Bellator is back in Dublin! Today, Bellator returns once more to the Emerald Isle for a fantastic fight card. Live from the 3Arena in Dublin, Bellator 299 is one that should not be missed. Here, in this article, we are offering our breakdown and prediction for the main event; a massive middleweight title collision between Johnny Eblen and Fabian Edwards. Read on to find our prediction below!
Johnny Eblen: Championship Calibre
Johnny Eblen (the current Bellator middleweight champion), is a very, very good fighter. With a rock solid wrestling base, he has built and developed an extensive, well-rounded arsenal (courtesy of training at American Top Team). He has continued to maintain an extensive undefeated record due to his relentless forward pressure (his nickname “pressure” is appropriate to say the very least), as well as his heavy hands. He’s currently trending as a -500 favourite to retain his title, and for very good reason too – nearly everyone has made the prediction that Eblen will retain his title.
It speaks very much to his impressive fighting ability that Eblen is widely touted as one of the top middleweight fighters in the world at the moment, and that is not hyperbole. People like Dustin Poirier have been singing the praises of Eblen, claiming that he will put on a dominant display to retain his middleweight title.
Fabian Edwards – Edwards Upset 2.0 Incoming?
Enter Fabian Edwards. The brother of Leon Edwards, “The Assassin” has been absolutely tearing his way through the middleweight ranks of Bellator, currently riding a three fight win streak. His streak includes wins over MMA legends Gegard Mousasi and Lyoto Machida, as well as fellow contender Charlie Ward. An impressive run, indeed…
Fabian Edwards has long been touted as a true dark horse of the Bellator middleweight division. He has been absolutely adamant that he is here to steamroll through the division and to join his brother as a world champion. And he has been very impressive and emphatic in proving his point.
Johnny Eblen and Fabian Edwards are sure to put on an absolute war in Dublin on Saturday night. (Image Credit: Sports Illustrated)
Johnny Eblen and Fabian Edwards: Paths to Victory
Both fighters have pretty polar opposite paths to victory in this fight.
For Johnny Eblen, his nickname “pressure” highlights his path pretty well, and makes his path to victory a relatively easy prediction. He is going to want to completely smother Edwards and put him on the back foot from the opening bell. If he can do this, then his world class wrestling will be able to start taking effect. If he is able to back Edwards up on to the fence, then he can start to grapple Edwards and angle him for the double leg down to the ground. It’s all about pressure and movement for Johnny Eblen, especially against an opponent as dangerous as Fabian Edwards.
Fabian Edwards has proven his KO prowess, highlighted by his stunning flying knee KO at Bellator 179 in London, England. (Image Credit: MMA Fighting)
For Fabian Edwards, his path is remarkably similar to his brother, Leon. He is going to want to try and dictate the rhythm and tempo of this fight from the get-go. With a fighter as renowned for pressure as Johnny Eblen is, it is going to be vital that Fabian Edwards gets his elite footwork going and keeps circling around the octagon – he cannot allow himself to get backed up to the fence. On the other hand, if Edwards can keep this fight standing and circling, then he absolutely possesses an arsenal capable of blowing Johnny Eblen away at a moment’s notice.
Official Prediction – Who Wins?
Unlike the bookies (who have Fabian Edwards at a massive +350), I actually think Fabian Edwards could win this fight. My prediction might well shock you. The parallels between the Edwards brothers are pretty striking. Like his brother, Fabian faces a dominant wrestler known for his heavy, heavy forward pressure, as well as his very heavy hands.
My prediction is that Fabian Edwards will shock the world and leave Dublin with the Bellator middleweight championship. (Image Credit: MMA Fighting – USA Today)
However, also like his brother, Fabian has razor sharp striking, and near lightning-quick movement. If he can put some damage together against Eblen’s legs in order to slow him down, then Edwards could absolutely shock everyone’s prediction pull this out of the bag. He has also proven that he is more than able to rise to the big occasion, too.
It’s certainly an upset pick, but I’m offering the prediction that Fabian Edwards will shock the world and become the NEW Bellator middleweight champion of the world. I feel that Fabian Edwards’ fibre-twitch, explosive movement will help him a lot, and Johnny Eblen is going to have to be 100% concentrated for all 25 minutes of this fight. If he switches off for even a split second, then Fabian Edwards could knock him into oblivion.