MMASucka’s Bellator 261 Staff Picks

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MMASucka staff picks are locked in for Bellator 261 with future title implications on the line. The fights will take place later this evening, June 25 from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Bellator’s 13th straight event from the Connecticut arena. Showtime will feature the main card beginning live at 9:00pm ET (6:00pm PT).

Check out our staff picks for tonight’s PFL 6 2021 event in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Also, stay tuned to MMASucka Saturday afternoon for our UFC Vegas 30 picks.

The Fights

The promotion’s interim heavyweight championship will be crowned in the featured bout of the night between Tim Johnson and Valentin Moldavsky.

Former champion of the division, Ryan Bader, remains the current divisional king though currently competing in Bellator’s Grand Prix at light heavyweight.

Johnson is set for his first title shot since his reign as Dakota FC champion in 2014. A two-fight skid to begin his Bellator tenure was followed with three-straight victories in 2020 including two first-round knockouts of Tyrell Fortune and Matt Mitrione. Johnson’s opponent, Moldvasky, gets his biggest test to date after a slow but undefeated climb with Bellator. The FedorTeam standout looks to utilize his evolving game as he has done in ten professional victories, suffering a lone professional blemish to Amir Aliakbari in RIZIN.

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Flyweights Liz Carmouche and Kana Watanabe will faceoff in the co-main event. Former UFC title challenger Carmouche hopes for a third-straight win since signing to Bellator in the later portion of 2020. Japan’s Watanabe aims to stay undefeated in MMA with six finishes of her ten opponents.

See all of our staff picks for the remaining Bellator 261 pairings further below.

Staff Picks

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.

See our Bellator 261: Johnson vs. Moldavsky staff picks below.

Staff Records after UFC Vegas 29

1T. Wesley Riddle: 90-61
1T. Nate Freeman: 90-61
3. Michael DeSantis: 89-62
4. Frazer Krohn: 86-65
5T. Jeremy Brand: 81-71
5T. Ash Camyab: 81-61
7. Mike Lynch: 78-68
8. Joshua Yule: 77-55
9. Mitchell Banuelos: 73-74
10. Tim Wheaton: 67-50
11. Andrew Benjamin: 66-71
12. Kenny Lee: 65-57
13. Matt Bricker: 49-55
14. Brandon Joint: 18-10

*Note – not all staff pick for every event*

Christian Edwards (4-0) vs. Simon Biyong (7-1)

Jeremy Brand: Biyong via UD
Wesley Riddle: Edwards via Round 3 SUB
Michael DeSantis: Edwards via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Edwards via UD
Ash Camyab: Edwards via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Biyong via Round 1 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Edwards via UD
Mike Lynch: Edwards via Round 2 TKO
Nate Freeman: Edwards via Round 2 TKO
Tim Wheaton: Edwards via UD
Brandon Joint: Edwards via Round 1 TKO

Staff picking Edwards: 9
Staff picking Biyong: 2

Myles Jury (19-5) vs. Sidney Outlaw (15-4)

Jeremy Brand: Jury via UD
Wesley Riddle: Jury via SD
Michael DeSantis: Jury via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Jury via UD
Ash Camyab: Jury via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Jury via UD
Frazer Krohn: Jury via UD
Mike Lynch: Outlaw via Round 2 TKO
Nate Freeman: Jury via SD
Tim Wheaton: Jury via UD
Brandon Joint: Jury via UD

Staff picking Jury: 10
Staff picking Outlaw: 1

Daniel Weichel (40-12) vs. Keoni Diggs (9-0)

Jeremy Brand: Weichel via UD
Wesley Riddle: Diggs via Round 2 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Diggs via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Weichel via UD
Ash Camyab: Diggs via Round 3 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Weichel via UD
Frazer Krohn: Weichel via UD
Mike Lynch: Weichel via UD
Nate Freeman: Weichel via SD
Tim Wheaton: Weichel via UD
Brandon Joint: Weichel via UD

Staff picking Weichel: 8
Staff picking Diggs: 3

Liz Carmouche (15-7) vs. Kana Watanabe (10-0-1)

Jeremy Brand: Carmouche via UD
Wesley Riddle: Carmouche via UD
Michael DeSantis: Carmouche via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Carmouche via UD
Ash Camyab: Carmouche via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Watanabe via SD
Frazer Krohn: Carmouche via UD
Mike Lynch: Carmouche via UD
Nate Freeman: Carmouche via SD
Tim Wheaton: Watanabe via UD
Brandon Joint: Carmouche via UD

Staff picking Carmouche: 9
Staff picking Watanabe: 2

Tim Johnson (15-6) vs. Valentin Moldavsky (10-1)

Jeremy Brand: Johnson via UD
Wesley Riddle: Moldavsky via Round 1 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Moldavsky via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Johnson via UD
Ash Camyab: Johnson via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Johnson via Round 2 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Moldavsky via Round 2 TKO
Mike Lynch: Moldavsky via Round 1 TKO
Nate Freeman: Moldavsky via UD
Tim Wheaton: Moldavsky via UD
Brandon Joint: Moldavsky via Round 2 TKO

Staff picking Johnson: 4
Staff picking Moldavsky: 7


Bellator 261

Daniel Weichel (left) and Keoni Diggs at weigh-ins ahead of their Bellator 261 fight taking place Friday, June 25 from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut (photo credits to Bellator MMA).

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Wesley Riddle is a 29-year-old writer residing in Raleigh, North Carolina from Harrisonburg, Virginia. He has been part of the MMASucka team since the fourth quarter of 2016. Additionally, he serves as a writer with partner site Last Word on Motorsports.

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