The Bloody Elbow staff has made its predictions for Saturday night’s big Bellator 214 fight card in Inglewood, California. As expected, most of us are backing Ryan Bader to defeat the great Fedor Emelianenko to win the heavyweight grand prix and become the promotion’s first ever simultaneous two-division champion. For the co-main event, despite Henry Corrales being a veteran with more quality wins than featherweight prospect Aaron Pico, we are all picking Pico to continue his impressive rise up the ranks.
Note: Predictions are entered throughout the week and collected the day before the event. Explanations behind each pick are not required and some writers opt not to do so for their own reasons. For example, if Phil Mackenzie entered all of his predictions on Wednesday without adding in any explanations, he has no idea if he’s going to be the only one siding with one fighter for any given fight.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Ryan Bader
Mookie Alexander: Fedor is a live dog here. He still has power and Bader has never been insanely difficult to hit or hurt. Historically speaking, Fedor has also rarely just been held down with ease and dominated on the mat like we’ve seen Bader do to the Matt Mitriones of the world. On the flip side… Bader does pack a punch and Fedor has recently not been all that hard to put in serious danger, so I can’t really rule out Bader just starching Fedor with a huge shot and that’s a wrap. The safe play though is that Bader is going to dictate the terms of the action, have a few scares because Fedor is still dangerous, but the pick is Ryan Bader by unanimous decision.
Fraser Coffeen: With a heavy heart… Ryan Bader, KO, R1
Zane Simon: I just can’t pick Fedor. I’ve been wrong a lot on him lately, but I still can’t do it. Even his latest wins haven’t looked great. Maybe Bader doesn’t finish him quick, but if he can make the first round hard, I’m willing to bet that things only get worse for the ‘Last Emperor’ from there. Ryan Bader via TKO, round 3.
Eddie Mercado: When Ryan Bader loses, it’s because he makes fight ending mistakes, like rushing in on the feet or getting too desperate to get the fight to the ground. Fedor is hyper-opportunistic and will catch Bader making a mistake. Bader by ground and pound, sure, but Fedor inside the distance because he’s the GOAT. Deal with it. Fedor inside the distance
Tim Burke: Like I’m ever gonna pick against Fedor. Fedor Emelianenko via submission (guillotine), :35 of round 1
Shakiel Mahjouri: Fraser knows what he is talking about. Bader is not a perfect fighter, but he has cleaned up a lot of the holes and split-second poor decision making that have cost him in the past. The man has carried his punching power to heavyweight and has the advantage just about anywhere this fight goes. Watch the throne “Last Emperor”, Ryan Bader via KO, round 1.
Staff picking Fedor: Eddie, Tim
Staff picking Bader: Nick, Shak, Mookie, Stephie, Fraser, Phil, Zane, Eddie
Aaron Pico vs. Henry Corrales
Mookie Alexander: The only real concern I have for Pico is that he might eventually fall in love with his hands too much and it could cost him down the line against better opponents, but that’s kind of “worst case scenario” thinking. He looks like the real deal. Corrales is a tough opponent who’s an established featherweight contender. Only the elite of Bellator’s division beats Henry, so if Pico can run through him, then that’s a massive deal. His hand speed and strike selection is really impressive. He has knockout power and we know his wrestling credentials. Corrales is extremely well-rounded with good takedown defense, and he’s got good but not great power as a striker. I’m really intrigued by this matchup, but I am on the Pico hype train and that he’ll be too quick and athletic and dangerous for Corrales to deal with. Aaron Pico by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: With any seasoned vet fighting a young top prospect there’s a pretty cut and dried sense of how the fight can go. Pico either goes out and hurts Corrales early and puts him away. Or, he hurts Corrales early and can’t put him away and Corrales rallies back. For this fight, I think the athleticism is just too far in Pico’s corner. And Corrales just isn’t a consistent enough finisher for me to even feel all that confident that, if he were a round and a half down, he could definitely win the last half of the fight to take the decision. Aaron Pico via TKO, round 1.
Eddie Mercado: The punching power of Pico vs. the toughness of Corrales. If Corrales can weather the early storm and drag Pico into deep water then he has a chance to get the dub. He definitely is tough enough to have a shot at it. Pico is lethal af though. There’s a good chance he is going to rack up the damage in the exchanges resulting in him getting the win. Will Pico finish Corrales? I don’t know, but if he does he should get the next crack at the title. Aaron Pico wins.
Shakiel Mahjouri: Pico is turning into everything Bellator wanted him to be. I am favouring him over the ultra-tough Corrales in this fight, but I do not want to see Pico rushed into a title shot. The prospect-turned-contender is rapidly improving from fight-to-fight, but he still has some holes I would like to see tidied up. Who knows? Maybe he will have come fight night. Regardless, Aaron Pico via TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Pico: Nick, Shak, Mookie, Stephie, Fraser, Phil, Zane, Eddie, Tim
Staff picking Corrales:
Juan Archuleta vs. Ricky Bandejas
Mookie Alexander: Archuleta is more experienced and probably the better fighter, but I’m a fan of Bandejas solely because of the way he just wrecked James Gallagher after Gallagher was being obnoxious towards him pre-fight. I’m picking him mostly for that reason, but this is a quality matchup between two bantamweights looking to become rising contenders in a division in need of some new title challengers. Ricky Bandejas by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: I’ll go with the seasoned veteran here. After all he was King of the cage! Juan Archuleta by decision.
Shakiel Mahjouri: This is a tough fight to call, so I’ll bank on Archuleta’s experience edge. Juan Archuleta by decision.
Staff picking Archuleta: Nick, Fraser, Zane, Shak
Staff picking Bandejas: Mookie, Stephie, Eddie, Tim
Jack Swagger vs. JW Kiser
Mookie Alexander: I know nothing about Jack Swagger, the WWE star. He is certainly closer to Brock Lesnar than CM Punk in the sense that he actually has serious athletic credentials preceding his WWE career. The man was a super talented wrestler in college and has beaten Cain Velasquez before! Kiser has a lot of amateur boxing and MMA experience but he’s only 1-1 as a pro, so… I don’t know how much you can gather from this outside of “has done combat sports” when it’s evident that Bellator wants to put Jack Swagger over as a possible major attraction. I’ll go with takedown, mount, ground-and-pound TKO finish. Jack Swagger by TKO, round 1.
Tim Burke: WE THE PEOPLE! Jack Swagger, TKO, round 2
Zane Simon: It’s not a complete can, but Bellator definitely went out and found someone they expect Swagger can beat. Jack Swagger via TKO, round 1.
Shakiel Mahjouri: The All-American American via Ankle Lock, ‘nuff said. Really though, Jack Swagger via TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Swagger: Nick, Shak, Mookie, Stephie, Fraser, Phil, Eddie, Zane, Tim
Staff picking Kiser:
Brandon McMahan vs. Adel Altamimi
Zane Simon: They aren’t really going to put this on the main card of Agazarm’s debut (editor’s note: vs. Jesse Roberts) are there? Probably not. AJ Agazarm via submission.
Staff picking McMahan:
Staff picking Altamimi: Mookie, Stephie, Fraser, Phil, Nick, Tim, Shak,
Staff picking AJ Agazarm: Eddie ;), Zane
Who wins the Bellator 214 main event?
Bader by stoppage
Fedor by stoppage
Bader by decision
Fedor by decision
Jack Swagger/Unmasked Justin McCully tag team
147 votes total