MMA Picks: Back Thompson In Bellator 158 Against Mitrione

Matt Mitrione vs Oli Thompson

Jake Walker

Friday, July 15, 2016 5:54 PM GMT

Friday, Jul. 15, 2016 5:54 PM GMT

Matt Mitrione has cleared medical testing and will fight "Britain's Strongest Man" winner Oli Thompson in the co-main event of Bellator 158 on July 16 at The O2 in London, England.

This will be Mitrione's second Bellator fight in less than a month. Mitrione (10-5) nearly got knocked out in his debut at Bellator 157: Dynamite II, but he was allowed to continue and he came back to knock out Carl Seumanutafa just minutes later. The 37-year-old from Indianapolis joined the MMA promotion as one of their most high profile free agent acquisitions and his journey to the company was documented by Chuck Mindenhall. 

Matt Mitrione has cleared medical testing and will fight "Britain's Strongest Man" winner Oli Thompson in the co-main event of Bellator 158 on July 16 at The O2 in London, England.  

This will be Mitrione's second Bellator fight in less than a month. Mitrione (10-5) nearly got knocked out in his debut at Bellator 157: Dynamite II, but he was allowed to continue and he came back to knock out Carl Seumanutafa just minutes later. The 37-year-old from Indianapolis joined the MMA promotion as one of their most high profile free agent acquisitions and his journey to the company was documented by Chuck Mindenhall. 

Mitrione has a talented athletic background, with stints in the NFL with the Giants, 49ers and Vikings. He has 14 UFC fights from 2009 to January of this year and he is known for ending them early and violently, with nine of his ten wins coming by way of knockout (six of them ended in the first round).

There were immediate concerns over his health when Bellator announced this fight with Thompson because of the flash knockdown he suffered early in the fight with Seumanutafa. Those concerns remain, even with Bellator saying that he "cleared medical testing." 

Oli Thompson (17-8) will be making his Bellator debut after 25 career fights against elite heavyweight division competitors. He has stopped 13 of his opponents. A resident of East Sussex, England, Thompson became "Britain’s Strongest Man" in 2006 before making his professional debut in 2009. The 36-year-old has fought under multiple regional promotions and he even made two UFC appearances in 2012. Thompson won all five of his fights in 2015, including two first round knockouts and this will be the most important fight of his career, since it will take place in front of his hometown fans as part of the co-main event of Bellator 158 next Saturday.

 

Betting Analysis

Mitrione is at -300 betting odds at some online sportsbooks, while Thompson is at +240. The fact that Mitrione was knocked down by a punch in the first round of his last fight three weeks ago and had to survive a few more on the ground to recover and win concerns me. He recently said, "I passed all my medicals, my concussion protocols – I'm ready to get in there and scrap," but Thompson is not an easy opponent, even if this is his Bellator debut. 

This fight is a toss-up. Mitrione will be a star on Bellator's heavyweight division and he could end the fight quickly but Thompson is on a roll, had more time to prepare and will be at home. The betting value for our sports picks is on Thompson +240.

 

Bellator Pick: Thompson +240
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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