Bellator 206: Mousasi vs MacDonald Odds, Picks and Predictions

by Rick Rockwell
on September 26, 2018
9

Minute Read

On Saturday, September 29th, Bellator 206: Mousasi vs MacDonald comes to us live from the SAP Center in San Jose, California. This event is shaping up to be one of the most significant fight cards in the history of Bellator MMA. Headlining the event is a highly anticipated middleweight showdown between the current middleweight champ Gegard Mousasi and the challenger Bellator welterweight champ Rory MacDonald. However, this fight will only be for Mousasi’s middleweight belt.

The welterweight title is now the main prize for Bellator’s welterweight Grand Prix, which is an 8-man tournament that could see the title change hands numerous times before the GP’s conclusion. Bellator 206 will mark the beginning of this Grand Prix as former welterweight champs Andrey Koreshkov and Douglas Lima go to war in the opening round of the tournament.

The co-main event of the night is a “legends” fight between Wanderlei Silva and Quinton Jackson. These two MMA fighters have battled against each other 3 times prior and look to resolve their unfinished business.

In total, the Main Card features 6 exciting fights and the Preliminary Card features 11 additional fights. MMA fans can watch the Main Card of Bellator 206 exclusively on DAZN beginning at 10 PM ET.

Bellator 206: Mousasi vs MacDonald Predictions

The following Bellator 206 betting odds are courtesy of 5Dimes:

Gaston Bolanos (-420) vs Ysidro Gutierrez (+300)

This featherweight bout was originally scheduled as a preliminary fight, but is has now been elevated to the opener of the Main Card portion of the event.

Bolanos (3-1) comes into this fight as the heavy favorite. All 4 of his professional fights have been with Bellator. Gaston has won 2 straight fights and all 3 of his victories are via TKO/KO. His last fight came in May, and he won via TKO in the 1st Round. So far, Bolanos hasn’t even seen the 3rd round of a fight.

Gutierrez (4-2) has gone the distance on 3 occasions and has won all three of those fights. However, this is Ysidro’s first fight in Bellator and he will have a hard time trying to defeat a better fighter in Bolanos.

I believe Bolanos is going to finish this fight before the 3rd Round and via TKO/KO. He’s heavily favored for a reason, and we’ll see why on Saturday.

Bellator Bet: Gaston Bolanos (-420)

Keri Melendez (-750) vs Dakota Zimmerman (+450)

Keri Melendez (2-0), the wife of Gilbert Melendez, looks to continue her burgeoning fight career as she takes on Dakota Zimmerman (1-0) in a strawweight battle. Melendez has shown that she’s capable of winning via TKO or Submission and has the clear advantage with superior striking skills in this fight.

Zimmerman hasn’t fought since 2015, and really just seems to be more of a stepping stone for Melendez than an actual competitor. If it wasn’t for Keri’s last name, this fight would be in the Prelims. Keri is the biggest favorite for Bellator 206 and I have no doubt that she will win.

In her 2 pro career fights, Melendez has won them both in the 1st Round. I expect her to win this fight in the first round as well. Look for Melendez to rock Zimmerman early and then finish the fight with a flurry of strikes.

Bellator Bet: Keri Melendez (-750)

Aaron Pico (-570) vs Leandro Higo (+380)

Other than Melendez, Aaron Pico (3-1) is the biggest favorite of the night. Pico is considered to be one of the top up-and-coming prospects in the company. In fact, many MMA media outlets have dubbed Pico as the “super prospect.” Despite the buzz over Pico, he will face a tough challenger in former title contender Leandro Higo (18-4) who has 22 pro fights on his resume.

Higo is actually coming off a title fight loss to Darrion Caldwell in March. Instead of getting a rebound fight, he’s taking on the dynamic prospect in Pico. Some MMA pundits were taken back by how quick Bellator placed Pico against a tough featherweight challenger. Keep in mind, this will only be Aaron’s 5th pro fight. The 21 year old has won three straight, but some pundits believed he needed at least one more fight before reaching the upper echelon of the featherweight division.

Higo is just 1-2 with Bellator and loves to make his opponents submit. 10 of Higo’s 18 victories have come via submission. Pico has the wrestling skills to grind it out on the mat and the boxing skills to KO his opponents. In fact, all 3 of Pico’s victories have come via TKO/KO in the first round.

Another surprise with this fight is how the oddsmakers view Pico and Higo. Leandro’s two losses came against title holders. His first loss, against Dantas, was a close split decision defeat. He rebounded with a Unanimous Decision over Taimanglo and then had a bad night against Caldwell.

I believe Higo offers great betting value and could possibly pull off the upset of the night. I’m leaning toward Pico in this contest, but don’t be afraid to take a flier on Higo.

Bellator Bet: Aaron Pico (-570)

Douglas Lima (+100) vs Andrey Koreshkov (-140)

This trilogy fight is a fantastic way to kick off the welterweight Grand Prix. These two fighters first faced each other at Bellator 140 in July of 2015. At that event, Koreshkov was able to grind his way to victory and take the welterweight title. Roughly 16 months later, they had a rematch at Bellator 164 and Lima came out victorious with a KO in the 3rd round. Lima also took back the welterweight title with this victory. Now, these rivals will face off for the first time in nearly two years with the welterweight title still the ultimate price.

Douglas Lima (29-7) held the belt until he lost it to MacDonald in January at Bellator 192. For his career, Lima has a nice balance of 13 TKO/KO’s and 11 submission victories. However, 5 of his 7 losses have come via Decision, including the first fight against Koreshkov in 2015.

Koreshkov (21-2) has won 12 of his fights via TKO/KO and 6 via Decision. His two losses have come via TKO/KO, including the second fight against Lima in 2016. Since that fight, Andrey has gone 2-0 and won both of those contests by first round TKO/KO.

So, what can we expect from this rubber match?

Well, in short, more of the same. Koreshkov will try to take down Lima and grind out a victory. Lima will try to avoid the takedown and land some vicious strikes via punches and kicks. Just ask Rory about Lima’s kicks. Speaking of the MacDonald fight, I believe Lima learned a lot of this encounter. When you pair that knowledge with the experience of two fights against Koreshkov, I feel that Lima should win this bout on Saturday night.

Although he’s the underdog, I believe Lima is the better fighter and I expect him to come away with a hard fought victory to kick off the welterweight Grand Prix.

Bellator Bet: Douglas Lima (+100)

Quinton Jackson (-265) vs Wanderlei Silva (+185)

I think the best advice I can give for this fight is to temper all expectations one way or the other. Don’t go into this fight thinking it will be like their first encounters and/or don’t expect it to be the worst fight of the night. With that said, it’s hard to get excited for a bout between two 40 year olds that are past their prime and losing more than winning. The one thing I will say positive about this bout, is that these two fighters have some of the all-time greatest nicknames in the history of MMA: “Rampage” Jackson and “The Axe Murderer” Silva.

Jackson (37-13) comes into this 4th encounter against Silva having lost his last two fights. In January, Jackson lost to Chael Sonnen via Unanimous Decision. In March 2017, Rampage lost to Muhammed Lawal also via UD. Since 2011, Jackson has gone 5-5. However, since joining Bellator in 2013, Rampage has gone 4-2.

Silva (35-13-1) hasn’t fought since June 2017, and that was a Unanimous Decision loss to Chael Sonnen. Since the 3rd encounter with Jackson in December 2008, Wanderlei has gone 3-5. The 42-year old fighter seems to have fought well beyond his prime and I don’t see him being able to outlast Jackson in this contest.

Silva holds a 2-1 record against Jackson, but those two wins came in PRIDE back in 2003 and 2004. Their last fight was in 2008, and Jackson won via KO in the 1st Round. I believe Rampage will win via TKO/KO again. However, I’m inclined to give Silva a chance to make it to the 2nd Round.

Bellator Bet: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (-265)

Gegard Mousasi (-255) vs Rory MacDonald (+215)

The battle of UFC defectors is quite possibly the most exciting fight that Bellator could put on at this point in the company. Not only will it be an exciting showdown between two fantastic competitors for the middleweight title, there’s also the chance that MacDonald becomes the company’s first fighter to hold championship belts in two different divisions at the same time.

Mousasi (44-6-2) is on a 7 fight win streak that spans two different promotions. Prior to his debut in Bellator, where he’s 2-0, Gegard left the UFC on a 5 fight win streak and near the top of the middleweight division. In fact, some pundits believe that Mousasi was in line for a title fight before leaving the UFC. Either way, the UFC lost an incredible fighter and Bellator got a big name to fight under the company’s banner.

MacDonald (20-4) was also a top contender in the UFC, but he lost his last two fights with the company before leaving and joining Bellator with his debut fight in May 2017. Since his jump to Bellator, Rory has gone 2-0, won the welterweight title, and is in a position to make history by holding two belts at the same time.

Mousasi has the advantage in height and experience. Additionally, Gegard is the bigger fighter as he has spent a great deal of time fighting at middleweight and light heavyweight. MacDonald has fought mostly at welterweight and some at middleweight.

Mousasi has won 25 of his 44 victories via TKO/KO and another 12 via submission. At least 75% of his victories have been finished inside of the distance. This will be a key factor in the fight as Mousasi could push to end it instead of risking going to the scorecards. Mousasi is well-rounded as he can standup and strike or go to the ground and finish an opponent. He does have the striking advantage over MacDonald.

MacDonald has a respectable striking game, but his strength is on the ground. Not only does Rory have excellent wrestling skills, but he also has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. More than a third of his victories have come via submission. Additionally, another 6 wins have come via decision. MacDonald has the heart and the stamina to go the distance in any fight, especially this one.

The key to victory for Rory is to get Mousasi on the mat and try to overwhelm Gegard. The key for Mousasi is to keep the fight upright long enough to land some massive shots and then go for a ground and pound or look for the KO.

This middleweight title fight is really hard to predict because both fighters are well-rounded and great in a variety of fight disciplines. I think Macdonald’s last fight against Lima better prepared him for a fight against Mousasi than the other way around. Despite how comparable these two fighters are, oddsmakers really liked Mousasi as a significant favorite. To me, this means MacDonald offers excellent betting value.

I’m hoping for history here and taking MacDonald to win a 5-round war.

Bellator Bet: Rory MacDonald (+215)

The Best Bellator 206: Mousasi vs MacDonald Betting Value

Rory MacDonald at (+215) and Leandro Higo at (+380) offer fantastic betting value. Both fighters are much closer in competition to their opponents than what online betting sites have them listed at. I believe that MacDonald will edge out Mousasi in their fight, which makes him the best underdog to bet on. However, Higo’s +380 is just too high to ignore. I suggest taking a flier on him as he’s skilled enough to outduel Pico.

Bellator 206: Mousasi vs MacDonald Final Thoughts

This Bellator event will be an exciting one, once the Main Card hits. I’m not really intrigued with any of the prelims other than Blencowe vs Leibrock as this fight should’ve been on the Main Card. I believe that Bolanos and Melendez are going to steamroll through their fights. I also believe that Jackson will smash Silva in their “legendary division” fight.

I think Higo has the experience and the fight skills to derail Pico, but I’m going with the safe bet on this one. However, take a flier on Higo and thank me later.

Lima vs Koreshkov is going to be an exciting bout for however long it lasts. In fact, I believe this fight could be the fight of the night as these two men have put on great fights before. It’s a brilliant way to kick off the welterweight Grand Prix.

The main event of the night is one of the most intriguing matchups in Bellator or UFC. I can’t wait to see how this bout unfolds. I’m hoping for a 5-round war and I’m picking the “Red King” to collect more gold and make history.

One last note, I’m also curious to see how well Bellator 206 comes across the DAZN platform. First time subscribers, in the US, can get a free 30-day trial with DAZN. That means you can watch this historic event for free. No excuses!

Bellator 206 Betting Recap

  • Gaston Bolanos (-420) over Gutierrez
  • Keri Melendez (-750) over Zimmerman
  • Aaron Pico (-570) over Higo
  • Douglas Lima (+100) over Koreshkov
  • Jackson (-265) over Silva
  • MacDonald (+215) over Mousasi

Bellator 206: Mousasi vs MacDonald Preliminary Card

The following Preliminary Card fights will begin at 7 PM ET. There are no betting odds for these fights, but I have picked winners for each fight:

  • Adam Piccolotti vs James Terry
  • Jeremiah Labiano vs Justin Smitley
  • Josh San Diego vs Joe Neal
  • Ignacio Ortiz vs Jacob Ycaro
  • Abraham Vaesau vs DeMarco Villalona
  • Arlene Blencowe vs Amber Leibrock
  • Joseph Ramirez vs Chuck Campbell
  • Anthony Figueroa vs Samuel Romero
  • Isaiah Batin-Gonzalez vs Khai Wu
  • Ricky Abdelaziz vs Laird Anderson
  • Cass Bell vs Ty Costa
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