MMASucka’s Bellator 263 Staff Picks

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The second of two fight cards for our MMASucka staff picks this weekend are locked in. Bellator 263 will come about in just a few short hours from The Forum in Inglewood, California. This will mark the promotion’s first event away from the Mohegan Sun Arena since October of last year. Tonight’s main card will kick off at 10:00pm ET (7:00pm PT) live on Showtime.

Make sure to check out our UFC Vegas 33 picks, the main card starting at 9:00pm ET (6:00pm PT) on ESPN and ESPN+ an hour prior to Bellator 263.

The Fights

Gold is on the line in one of the most highly-anticipated fights of 2021 between Patricio Freire and AJ McKee for the Bellator featherweight championship. The fight will mark the end of the promotion’s near two-year divisional Grand Prix tournament, the winning opponent tonight receiving a prize of one million dollars. “Pitbull” Freire managed to defend his title in all three of his bracket pairings, most recently stopping Emmanuel Sanchez with a guillotine inside the first round. McKee remains undefeated through 17 professional fights having advanced through the tournament with two of three sub-90 second finishes of Georgi Karakhanyan and Darrion Caldwell.

Additional featherweights of Mads Burnell and the aforementioned Emmanuel Sanchez will meet in the co-main event. Denmark’s Burnell will look for seven wins in-a-row, capturing two Bellator victories and a Cage Warriors championship all since late 2018. Two-time title challenger Sanchez will aim to rebound following his April loss to Freire, having won in three of his last four appearances.

See the remaining Bellator 263 fights for our staff picks 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 August.

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 Bellator 263: Pitbull vs. McKee staff picks below.

Staff Records after UFC Vegas 32:

1. Nate Freeman: 117-69
2. Wesley Riddle: 116-70
3. Michael DeSantis: 113-73
4. Frazer Krohn: 107-79
5. Ash Camyab: 103-74
6. Jeremy Brand: 101-86
7T. Mitchell Banuelos: 98-84
7T. Mike Lynch: 98-83
9. Tim Wheaton: 86-63
10. Andrew Benjamin: 78-85
11. Kenny Lee: 77-64
12. Matt Bricker: 57-57
13. Brandon Joint: 43-20
14. Maria Morales: 5-0
15. Chris Presnell: 2-3

*Note – not all staff pick for every event*
*Note – UFC Vegas 33 picks will be added to the above records NEXT weekend*

Goiti Yamauchi (25-5) vs. Chris Gonzalez (6-0)

Jeremy Brand: Yamauchi via UD
Wesley Riddle: Yamauchi via Round 1 SUB
Michael DeSantis: Yamauchi via Round 2 SUB
Mitchell Banuelos: Yamauchi via UD
Ash Camyab: Yamauchi via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Yamauchi via Round 1 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Yamauchi via UD
Mike Lynch: Yamauchi via UD
Nate Freeman: Yamauchi via UD
Brandon Joint: Yamauchi via UD
Maria Morales: Yamauchi via Round 2 SUB
Chris Presnell: Yamauchi via Round 3 SUB

Staff picking Yamauchi: 12
Staff picking Gonzalez: 0

Brent Primus (10-1) vs. Islam Mamedov (19-1-1)

Jeremy Brand: Primus via UD
Wesley Riddle: Mamedov via UD
Michael DeSantis: Mamedov via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Mamedov via UD
Ash Camyab: Mamedov via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Primus via Round 2 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Primus via SD
Mike Lynch: Primus via UD
Nate Freeman: Mamedov via UD
Brandon Joint: Mamedov via UD
Maria Morales: Mamedov via UD
Chris Presnell: Mamedov via SD

Staff picking Primus: 4
Staff picking Mamedov: 8

Usman Nurmagomedov (12-0) vs. Manny Muro (12-6)

Jeremy Brand: Nurmagomedov via Round 2 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Nurmagomedov via Round 1 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Nurmagomedov via Round 2 TKO
Mitchell Banuelos: Nurmagomedov via UD
Ash Camyab: Nurmagomedov via Round 3 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Nurmagomedov via UD
Frazer Krohn: Nurmagomedov via Round 2 TKO
Mike Lynch: Nurmagomedov via Round 1 TKO
Nate Freeman: Nurmagomedov via Round 1 TKO
Brandon Joint: Nurmagomedov via Round 3 TKO
Maria Morales: Nurmagomedov via Round 2 TKO
Chris Presnell: Nurmagomedov via SD

Staff picking Nurmagomedov: 12
Staff picking Muro: 0

Emmanuel Sanchez (20-5) vs. Mads Burnell (15-3)

Jeremy Brand: Burnell via UD
Wesley Riddle: Sanchez via SD
Michael DeSantis: Burnell via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Burnell via UD
Ash Camyab: Burnell via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Sanchez via UD
Frazer Krohn: Burnell via UD
Mike Lynch: Burnell via UD
Nate Freeman: Sanchez via SD
Brandon Joint: Burnell via UD
Maria Morales: Sanchez via UD
Chris Presnell: Burnell via UD

Staff picking Sanchez: 4
Staff picking Burnell: 8

Patricio Freire (32-4) vs. AJ McKee (17-0)

Jeremy Brand: Freire via Round 2 TKO
Wesley Riddle: McKee via UD
Michael DeSantis: Freire via SD
Mitchell Banuelos: Freire via Round 1 TKO
Ash Camyab: Freire via Round 2 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: McKee via SD
Frazer Krohn: McKee via SD
Mike Lynch: McKee via Round 3 TKO
Nate Freeman: McKee via SD
Brandon Joint: Freire via UD
Maria Morales: McKee via Round 3 TKO
Chris Presnell: McKee via Round 4 TKO

Staff picking Freire: 5
Staff picking McKee: 7


Bellator 263

Emmanuel Sanchez (left) aside Mads Burnell at weigh-ins ahead of their main card bout taking place at Bellator 263 on Saturday, July 31st from The Forum in Inglewood, California (photo credits to Bellator MMA).


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Wesley Riddle is a 28-year-old writer out of Harrisonburg, Virginia and a 2018 graduate from Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, having obtained a B.S. in Health & Physical Education. 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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