MMA Analysis: Bellator 52 Preview

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It’s finally the heavyweights' turn to kick off their season 5 tournament at Saturday’s Bellator 52 from the L’Auberge du Lac Casino Resort in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Eight “big” men will enter the Bellator cage, each vying for a shot the heavyweight champion Cole Konrad.

This is only the promotions second heavyweight tournament; the first one took place in season three with Cole Konrad defeating Neil Grove with a first round keylock. The 40-year-old Grove is back for another shot at the Bellator heavyweight title and a rematch with Konrad. In his opening round fight, Grove will be facing another fighter from the previous heavyweight tournament in Mike Hayes.

Undefeated Ron Sparks has finished all but one of his seven professional bouts in the first round. He’ll make his third appearance inside the Bellator cage when he faces Mark Holata. Riding a seven-fight win streak coming into the tournament, Holata will also be making his third Bellator appearance.

Sambo World Champion, Blagoi Ivanov puts his undefeated record on the line against the late replacement Zak Jensen. Ivanov was originally scheduled to face Thiago Santos but Visa issues prevented him from leaving Brazil. Jenson was a participant on the 10th season of The Ultimate Fighter and comes in just 1-4 over his last five fights.

The last heavyweight tournament bout features another Ultimate Fighter season 10 fighter, Abe Wagner. Just like Jensen, Wagner lost his first fight in the house and never officially fought in the UFC. Wagner will be making his Bellator debut when he takes on Eric Prindle.

The night’s local card was originally set to have bouts but when Zak Jensen was moved into the tournament, his bout with Josh Burns was obviously scrapped.


Mark Holata vs. Ron Sparks (heavyweight-tourney opening round)

Neil Grove vs. Mike Hayes (heavyweight-tourney opening round)

Blagoi Ivanov vs. Zak Jensen (heavyweight-tourney opening round)

Eric Prindle vs. Abe Wagner (heavyweight-tourney opening round)


155 lbs.: Cosmo Alexander vs. Josh Quayhagen

150 lbs.: Genair da Silva vs. Bryan Goldsby *

213 lbs.: Nick Nichols vs. Matt Van Buren *

265 lbs.: Justin Frazier vs. Liron Wilson

(*) Genair da Silva and Nick Nichols did not make-weight so their bouts were changed to catchweight and they were fined 20% of their “show” money.

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