark of a fight with his longest bout going just 1:34 into the second round.
Ed Ruth is looking to get back on track and wash the taste of losing out of his mouth when he suffered a unanimous decision defeat to Yaroslav Amosov in February. That loss snapped a two fight win streak.
Ruth has spent his entire pro career in Bellator where he’s scored six wins via TKO/KO and is 2-1 when going to a decision. The former collegiate wrestling standout is just 29 years old and still has time to climb back up the rankings.
Just like with the Fortune vs May fight, this contest features a grappler vs striker matchup as well. And just like I predicted in the Fortune fight, I believe the grappler (Ruth) will win this contest.
Ruth can stand and strike with Johnson, but is the better overall athlete and has superior wrestling skills. If there’s any concern in the standup battle, Ruth can just take Johnson down to the mat and either find the stoppage or remain in control and cruise to a unanimous decision win.
In all honestly, this fight should’ve been on the prelims and the Carvalho vs Polizzi bout should’ve been on the main card.
Ed Ruth vs Taylor Johnson –Ruth (-275)
Cat Zingano vs Gabby Holloway
Cat Zingano (-650)
Gabby Holloway (+475)
This co-main event bout is all about the Bellator debut of former UFC bantamweight contender Cat Zingano. Not only is she still a talented fighter, but she’s the largest betting favorite for the entire card and quite possibly the entire fight weekend.
Zingano started off her career at 9-0 and opened up her octagon tenure with wins over Miesha Tate and the GOAT Amanda Nunes in 2014. In fact, that was the last loss of Nunes’ career.
Unfortunately, Zingano ran into Ronda Rousey in her next fight and lost in 14 seconds via submission. She then dropped two more consecutive bouts via decision.
Zingano was able to snap the three fight losing streak with a win over Marion Reneau, but then loss to Megan Anderson via TKO. However, it was due to an eye injury where Anderson’s toe went right into Zingano’s eye. Eventually, she parted from the UFC and went to Bellator.
Zingano hasn’t fought since December 2018, but has healed from the eye injury. Eight of her 10 pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of TKO/KO. She’s 2-2 when going the distance.
Zingano is very motivated for a new beginning in Bellator:
“I get to set brand new goals and do it on a whole new fresh blank slate. I get to start over, I get to reinvent, I get to go back to my roots if I want, too. I get to get excited and nervous for the new possibilities, and that makes my heart happy! These extra ten pounds will be just about as lovely as the fact I now get sponsors. I’m grateful for where I’ve come from and definitely look forward to where I’m going. I want to grow and create an even stronger Bellator. I’m committed to it. A motivated Cat is a dangerous Cat.”
Gabby Holloway debuted in Bellator five years ago and lost to Julia Budd. She has a 1-2 record with Bellator having won her last fight three years ago via 2nd round TKO. Eight of her 11 pro fights have gone the distance. Holloway is 3-5 in those bouts.
Zingano hasn’t fought in 21 months, but Holloway hasn’t fought in 30 months. It’s a bit crazy to think that both women have been out of the cage for so long.
With that said, this is a great warm up fight for Zingano. Bellator did her a favor by giving her an easy opponent that she can score the stoppage victory against. There’s absolutely no reason to think Zingano will lose.
Cat Zingano vs Gabby Holloway –Zingano (-650)
Phil Davis vs Lyoto Machida
Phil Davis (-330)
Lyoto Machida (+270)
Without rewriting the Davis vs Machida main event preview from our Bellator 245 hub page, let’s just focus on why I believe Davis will win this fight.
Davis is seven years younger than Machida, and at this stage of their respective careers, I believe the age and athletic differences will be on display.
Furthermore, Davis will have a few inch height and reach advantage over Machida which will come into play when the fighters stand up and strike.
Machida has shown that he’s still highly competitive at the age of 42 as he’s gone 4-1 in his last five fights over the last 2 ½ years. He last competed 12 months ago and lost via split decision versus Gegard Mousasi.
Machida has resurrected his career in Bellator, but I just don’t see things continuing down this road any longer.
Davis will get this fight to the mat and control it. Eventually, he will do enough on the ground to score the unanimous decision win. It won’t be entertaining, but it will be effective.
Phil Davis vs Lyoto Machida –Davis (-330)
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed “King of the Blog” in his first year with the site. …