Bellator London tips: Best bets for MVP v Melillo
Guy Giles' tips for Saturday night at the SSE Arena Wembley cover all three fights on the main card, headlined by Michael 'Venom' Page v Giovanni Melillo.
MICHAEL PAGE V GIOVANNI MELILLO
Page was scheduled to fight Derek Anderson on this card, but the American pulled out due to injury on 12 November.
Up steps the 34-year-old Melillo, who gets the biggest opportunity of his career having amassed a record of 13-4-0, a run that has included stints in Cage Warriors and ACB.
The late-notice change of opponent will not faze ‘MVP’, who rebounded from his first career loss against Douglas Lima by dismantling Richard Kiely with a flying knee in September.
The charismatic Londoner will be fighting in his hometown for the third time under the Bellator banner, with both previous bouts ending in KO victories.
Saturday is likely to follow the same pattern – Melillo has gone 3-3 over his last six fights, with all three losses coming by knockout.
The Italian is unlikely to take the fight to the ground, where Page is vulnerable, having registered just two previous submission victories.
MVP’s unorthodox style causes problems for even the best of fighters and, in front of a boisterous London crowd, Melillo’s Bellator debut is likely to be a short one.
Page to win
FABIAN EDWARDS V MIKE SHIPMAN
Edwards is one of the most exciting prospects in Bellator’s middleweight division but faces a real test of those credentials on Saturday.
The Birmingham native, younger brother of UFC welterweight Leon Edwards, is unbeaten in the professional ranks, with six of his eight wins coming by KO or submission.
Shipman suffered just the second loss of his career last time out against Costello van Steenis and will be looking to recover in front of his hometown crowd.
The former BAMMA middleweight champion has never been the distance in 15 career fights and, against such a dangerous opponent, that is not likely to change on Saturday.
Both fighters are comfortable on the feet and on the ground, with 11 KOs and eight submissions between them, so a finish could come from anywhere.
The lack of quality among Edwards’ past opponents does concern, but the southpaw’s power and athleticism are hard to ignore.
Expect him to continue his charge towards van Steenis and the rest of the middleweight elite.
Edwards to win
TERRY BRAZIER V SOREN BAK
Former Cage Warriors lightweight champion Bak may have expected an easy tune-up fight for his Bellator debut, but Brazier is certainly not that.
The Windsor-based lightweight has a career record of 11-2, including four KOs and three submissions, and will carry a significant size advantage into the fight having competed at a catchweight of 160lbs last time out.
That is unlikely to worry Denmark’s Bak, known as ‘The True Viking’, but Brazier’s power will certainly play a part on Saturday.
Bak is a submission specialist who has gone 12-1 in his career so far, with exactly half of those wins coming on the ground.
His five-fight stint in Cage Warriors, in which he won the belt and defended it once, included impressive wins over Paddy Pimblett and former Bellator fighter Martin Stapleton.
Brazier is no slouch on the mats, as his three submission wins suggest, so Bak will not have it all his own way if he does manage to take the fight to the ground.
Bak’s grappling pedigree is likely to be the deciding factor, though, and a third consecutive decision win for the Dane looks a good bet.
Bak to win
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