Another double-header weekend for our MMASucka staff picks has arrived. Action kicks off later tonight, May 21 with Bellator 259 taking place from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The main card will begin at 9:00pm ET (6:00pm PT) live on Showtime.
Stay tuned to MMASucka tomorrow afternoon for our UFC Vegas 27 picks.
Featherweight gold is on the line in tonight’s main event between current champion Cris Cyborg and challenger Leslie Smith. The fight comes as a rematch, Cyborg having finished Smith by knockout in their 2016 UFC fight. Cyborg captured the divisional strap upon her promotional Bellator debut in January last year with a victory over Julia Budd. Tonight’s fight will be Cyborg’s second title defense attempt as she continues to establish her legacy as one of the best in MMA history. Smith looks to steal the show with a potential upset, contending for her first title since December of 2013. The Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu fighter sits at 4-1 through her last five bouts, most recently defeating Amanda Bell in September.
Darrion Caldwell and Leandro Higo are set to battle at a catchweight of 137.5 pounds in tonight’s co-main slot. Former bantamweight champion Caldwell looks to rebound after a quick loss to A.J. McKee in November, resulting his elimination from the promotion’s featherweight Grand Prix. Brazil’s Higo looks to extend upon his two-fight win streak and avenge a prior defeat to Caldwell from 2018.
With Christian Edwards being pulled from the event, his fight with Ben Parrish has been scrapped entirely and will not be included in our picks.
See the remaining Bellator 259 fights counted further below.
Throughout the calendar year, staff picks will be composed of main card fights from UFC and Bellator events and a variety of fights from PFL MMA. Dana White’s Contender Series will make its debut in the summer months.
The WINNER of staff picks in 2021 will have a choice between receiving a custom-made championship belt from ProAmBelts or chain from Championship Chains. For the third straight year, Michael DeSantis captured the 2020 victory compiling a record of 201-88.
Check out our staff picks for Bellator 259: Cyborg vs. Smith II below.
Staff Records after UFC 262:
1. Wesley Riddle: 70-44
2. Nate Freeman: 68-46
3T. Ash Camyab: 66-43
3T. Frazer Krohn: 66-48
5. Michael DeSantis: 65-49
6. Joshua Yule: 64-50
7. Jeremy Brand: 62-53
8. Mitchell Banuelos: 60-54
9. Mike Lynch: 56-53
10. Kenny Lee: 55-49
11. Tim Wheaton: 47-33
12. Andrew Benjamin: 46-54
13. Matt Bricker: 43-47
*Note – not all staff pick for every event*
Austin Vanderford (10-0) vs. Fabian Edwards (9-1)
Wesley Riddle: Edwards via UD
Michael DeSantis: Edwards via UD
Matt Bricker: Edwards via SD
Ash Camyab: Edwards via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Edwards via UD
Frazer Krohn: Edwards via UD
Mike Lynch: Vanderford via Round 1 SUB
Nate Freeman: Vanderford via Round 2 SUB
Tim Wheaton: Edwards via UD
Staff picking Vanderford: 2
Staff picking Edwards: 7
Jaleel Willis (14-2) vs. Maycon Mendonca (11-4)
Wesley Riddle: Willis via UD
Michael DeSantis: Willis via UD
Matt Bricker: Willis via Round 2 TKO
Ash Camyab: Mendonca via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Willis via UD
Frazer Krohn: Mendonca via UD
Mike Lynch: Willis via Round 1 TKO
Nate Freeman: Willis via UD
Tim Wheaton: Willis via UD
Staff picking Willis: 7
Staff picking Mendonca: 2
Darrion Caldwell (15-4) vs. Leandro Higo (20-5)
Wesley Riddle: Caldwell via Round 1 SUB
Michael DeSantis: Caldwell via UD
Matt Bricker: Caldwell via Round 2 SUB
Ash Camyab: Caldwell via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Higo via Round 2 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Caldwell via Round 3 SUB
Mike Lynch: Caldwell via UD
Nate Freeman: Caldwell via Round 3 SUB
Tim Wheaton: Caldwell via Round 3 SUB
Staff picking Caldwell: 8
Staff picking Higo: 1
Cris Cyborg (23-2) vs. Leslie Smith (12-8-1)
Wesley Riddle: Cyborg via Round 1 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Cyborg via Round 1 TKO
Matt Bricker: Cyborg via Round 1 TKO
Ash Camyab: Cyborg via Round 1 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Cyborg via Round 1 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Cyborg via Round 2 TKO
Mike Lynch: Cyborg via Round 3 TKO
Nate Freeman: Cyborg via Round 1 TKO
Tim Wheaton: Cyborg via Round 1 TKO
Staff picking Cyborg: 9
Staff picking Smith: 0