MMA fighting styles

Bellator 274 ‘Gracie vs. Storley’


Beginning hours after the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Bellator MMA will counter-schedule a weak UFC Apex bid with the first non-title, non-tournament five-round headliner in company history. The picks are admittedly thin on Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, with nine of 13 fights drawing a betting favorite at -300 or higher, but there is still room for action in that range. The Bellator 274 edition of Prime Picks must be tight with prop bets. Plus, a possible grappler’s delight main event worthy of an extra 10 minutes and a hungry young finisher ready for another stoppage deserve extra attention.

Bellator knew exactly what he was doing when he made this fight, putting two welterweights in battle against each other for five rounds. Although the two men’s ground chops may cancel each other out and fans may be subjected to five rounds of below average kickboxing, the styles of wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu intersect in such a way that it’s practically impossible for them to avoid the ground for the entire match. Gracie, whose hands have improved markedly over the years, would still love nothing more than to rip off a limb or squeeze an exposed neck. A four-time NCAA All-American wrestler at the University of Minnesota, Storley practically has one goal in mind to counter: put Gracie on his back, fend off an offensive guard and get the job done with the ground and the pound. Storley is a smart wrestler, and he won’t put himself in danger to do damage from the top, so this could be a pretty methodical affair that burns clock time. Gracie would love nothing more than to get the record for most submissions in Bellator history again, though her last finish came on the feet with a salvo of punches and a cracking elbow that distant Mark Lemminger. In the process, Gracie became an extremely rare member of his clan to score a knockout in major competition, joining only Royce Gracie and Ryan Gracie. Some grapplers fall in love with their hands, to their detriment, but Gracie always presents himself as a means to an end on the feet so he can bully his opponent to the fence, secure a takedown and start on the mat. Storley is pretty much the same, but of the two, the Golden Gopher is much more proficient at putting things horizontal.

Storley’s only career loss came by split verdict against current champion Yaroslav Amosov in a fight in which he was beaten to the punch, both figuratively and literally. Amosov led the way in the floor entries, and although Storley was able to land his own, the Ukrainian proved more skilled and prepared to get up and turn things around. Gracie could indeed ruin Storley’s coming out party if he hustles effectively, hits knockdowns and puts him in danger of submission early. Arrivals for Storley have rarely materialized since hitting Bellator Stadium, and ‘Storm’ isn’t afraid to storm his counterparts with an explosive double and top control for as long as he can. can. The strategy for South Dakota may be to open up at the top in limited circumstances as the fight progresses and Gracie tires, and strikes from up high could be paramount in the early rounds. Whether Gracie is able to outlast the Sanford MMA rep or Storley is able to crush his submission-savvy opponent, the all-important clock will continue to tick until the 2:30 Round 5 hit marker.

Aviv Gozali wins the inside distance (-200)

When the lion’s share of matches show a favorite with prohibitive odds and a few preliminaries too tight to follow with too many question marks hanging over their heads, sometimes one of those “sure” favorites still offers a way to get ahead. That comes in the form of a 6-0 wonderkid in Gozali, who only competed inside the Bellator cage and won all six of his fights by first-round submission. Fellow grappler Bobby King appears to be the toughest test of Gozali’s young tenure as he will arrive with a 10-4 record and having never been submitted. Experience, especially deep water fights, will be by far on his side, as he has more cage time in his last fight alone – a 15-minute affair with Alexandr Shabliy – as Gozali does in all his career (12:26). Aggressive perhaps to the end, Gozali, 21, seems to know only one speed.

The spoiler for this game may be King’s skill at escaping the worst of a first-round blitz and coming out the other side. Beyond his pro debut where he fell in the first round, most of the Utah native’s fights have pushed to the third round or later. Each of his last six outings, where he’s faced vastly improved competition on either the Bellator or Legacy Fighting Alliance stage, has seen him make it to round 3. There’s no doubt that Gozali will turn into a type” glass cannon”, presenting all the infractions. for a few minutes until he runs out of breath. While King could be the one to break Gozali’s first-round back-to-back streak, there’s still decent value in the youngster doing it again from range.