In the co-main event of Bellator 257, we will see another quarterfinal matchup in the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. Corey Anderson (14-5) will be making his second Bellator appearance as he welcomes in Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (18-5-1).
Yagshimuradov is being looked at as a dark horse in this Bellator Grand Prix. He’s an unknown to most casual fans, but I can assure you, the guy has tremendous skill and he’s not going to be an easy out.
A native of Turkmenistan, Yagshimuradov is very well rounded. He has really good grappling, good striking, and decent power in his hands. When it comes to hand speed and power, he’s probably going to have the advantage at Bellator 257.
Coming into this Grand Prix, Yagshimuradov has won eight straight outside of the Bellator cage. His opponent tonight had an extremely interesting year last year.
When 2020 began, Corey Anderson looked like he was going to challenge for the UFC light heavyweight title. However, Anderson was knocked out badly by Jan Blachowicz in February which derailed those plans.
Still, Anderson was a top five light heavyweight in the UFC. However, when he asked for more money and the promotion said no, Anderson asked for his release. Once released, Bellator signed him immediately.
He made his debut last November at Bellator 251. Anderson got a layup in his first matchup as he took on former middleweight Melvin Manhoef. Corey Anderson used his dominant wrestling to get the fight to the ground and earn a TKO win in his Bellator debut.
Bellator 257 Prediction
This fight is going to be incredibly fascinating. When the betting lines opened for Bellator 257, Yagshimuradov was actually the betting favorite. Since then, the odds have shifted and Corey Anderson is now the betting favorite.
However, it does show you just how much people think about Yagshimuradov. One thing that I think really plays into his advantage tonight is the way that he carries his hands.
Yagshimuradov carries his hands low which is usually not a good thing. However, when fighting a dominant wrestler like Corey Anderson, having his hands low could help him with defending the takedowns.
For Corey Anderson, the Bellator 257 game plan is what it always is for him. Use your striking just to close the distance and go for takedowns. If Anderson is able to land takedowns, he’s going to get a decision.
We’ve seen Anderson get knocked out and Yagshimuradov does have some pop in his hands. I would be shocked at all if Yagshimuradov catches him with something coming in. However, I’m going to go with the safe pick here and ride with Corey Anderson to use his wrestling to earn a decision.
Prediction: Corey Anderson by Unanimous Decision