Bellator 17 Preview and Predictions: Can Eddie Alvarez Prove Bellator's Worth?

Randy JordanContributor IMay 2, 2010

Taking place May 6, 2010 in Boston Massachusetts, Bellator 17 seems to provide some interesting matchups.

To be honest before this year I didn’t know much about Bellator, but with the frequency with which they hold events, they let me get acquainted pretty fast. I can honestly say I am a bigger fan of Bellator than I am of Strikeforce based on that fact alone.

Let’s take a look at the Main Card.

Eddie Alvarez (19-2-0) vs. Josh Neer (27-9-1) Catch-weight Bout 160 lbs.

Roger Huerta (27-3-1-1 NC) vs. Pat Curran (10-3-0) Lightweight Bout

Toby Imada (24-13-0) vs. Carey Vanier (8-2-0) Lightweight Bout

Cole Konrad (2-0-0) vs. Patrick Bennett (1-0-0) Heavyweight Bout

Fight No. 1

Cole Konrad (2-0-0) vs. Patrick Bennett (1-0-0) Heavyweight Bout

Cole Konrad is a new-generation heavyweight, a big wrestler, who has to cut to 265 lbs. His trainer is none other than current UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar.

Konrad is also an Elite wrestler, winning Gold at the Pan American Championships in 2005. It was after that win when he decided to make his way into MMA. He made his MMA debut on January 23, 2010, defeating Gary “Golden Nozzle” Hamen with a Polar Bear Choke. (A modified Rear Naked Choke from half guard that Brock Lesnar had shown him.)

Look for Konrad to use his huge size advantage and his superior wrestling skills to win this match. Those attributes alone should win him the fight, as Konrad has massive advantages in those areas.

I’m not going to lie, Patrick Bennett has no chance here. This fight is the equivalent of feeding time at the bear exhibit in your local zoo, Bennett is that over-matched.

He is listed at 6'3" and a solid 235 lbs., but that’s breakfast for a guy like Konrad who is 6'5" and cuts weight to get to 265 lbs. His last fight listed on Sherdog was in 2009, making it almost nine months between his fights. (Although a lot of low-end shows aren’t listed, so he might not be that ring-rusted.)

In my opinion Bennett has too much to overcome to win this match. He is the less trained fighter, as Konrad trains with world-class wrestlers like Lesnar. Konrad also has the advantage in height/weight department, and has fought more recently than Bennett.

Breakdown: I think it’s no surprise who I have winning this fight. Cole Konrad seems to have too many advantages to lose this match. All in all that will be the deciding factor in this fight.

Winner: Cole Konrad – TKO (Rnd. Two)


Fight No. 2

Toby Imada (24-13-0) vs. Carey Vanier (8-2-0) Lightweight Bout

Toby Imada will look to get back to the finals for a rematch with current champion Eddie Alvarez. Imada fought his way to the finals last year only to lose to Alvarez for the Bellator Lightweight Title.

In his return to Bellator, Imada was originally scheduled to fight against Ferrid Kheder at Bellator 15, but an injury forced Kheder out of the bout. Instead, at Bellator 14 Imada fought James Krause and won via armbar submission. The submission moved him into the semifinal round where he will look to use that same submission prowess against the wrestler Vanier.

Carey Vanier is fighting out of the Greg Jackson camp in New Mexico. He is currently on a seven fight win streak, with his last win coming over Joe Duarte at Bellator 13.

Vanier’s background is wrestling, so I look for him to put Imada on his back. Vanier should not get comfortable as Imada is a submission of the night waiting to happen. Vanier should use the take-down for scoring purposes, and look to use them as a threat to mix up his strikes more. Vanier has the reach advantage, and should use it accordingly.

Breakdown: I think this is an interesting matchup, it definitely has potential to be a barn burner. I think the fight will be decided by the experience of Imada.

Vanier and Imada are only four years apart in age, but Toby Imada has had twenty-six more fights than the younger Vanier.

Winner: Toby Imada – Submission (Rnd. Two)


Fight No. 3

Roger Huerta (27-3-1-1NC) vs. Pat Curran (10-3-0) Lightweight Bout

Roger Huerta is looking to prove himself while in Bellator. His first fight was against a stronger fighter in Chad Hinton, which he won by submission (knee bar) in Rnd. Three. That fight was a month ago at Bellator 13, and he will look to defeat Pat Curran on Thursday.

Look for Huerta to showcase his improved striking. He has spent considerable time in Thailand training in kickboxing. Fighting veteran Yves Edwards was a key training partner to help his striking.

Now a much more complete fighter, look for Huerta to mix it up against Curran. Coming in as a wrestler, Huerta now has more confidence in his striking and won’t have to depend on his wrestling base in the fight. He should let his strikes fly and try to keep the fight on Curran, looking to take into the later rounds, which Huerta is no stranger to.

Pat Curran has to feel on top of the world coming off a KO win over Mike Ricci at Bellator 14. Cousin of veteran fighter Jeff Curran, Pat is looking to make a name for himself against the well known Huerta.

At age 22, the young Curran has already had 13 fights. He will need the experience of all 13 while fighting Huerta, who has 20-plus fights on his record.

One thing is for sure, Huerta is harder to put away than a boner in sweatpants—and even though Curran has shown he has KO power in his hands, he shouldn’t look to get into a slug-fest with the more experienced Huerta. Curran, the younger fighter, shouldn’t have too much trouble keeping pace with the fast-fighting Huerta.

Breakdown: This is yet another fight on this card with high potential. We get to see Huerta try to prove himself against a young and hungry newcomer. I think the pace that Huerta is able to keep will prove to be too much against Curran. It will be interesting to see how one month between fights affects both fighters.

Winner: Roger Huerta – Decision (Rnd. Three)


Fight No. 4

Eddie Alvarez (19-2-0) vs. Josh Neer (27-9-1) Catch-weight Bout 160 lbs.

Josh Neer is looking for the road back to the UFC. Having won his last two fights, he will look to get a bigger win over the Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez. Though this isn’t a title fight, Neer will look to make Alvarez a stepping stone to eventually getting back into the UFC.

Josh Neer has fought in almost 40 fights in seven years, racking up wins over Mac Danzig, Din Thomas, and Joe Stevenson. Neer is a well-rounded fighter, but has shown difficulty dealing with wrestlers in the octagon. He should look to sprawl and brawl, while avoiding the dangerous ground game of Alvarez.

Eddie Alvarez is the champion of Bellator and a well-ranked lightweight, but is still relatively unknown to the UFC star struck world of MMA. Alvarez will look to use Josh Neer as his own stepping stone towards gaining a bigger name in the MMA community.

Since his loss to well-ranked Shinya Aoki, Alvarez is on a four fight win streak all coming by way of submission. Alvarez should look to exploit the weakness of Neer’s take-down defense. Putting Neer on his back a couple of times will open up holes in his striking game that Alvarez could capitalize on later.

Breakdown: This will be the main event of the night and the most anticipated fight for me.

This fight is the most appealing of the fights, as we get to see how Alvarez does against well-tested competition. We also get to see how an ex-UFC lightweight tests against one of the best of the “lower” organizations. In the end I think the well-rounded Alvarez should be able to exploit holes in Neer’s game.

Winner: Eddie Alvarez – TKO (Rnd. Three)

I hope this card lives up to what I hope it’s going to be. I have high hopes for this card and future Bellator fights. Hopefully the St. Louis Cardinals don’t play that day and I will get to see it live. *Fingers Crossed* Here are the undercard fights, I will only be doing the results for these fights.

Nate Kittredge vs. Justin Torrey - Middleweight

Greg Rebello vs. John Clarke - Middleweight

Dan Bonnell vs. Josh Laberge - Featherweight

Nate Lamotte vs. Chuck O’Neil - Welterweight

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