Maintaining a lengthy winning streak can be difficult in a division as dangerous as heavyweight, but Bellator 293 headliners Marcelo Golm and Daniel James will both enter the cage on Friday night riding four-fight winning streaks and with the opportunity to pick up a victory that positions them as a potential title challenger.
Golm may be the more familiar man for fans of mixed martial arts. He had a four-fight stint in the UFC that started with a 47-second submission win but finished up after dropping three straight fights. After picking up a pair of wins on the regional scene, Golm received the opportunity to jump into the Bellator cage and quickly found success, first stopping Billy Swanson with punches and then forcing Davion Franklin to tap out to a rear-naked choke.
He now faces James, a fighter with more professional experience, but who has only fought once on a stage as big as Bellator. In that opportunity -- James' most recent fight -- he scored an impressive second-round TKO of Bellator veteran Tyrell Fortune.
"I don't want to sound weird, but I didn't know too much about him. I just started watching film on him. I know he fought in the UFC. We're both 2-0 in Bellator," James said this week. "I'm not surprised by anything; I've seen a lot. I've seen a lot of guys like Golm, but he hasn't seen anything like me. He's getting a whole 'nother thing."
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Neither fighter appreciates the involvement of the official judges. Every one of Golm's 10 career victories has come via stoppage while James has 14 career victories, only one coming by decision. The recipe is certainly there for a classic heavyweight finish when the two clash at Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California.
The undercard fills out with some more interesting contests. Veteran women's featherweights Cat Zingano and Leah McCourt are set to throw down in the co-main event. Zingano, 40, is hoping to earn a title shot with a win on Friday night, whether it's against current titleholder Cris Cyborg or for the vacant title if she does not re-sign with the promotion. Plus, Aaron Jeffery is looking to keep his winning streak going when he takes on veteran John Salter in a middleweight contest. And Sullivan Cauley and Luke Trainer are set to scrap it out in a light heavyweight battle.
Let's take a closer look at the rest of the fight card with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook.
Bellator 293 fight card, odds
- Marcelo Golm -150 vs. Daniel James +125, heavyweight
- Cat Zingano -360 vs. Leah McCourt +280, women's featherweight
- Aaron Jeffrey -400 vs. John Salter +310, middleweight
- Sullivan Cauley -210 vs. Luke Trainer +175, light heavyweight
- Archie Colgan vs. Justin Montalvo, lightweights
Date: March 31 | Start time: 10 p.m. ET (main card)
Location: Pechanga Resort Casino -- Temecula, California
TV channel: Showtime
James is a massive man, cutting weight just to make the heavyweight limit. He's also 41 years old. That could be a bad combination against someone like Golm, who can grapple and wear on a big, older fighter like James. They say power is the last thing to go and James certainly packs a good amount of it in his punches, but he will need to figure out a way to keep distance if he is going to utilize that power.
Golm has solid cardio and it seems his path to victory is a bit more simple than James, who has to not only worry about Golm's grappling, but his power as well. Unless James can get started quickly with some fight-changing punches, this feels like a fight where Golm grinds and wears James down before a finish in the second half of the fight. Pick: Marcelo Golm via Sub2