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From Here On Out, You Can't Predict The Bellator Finals... Not At All

LAS VEGAS - JUNE 15:  Ben Askren (blue) celebrates his win over Tyrone Lewis (red) in the Freestyle 74kg division championship match during the USA Olympic trials for wrestling and judo on June 15, 2008 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Neveda.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Dale De SouzaAnalyst IJune 17, 2010

Last week was definitely a surprise in many respects.

A heavy favorite coming into the Bellator Lightweight Finals, Toby Imada knew that if he wanted a rematch with Eddie Alvarez, he had to go through Pat Curran.

Curran walked out with a split decision, which very clearly defines why fighters should never leave a fight in the hands of the judges due to the controversy behind it.

It looked to me like Imada had the first two rounds in the bag, but his brutalized eye and a vicious shot that rocked him, proved enough to turn the tide for Curran.

Now, Alvarez's new threat to his throne is not only definite, but it's also taking a new form in what promises to be one of Season Three's most exciting bouts.

Another fight with much promise behind it is the welterweight final tonight between Ben Askren and Dan Hornbuckle.

Circumstances made it so that Ryan Thomas would see a rematch of the controversially-finished first fight between him and Askren.

However, the difference was that the second time coming, despite the bout going to the judges, was lopsided in Askren's favor with no early stoppages to taint the victory.

Hornbuckle wouldn't know too much about that, I wouldn't think, and we're all thankful for that.

"The Handler" has been a finisher throughout the season two tournament, finishing his two opponents—Tyler Stinson and Steve Carl—by tap-out due to a triangle choke and kimura respectively in order to punch his ticket to the finals.

Still though, the difference between their records is a total of 18 fights, so the experience factor doesn't necessarily give Hornbuckle the edge, just as the Olympic wrestling prowess of Askren doesn't mean that the long-legged Hornbuckle will be easy to control or dominate on the ground.

On paper, and in the breakdown of things, I'd say they're even on both feet and on the ground.

Having one TKO win doesn't mean that Askren can't knock out Hornbuckle, just as having one win by decision doesn't mean that Hornbuckle can't go the distance with Askren.

"Funky" Ben will have to bring more than just his superior wrestling into the cage when he clashes with Hornbuckle in this year's welterweight final; but even if he does, I don't think that the final swing is in Askren's favor.

The way I see it, this fight goes to whoever comes out with the stronger game plan, but we won't know what those game plans are until the fight goes down tonight.

If you're watching the final two Bellator events of Season Two, and you should, then you probably have a general idea of who you think is going to win.

Good luck finding a way to make a definite prediction, though.

After what happened last week, I'd say from here on out, it's anyone's game.

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