If you followed our UFC 211 betting recommendations last week here at Sports Interaction, you cashed in on three of five fights — with one declared a no-contest. This week all eyes in the MMA world turn to London for Friday night’s Bellator 179 card at SSE Arena. Here’s a look at the main card bouts and their Sports Interaction MMA odds.
Rory MacDonald vs. Paul Daley
Records: MacDonald (18-4), Daley (39-14-2)
UFC Odds: MacDonald -345, Daley +240
Prediction: MacDonald by submission
The headline bout doesn’t involve a belt as the welterweight champion in Bellator is Douglas Lima. MacDonald is a 27-year-old from British Columbia making his debut in the organization. The “Red King” signed with Bellator last year after six years in the UFC in which he was 9-4. MacDonald brutally lost his final two visits to the Octagon, by unanimous decision to Stephen Thompson in June 2016 and by fifth-round TKO (punches) to Robbie Lawler in July 2015. Daley, 34, will have the crowd in his favor as he’s from England. He spent a brief time in the UFC, going 2-1 in 2009-10. “Semtex” is 4-1 since joining Bellator with his only loss last July to Lima by unanimous decision.
Daley bounced back from that with a first-round KO victory over Brennan Ward in January. MacDonald and Daley both have fought Tyron Woodley and Nick Diaz in their careers. Daley lost to both by unanimous decision in Strikeforce back in 2011. MacDonald beat both, Woodley by UD in June 2014 and Diaz by UD in April 2011.
The winner here is expected to get a shot at Lima – if Lima beats Lorenz Larkin at UFC 180 in June. “I hold Lima above Rory,” Daley said recently. “I don’t think there’s a bigger, more athletic, scarier welterweight out there at the moment. Me and my team, we believe that we can defeat Douglas Lima over five rounds. Not looking past Rory, but yeah, we want the shot at Lima.”
Linton Vassell vs. Liam McGeary
Records: Vassell (17-5), McGeary (12-1)
Division: Light Heavyweight
UFC Odds: McGeary -235, Vassell +175
Prediction: McGeary by KO or TKO
Both of these fighters are from England and consider one another friends. The 34-year old McGeary fought for the title against Phil Davis last November and lost by unanimous decision. McGeary, a former lightweight champion, rebounded with a second-round TKO (doctor stoppage) victory over Brett McDermott in February.
Vassell, 33, has won two straight following a loss to Muhammed Lawal. Vassell was last in the Octagon in November and beat Francis Carmont by unanimous decision. McGeary and Vassell both have fairly recently fought American Emanuel Newton. Vassell split with him and McGeary beat him. The winner here may get a shot at Davis for the belt.
Cheick Kongo vs. Augusto Sakai
Records: Kongo (26-10-2), Sakai (9-0-1)
UFC Odds: Kongo -295, Sakai +215
Prediction: Kongo by decision
It feels like the 41-year-old Kongo, a Frenchman, has been around forever. His first pro fight was way back in 2001 and Kongo spent many years in the UFC before heading to Bellator in 2013. He’s 8-2 in the organization with four straight wins. He took out Oli Thompson by unanimous decision back in February, his fifth consecutive fight to go to the judges.
Sakai, a 25-year-old from Brazil, took a draw in his last fight in May 2016 against Dan Charles. Sakai was deducted one point in Round 1 for a low blow and that would prove costly. This matchup was originally scheduled for Bellator 150, but Sakai withdrew due to an injury