Bellator 276 Preview

Saturday night, Bellator returns to action and they have a very solid fight card coming to Showtime. In the main event of the evening, two of the best featherweights in the promotion will clash over five rounds as Adam Borics (17-1) takes on Mads Burnell (16-3).

This fight has huge implications in the Bellator featherweight division. Coming up next month, AJ McKee and Patricio Pitbull will be rematching for the featherweight title. Depending on the result of that fight, whoever wins this fight at Bellator 276 could very well be next in line.

Since joining Bellator back in 2017, Adam Borics has nearly been perfect. He’s 8-1 with the lone loss coming via submission against Darrion Caldwell. Most notably, Borics has a knockout win over Aaron Pico and he looked great in his decision win over Jeremy Kennedy last April.

Mads Burnell is going to be looking to stay perfect inside the Bellator cage. After a 1-2 run in the UFC a few years back, Burnell went on a run that landed him with Bellator. After joining the promotion, he’s stormed out of the gate.

He has fought three times and won all three fights. Most notably, he defeated two-time title challenger Emmanuel Sanchez by decision. As mentioned, this main event at Bellator 276 is very likely a title eliminator at 145 pounds.

Rest of Bellator 276

In addition to the big time featherweight main event, Bellator 276 has some additional fights that fans should be paying attention to. One to look at would be the co-main event which features former light heavyweight champion Phil Davis (23-6) and Julius Anglickas (10-2).

Last time we saw Phil Davis was when he took on Yoel Romero in Romero’s Bellator debut. Davis used a wrestling heavy attack to fatigue Romero and he won a split decision although it was pretty unanimous in my opinion.

That win made him 4-1 in his last five with the lone loss coming to Vadim Nemkov. The last time we saw Anglickas was when he stepped in on short-notice to take on Vadim Nemkov at Bellator 268. Anglickas almost shocked the world when he hurt Nemkov, but he couldn’t put the champion away.

Ultimately, Anglickas fell to the champion. Now, he’s looking to take out a former champion in his first fight back. One more fight to keep your eye on is the middleweight contest between John Salter (18-5) and Johnny Eblen (10-0).

Given how shallow middleweight is, if Eblen gets the win, he could be next in line to fight Gegard Mousasi. Multiple potential title eliminators will happen at Bellator 276 which should create a fun show.

Bellator 264 Preview: Who will walk away middleweight champion?

Tonight, Bellator 264 takes place and the middleweight championship is on the line. One of the best and most underrated middleweights in the world, Gegard Mousasi (47-7-2) is back to defend his title against John Salter (18-4).

Gegard Mousasi is one of the rare instances where a fighter left the UFC for Bellator on a high note. Mousasi signed with Bellator after leaving the UFC on a five-fight win streak including a TKO victory over Chris Weidman.

Since coming over to Bellator, Mousasi has gone 5-1 with the lone loss coming against Rafael Lovato Jr by Split Decision. Since that loss where Mousasi lost his middleweight crown, he’s bounced back with wins over Lyoto Machida and Douglas Lima.

The man who will try to become Bellator middleweight champion tonight is John Salter. Salter will enter the cage on a three-fight win streak. The last time we saw him was at Bellator 244 when he won by third round arm triangle over Andrew Kapel.

Bellator 264 Prediction

When you look at this fight it’s all going to come down to the takedown. There is really no secret to John Salter’s game plan this evening. He’s going to try to come forward with pressure and he’s going to try and take down Gegard Mousasi.

That is the one path to victory for Salter. Salter has the ground skills to control Mousasi if he’s able to get him down. That said, getting Gegard Mousasi down is not going to be an easy task.

Mousasi is very good at keeping his range and he possesses tremendous takedown defense. There’s a reason why the Bellator middleweight champion has had the success he’s had over the course of his career.

In the early rounds, I find it hard to believe that Salter can get Mousasi down. I believe Mousasi is going to pull out ahead easily in the first three rounds. Perhaps if he gets tired, Salter can land some takedowns in the later rounds, but I don’t see it being enough tonight.

Prediction: Gegard Mousasi by Unanimous Decision

Bellator 244 Preview: Ryan Bader looks to continue his reign against Vadim Nemkov

Ryan Bader

Bellator makes it’s return tomorrow night with another Friday night fight night. In the main event of the evening, double champ, Ryan Bader (27-5), will be defending his light heavyweight crown against Vadim Nemkov (11-2). Let’s take a dive into the four main card fights that will be on the Paramount Network.

Ryan Bader looks to continue Bellator dominance

Since getting knocked out by Anthony Johnson in the UFC back in early 2016, Ryan Bader has been on an incredible run. He knocked out two straight opponents before jumping to Bellator. Since joining his new promotion, he’s gone 5-0, 1 NC on his way to capturing two titles.

This will be Bader’s first fight back at light heavyweight since 2017 when he kncoked out Linton Vassell in his only title defense. Bader is incredibly strong with very good power and good wrestling. I’m very curious to see how he looks back at 205 pounds.

Vadim Nemkov is no joke. He trains under the great Fedor Emelianenko and he comes into this contest riding a six fight winning streak. He’s 4-0 since joining Bellator with wins over Liam McGeary, Phil Davis, and Rafael Carvalho.

There is really not a spot in the fight where Nemkov won’t be comfortable. He’s got good grappling, he’s got good submissions, and he has solid power. I think this is a very dangerous matchup for Ryan Bader.

The public sees this as an easy Bader win, but the odds are close for a good reason. Nemkov can easily win this, and I’m wondering just how much the cut to 205 will hurt Bader. I think this fight goes the distance and the judges won’t be unanimous, but I think Bader keeps the belt.

Prediction: Ryan Bader by Split Decision

Julia Budd vs Jessy Miele

In the co-main event of the evening, we see a women’s featherweight contest between Julia Budd (13-3) and Jessy Miele (9-3). Budd is coming off a title loss back at Bellator 238 against Cris Cyborg.

Prior to the Cyborg loss, Budd was completely dominant in the promotion. The former featherweight champion was 7-0 with a few finishes. Budd is a very solid overall fighter, she just got overwhelmed by Cyborg.

In this contest, she will look to get back to a Cyborg rematch. I don’t see an incredibly deep talent pool at 145 in Bellator, but I believe that a rematch between Budd and Cyborg would garner some attention.

Jessy Miele is going to look to spoil the party. Miele is a very solid grappler who comes into this contest riding a four fight winning streak. She won her Bellator debut over Talita Nogueira.

Miele has got to make this an ugly fight. I think she needs to make it a grappling heavy contest and get the better of the positions if she hopes to take it. I think the winner is next in line, and I think ultimately we are going to secure the rematch tomorrow night.

Prediction: Julia Budd by Unanimous Decision

Roy Nelson vs Valentin Moldavsky

The second fight on the main card pairs “Big Country” Roy Nelson (23-18) against Valentin Moldavsky (9-1). Nelson is looking to turn things around in his Bellator career.

Since making the jump from the UFC, things have not been smooth sailing for Big Country. Nelson is just 1-4 since joining Bellator and that one win came in his debut.

Nelson is still as tough as they come, but he’s just been outworked for the most part. The 44 year old veteran seems to be a one trick pony these days trying to land his signature overhand right. The problem for Nelson is he hasn’t knocked anyone out in four years.

The Fedor protege, Moldavsky, enters the cage tomorrow night riding a four fight winning streak. At 4-0 in the promotion, Moldavsky might only be a win or two away from getting the shot at the heavyweight crown.

Moldavsky has very good overall skills, but really does a good job of using his grappling and good pace to outwork his opponents. I think both of those things are really going to help him here. As long as he avoids that massive right, I think this is pretty easy to predict.

Prediction: Valentin Moldavsky by Unanimous Decision

John Salter vs Andrew Kapel

Kicking off the main card is a middleweight matchup between John Salter (17-4) and Andrew Kapel (15-6). Both of these men come into this Bellator middleweight contest riding multiple fight win streaks.

This is your classic striker versus grappler matchup. For Salter, he’s won two straight and he’s 7-1 since joining the promotion back in 2015. Out of his 17 victories, only one of them has gone to the scorecards. Salter is slick on the ground and has nine submissions.

Kapel comes into the fight riding a five fight winning streak that includes his knockout over King Mo Lawal back in November. That knockout came in Kapel’s Bellator debut. Kapel has very smooth striking skills due to his muay thai background. He does have ten submissions, but those are usually setup through hurting his opponents standing.

This is a very good matchup, and I think the winner could be close to a middleweight title shot. I’m going to go with John Salter in this one. I think it’s back and forth, but Salter catches a late submission to secure the win.

Prediction: John Salter by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) – Round 3

Bellator Outlook

Bellator is really starting to pick up some momentum after returning. They have put together a few solid cards and this week they announced some big fights for September. I think this every other week cadence. I think you’ll see Bellator really do some big things the rest of the year.