MMASucka’s Bellator 226 Staff Picks

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MMASucka staff picks are in for Bellator 226 taking place tomorrow, September 7th from the SAP Center in San Jose, California. The card will begin live on DAZN at 10:00pm ET (7:00pm PT). This is the second of two staff picks this weekend; be sure to also check out our UFC 242 staff picks in Abu Dhabi a few hours before Bellator’s event.

The Fights

The heavyweight championship is on the line as current king Ryan Bader looks to defend against challenger Cheick Kongo.

Bader’s move to Bellator following a UFC stint saw immediate success. He would claim the light heavyweight strap with a split decision over Phil Davis, as well as a title defense over Linton Vassell. Bader then entered the promotion’s heavyweight Grand Prix for a chance to claim the vacant belt. A knockout and dominant decision would move him to the finals against Fedor Emelianenko, Bader showed his dominance with a 35-second knockout over the all-time great. His opponent, Kongo, also shared a UFC stint with highs and lows from 2006 to 2013. The Frenchman’s first shot for gold came in 2014 to then-undefeated Vitaly Minakov. A decision loss and and a 2-1 record to follow kicked off a surprising eight-fight win streak from to June of 2015 to now. Kongo’s last outing in February saw a rematch with Minakov, this time coming out with the win by decision.

Bellator 226 will see the start of the Featherweight World Grand Prix with four exciting opening round match-ups. In the co-main event, former two-time divisional champ Daniel Straus will take on 15-fight Bellator veteran Derek Campos. Another former title holder in Pat Curran looks to halt progress for the undefeated and dangerous finisher Adam Borics. The third 145-pound fight features Roufusport’s Emmanuel Sanchez is set to battle Cleveland, Ohio’s rising star Tywan Claxton. The final opening round pairing includes former TUF 15 competitor Sam Sicilia against the five-fight win streak of Pedro Carvalho.

Not in the tournament but also at featherweight, Gaston Bolanos aims to add to his impressive highlight reel when he faces Daniel “Scarey” Carey.

Staff Picks

Throughout the year, staff picks will be composed of four different MMA promotions: UFCBellatorONE, and RIZIN. Main cards will make up both UFC and Bellator picks, while the biggest fights to make up ONE and RIZIN events will be used. The WINNER of staff picks will have a choice between receiving a championship belt from ProAmBelts or a championship chain from Championship Chains. The 2018 winner was awarded to Michael DeSantis, compiling a record of 202-101.

Check out our MMASucka staff picks for Bellator 226 below.

Staff Records Following UFC Fight Night 157:

1. Connor Deitrich: 203-103
2. Michael DeSantis: 202-104
3. Ed Gallo: 196-111
4. Mitchell Banuelos: 189-105
5. Mike Skytte: 188-118
6. Jeremy Brand: 182-124
7. Brian Gerson: 176-99
8. Matt Bricker: 175-121
9. Ryan Wagner: 169-83
10. Ash Camyab: 161-113
11. Frazer Krohn: 89-54
12. Ryan Fortune: 71-31
13. Ryan Hobbs: 70-58
14. Suraj Sukumar: 58-26
15. McKenzie Guardiero: 47-31
16. Andrew Benjamin: 45-35
17. Tanner Russ: 2-2

Gaston Bolanos (5-1) vs. Daniel Carey (6-3)

Jeremy Brand: Bolanos via UD
Mike Skytte: Bolanos via Round 1 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Bolanos via Round 1 TKO
Mitch Banuelos: Bolanos via UD
Ed Gallo: Bolanos via Round 2 TKO
Matt Bricker: Bolanos via Round 1 TKO
Connor Deitrich: Bolanos via UD
Ash Camyab: Bolanos via Round 3 TKO
Ryan Hobbs: Bolanos via Round 2 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Carey via Round 1 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Bolanos via Round 2 TKO
Ryan Fortune: Bolanos via Round 1 TKO
McKenzie Guardiero: Bolanos via UD
Tanner Russ: Bolanos via Round 1 TKO

Staff picking Bolanos: 13
Staff picking Carey: 1

Sam Sicilia (17-9) vs. Pedro Carvalho (10-3)

Jeremy Brand: Sicilia via Round 2 TKO
Mike Skytte: Carvalho via Round 3 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Carvalho via Round 2 SUB
Mitch Banuelos: Sicilia via UD
Ed Gallo: Carvalho via UD
Matt Bricker: Carvalho via Round 1 SUB
Connor Deitrich: Carvalho via UD
Ash Camyab: Carvalho via Round 2 TKO
Ryan Hobbs: Sicilia via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Sicilia via UD
Frazer Krohn: Carvalho via Round 1 TKO
Ryan Fortune: Carvalho via Round 2 SUB
McKenzie Guardiero: Sicilia via UD
Tanner Russ: Sicilia via UD

Staff picking Sicilia: 6
Staff picking Carvalho: 8

Tywan Claxton (5-0) vs. Emmanuel Sanchez (18-4)

Jeremy Brand: Claxton via UD
Mike Skytte: Claxton via UD
Michael DeSantis: Sanchez via UD
Mitch Banuelos: Claxton via UD
Ed Gallo: Sanchez via Round 3 SUB
Matt Bricker: Claxton via UD
Connor Deitrich: Claxton via UD
Ash Camyab: Sanchez via UD
Ryan Hobbs: Sanchez via Round 2 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Claxton via Round 1 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Sanchez via SD
Ryan Fortune: Sanchez via UD
McKenzie Guardiero: Sanchez via Round 3 TKO
Tanner Russ: Sanchez via UD

Staff picking Claxton: 6
Staff picking Sanchez: 8

Pat Curran (23-8) vs. Adam Borics (9-0)

Jeremy Brand: Curran via UD
Mike Skytte: Borics via Round 1 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Curran via UD
Mitch Banuelos: Curran via UD
Ed Gallo: Curran via UD
Matt Bricker: Curran via UD
Connor Deitrich: Curran via UD
Ash Camyab: Curran via UD
Ryan Hobbs: Curran via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Borics via Round 1 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Curran via UD
Ryan Fortune: Curran via SD
McKenzie Guardiero: Borics via UD
Tanner Russ: Curran via UD

Staff picking Curran: 11
Staff picking Borics: 3

Daniel Straus (25-8) vs. Derek Campos (19-9)

Jeremy Brand: Campos via UD
Mike Skytte: Straus via Round 3 SUB
Michael DeSantis: Straus via Round 1 SUB
Mitch Banuelos: Campos via UD
Ed Gallo: Straus via UD
Matt Bricker: Straus via UD
Connor Deitrich: Campos via UD
Ash Camyab: Campos via Round 3 TKO
Ryan Hobbs: Campos via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Straus via UD
Frazer Krohn: Straus via Round 2 SUB
Ryan Fortune: Straus via UD
McKenzie Guardiero: Straus via Round 2 TKO
Tanner Russ: Campos via Round 2 TKO

Staff picking Straus: 8
Staff picking Campos: 6

Ryan Bader (27-5) vs. Cheick Kongo (30-10-2)

Jeremy Brand: Bader via Round 2 TKO
Mike Skytte: Bader via Round 2 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Bader via Round 3 TKO
Mitch Banuelos: Bader via Round 2 TKO
Ed Gallo: Bader via Round 2 TKO
Matt Bricker: Bader via Round 1 TKO
Connor Deitrich: Bader via Round 3 TKO
Ash Camyab: Kongo via Round 1 TKO
Ryan Hobbs: Bader via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Bader via Round 1 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Bader via Round 2 TKO
Ryan Fortune: Bader via Round 1 TKO
McKenzie Guardiero: Bader via Round 1 TKO
Tanner Russ: Bader via UD

Staff picking Bader: 13
Staff picking Kongo: 1


Bellator 226

Heavyweight champion Ryan Bader (left) gets shoved by challenger Cheick Kongo ahead of their main event title fight at Bellator 226 taking place Saturday, September 7 from the SAP Center in San Jose, California (photo credits to Bellator MMA)


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Wesley Riddle is a 29-year-old writer residing in Raleigh, North Carolina and from Harrisonburg, Virginia. Watching the draw between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard from 2011 sparked his interest in the sport of mixed martial arts. He created "All That MMA" on Twitter, which came to birth in December of 2013. He would join with MMASucka in the later quarter of 2016. Some of Riddle's hobbies include music, playing golf, watching horror movies, and working with non-profit organizations throughout his community. You can follow him on Twitter at @AllThatMMA or @WesleyRiddleMMA, and on Instagram @WesleyRiddle.

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