Freelance: Bellator 167 Preview


Darrion "The Wolf" Caldwell has redemptions against Joe "The Juggernaut" Taimanglo and after roughly a five-month wait he's going to get it. The two will clash again to kick off Bellator MMA's December cards.

Who's Joe Taimanglo?

Just the one who put the one in the "L" column of the rising phenom Caldwell's then 9-0 record (5 finishes, a rate of 55 percent) and did so with a rear-naked choke that shocked the MMA world.

Who has the edge?

Experience: The answer is again Taimanglo (23-6-1)

Mentality: Taimanglo didn't just beat Caldwell, he finished him. That's an up.

Finishing Ability: You guessed it! Technically it's Taimanglo that leads with 74 percent of his wins being stoppages-- a 19 percent differential-- but read the next point below.

Endurance: Caldwell has definitely proven that he can last after having gone a full 15 minutes five times in his short career. Where things get interesting is that while Taimanglo has been a finisher previously, he only has three stoppages as a part of Bellator compared with five full-length bouts (3-2.) The advantage goes to Taimanglo (6-2 in Bellator overall) but the 32-year-old has been more of a volume/point fighter as of late for sure.

Only one of his eight fights ended before the third, a second-round submission win in his Bellator debut around three and a half years ago. If "The Wolf" sees an opening early, it could be trouble.

Although FightMetric is slightly out of date when it comes to these combatants, their available information shows that Taimanglo lands just over four significant strikes in a minute (with an accuracy of 42 percent) compared to Caldwell's 0.85 when 8-0. However, the native of Guam also absorbs almost five significant strikes in that same time (but his defense when 21-6-1 was listed at 59 percent. He also landed almost six takedowns per fight. He could be either tentative to strike or try to ground Caldwell.

Prediction: When Caldwell does land, he makes it count. If he doesn't get too aggressive by trying to finish his man simply to avenge the way in which he lost if he sticks to what made him 9-0 in the first place I have the result as Caldwell by KO/TKO--No Round 3.

The Rest of the Card

● I’ve seen the finishing ability of 4-0 Ilima-Lei MacFarlane and 7-0 Andre Fialho (Bellator 157 and 150 respectively) firsthand and they are your safe bets. Prediciton: MacFarlane by submission, Fialho by KO/TKO. They face 4-1 Emily Ducote (a budding decision-based fighter starting to come into her own with submissions in her own right) and 15-4 Chidi Njokuani (a stiff test for Fialho with ten finishes, a rate of 67 percent) who has already had success under the bright lights of Bellator twice before.

● UFC veteran Justin Lawrence is a toss-up at 9-3 when it comes ig he will win based on scores. He has a monster challenger in front of him in the form of John Teixeira da Conceicao (20-1-2, 14 finishes, ten submissions, eight Ws in the first) and I simply have to go with my gut in choosing him.

Prediction: Teixeira da Conceicao by finish

● According to Sherdog, Jarod Trice is making both his pro MMA and Bellator promotional debut. His is also a case of simple numbers.

Prediction: 7-4 Brandon Lee by submission as he has five of those wins to his credit.

This is unless Trice surprises me with his boxing. All four of Lee’s defeats came in that manner.

● Aaron Roberson is less experienced at 5-4 than 11-7-2 Jonathan Gary but is 3-1 in his last four (all stoppages) compared to the recently 1-4 Gary (also all stoppages.)

Prediction: Roberson by finish ●

Other Predictions: Brandon Phillips (6-2) over Stephen Banaszak (5-5) if the fight stays standing up. Justin Patterson (7-1) over Cadale Ford (11-8) by KO/TKO. These picks are based on the ratio over success versus the number of total fights

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