MMASucka’s Bellator 233 Staff Picks

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The second part of our triple-header weekend is in for MMASucka staff picks. Later tonight, Bellator 233 will go down from the WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma. The four-fight main card will begin at 9:00pm ET (6:00pm PT) live on Paramount Network. See our picks from this morning’s ONE Championship: Masters of Fate card. Stay tuned to MMASucka early tomorrow for our UFC Fight Night 163 picks.

The Fights

Top middleweights collide in the main event of the night between John Salter and Costello van Steenis. Salter’s time with Bellator began in early 2015 racking up  victories over veterans including the likes of Kendall Grove and former divisional champion Brandon Halsey. A title elimination fight with Rafael Lovato Jr. would come as his third professional defeat in September last year, but he would rebound two months later with a first-round finish over Chidi Njokuani. The BJJ black belt will look tonight for a tenth career submission victory. His opponent, van Steenis, looks to become the next big combat star out of the Netherlands. A lone blemish in 2015 comes as his only defeat thus far throughout his five-year career. Van Steenis is fresh off a second-round knockout over the 13-fight win streak of Mike Shipman having captured the win in enemy territory.

In the co-main event slot, former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Muhammed Lawal takes on promotional newcomer Andrew Kapel at 205 pounds. “King Mo” looks not only to snap a three-fight skid but to get his hand raised as this will be his final fight before retirement. Kapel will look for a fifth straight victory fresh off a first-round submission title victory with Hoosier FC.

Also on the main card includes the always entertaining Leslie Smith and Arelene Blencowe set to clash in the featherweight division. Former Division II NCAA champion Tyrell Fortune will meet three-time Cage Fury FC heavyweight champion Zu Anyanwu. See the remaining Bellator 233 fights counted for our staff picks tonight further below.

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 233: Salter vs. Van Steenis below.

Staff Records after UFC 244:

1T. Michael DeSantis: 266-151
1T. Connor Deitrich: 266-151
3. Ed Gallo: 256-157
4. Mitchell Banuelos: 250-153
5. Mike Skytte: 247-170
6. Jeremy Brand: 245-171
7. Matt Bricker: 231-173
8. Ash Camyab: 216-163
9. Frazer Krohn: 145-104
10. Ryan Hobbs: 127-112
11. Andrew Benjamin: 107-78
12. McKenzie Guardiero: 101-79
13. Tanner Russ: 75-40
14. Dan Rose: 59-42
15. Mike Lynch: 32-30

*Staff records will be updated next week with cards from this weekend*

Tyrell Fortune (7-0) vs. Zu Anyanwu (15-5)

Jeremy Brand: Fortune via UD
Mike Skytte: Fortune via Round 3 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Fortune via Round 2 TKO
Ed Gallo: Anyanwu via Round 1 TKO
Matt Bricker: Fortune via UD
Connor Deitrich: Fortune via UD
Ash Camyab: Fortune via Round 1 TKO
Ryan Hobbs: Fortune via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Anyanwu via UD
Frazer Krohn: Fortune via SD
McKenzie Guardiero: Fortune via SD
Tanner Russ: Fortune via Round 1 TKO
Dan Rose: Fortune via Round 2 TKO
Mike Lynch: Fortune via UD

Staff picking Fortune: 12
Staff picking Anyanwu: 2

Leslie Smith (11-7-1) vs. Arlene Blencowe (12-7)

Jeremy Brand: Smith via UD
Mike Skytte: Smith via SD
Michael DeSantis: Smith via UD
Ed Gallo: Smith via UD
Matt Bricker: Smith via UD
Connor Deitrich: Smith via UD
Ash Camyab: Smith via UD
Ryan Hobbs: Smith via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Smith via UD
Frazer Krohn: Smith via UD
McKenzie Guardiero: Smith via SD
Tanner Russ: Smith via UD
Dan Rose: Blencowe via Round 1 TKO
Mike Lynch: Smith via Round 2 SUB

Staff picking Smith: 13
Staff picking Blencowe: 1

Muhammed Lawal (21-8) vs. Andrew Kapel (14-6)

Jeremy Brand: Lawal via UD
Mike Skytte: Lawal via UD
Michael DeSantis: Lawal via UD
Ed Gallo: Lawal via Round 1 TKO
Matt Bricker: Lawal via UD
Connor Deitrich: Lawal via Round 1 TKO
Ash Camyab: Lawal via Round 3 TKO
Ryan Hobbs: Lawal via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Lawal via Round 1 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Lawal via Round 1 TKO
McKenzie Guardiero: Lawal via Round 2 TKO
Tanner Russ: Lawal via Round 1 TKO
Dan Rose: Kapel via Round 1 SUB
Mike Lynch: Lawal via Round 3 TKO

Staff picking Lawal: 13
Staff picking Kapel: 1

John Salter (16-4) vs. Costello van Steenis (12-1)

Jeremy Brand: Salter via UD
Mike Skytte: Salter via UD
Michael DeSantis: Salter via Round 1 SUB
Ed Gallo: van Steenis via Round 2 TKO
Matt Bricker: Salter via UD
Connor Deitrich: van Steenis via Round 1 TKO
Ash Camyab: van Steenis via UD
Ryan Hobbs: van Steenis via Round 3 SUB
Andrew Benjamin: Salter via UD
Frazer Krohn: Salter via Round 2 SUB
McKenzie Guardiero: Salter via UD
Tanner Russ: Salter via Round 1 SUB
Dan Rose: Salter via Round 2 SUB
Mike Lynch: van Steenis via Round 1 TKO

Staff picking Salter: 9
Staff picking van Steenis: 5


Bellator 233

Muhammed Lawal (left) and Andrew Kapel (right) at weigh-ins ahead of their Bellator 233 co-main event fight taking place Friday, November 8th from the WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma (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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