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MMASucka’s Bellator 288 Staff Picks

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MMASucka staff picks are locked in for the championship-crowning night ahead.

Bellator 288 will take place in just a few short hours today, November 18th from the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. This comes as the promotion’s return to the city for the first time since Bellator 25 in August of 2010 and only the fourth time from Chicago in Bellator history. The 2017-constructed venue was set to host an event in June of 2020 before its cancellation as a result from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Tonight’s fight card will begin with the preliminary card at 6:00pm ET (3:00pm PT) live on Bellator’s YouTube channel with the main card kicking off at 9:00pm ET (6:00pm PT) on Showtime. Live results from the entirety of Bellator 288: Nemkov vs. Anderson 2 will be available here at MMASucka.

Stay tuned for our second staff picks “Fight Night” as UFC Vegas 65: Lewis vs. Spivak concludes our double-header on Saturday.

The Fights

Current light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov and challenger Corey Anderson will meet in the featured five-round main event to settle the Bellator World Grand Prix Tournament. Their first meeting in April ended late in round three due a cut on Nemkov resulting from an accidental clash of heads. The winner of tonight’s event will walk away as both the divisional title holder and with a one million dollar prize.

Nemkov’s reign as champion saw two tournament-run title defenses in 2021 after securing the title from Ryan Bader by knockout in August of 2020. The Russian Sambo specialist will look to secure his tenth straight victory and the hopeful 16th win of his professional MMA career. His opponent, Anderson, advanced his way through the tournament with knockouts over Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov and the aforementioned Bader. A former champion of The Ultimate Fighter, Anderson brings a similar grappling ability with his NCAA Division II wrestling background as he targets an eighth win in his last ten fights.

The second title fight of the night comes in the co-main event between Patricky Pitbull and Usman Nurmagomedov for the Bellator lightweight title.

Longtime promotional face and current champion Pitbull hopes for his first-ever title defense since taking the vacant belt last November over Peter Queally by knockout in the second round. Meanwhile, American Kickboxing Academy’s Nurmagomedov aims to remain undefeated in search for his 16th victory and a title back to Russia in only his fifth Bellator fight.

Additional fighters making up the main card include German veteran Daniel Weichel and dangerous athlete Tyrell Fortune taking on their respected opponents. Find our MMASucka staff picks for Bellator 288 further below.

Staff Picks

Staff picks in 2022 will follow the same set of rules from the 2021 season. Throughout the calendar year, staff picks will be composed of main card fights from both UFC and Bellator events. Main card fights and selected preliminary fights will be included for PFL MMA. Dana White’s Contender Series are composed of the entire fight card.

The WINNER of staff picks in 2022 will have a choice between receiving a custom-made championship belt from ProAmBelts or a chain from Championship Chains. A winner is determined simply by the individual correctly picking the most victorious fighters at the year’s end. Nate Freeman secured his first victory with MMASucka in 2021 with a compiled record 243-136.

See who is picked to win for tonight’s Bellator 288: Nemkov vs. Anderson 2 below.


Staff Records after UFC 281:

1. Wesley Riddle: 236-122
2. Michael DeSantis: 232-126
3. Frazer Krohn: 231-127
4. Nate Freeman: 225-218
5. Jeremy Brand: 217-135
6. Andrew Benjamin: 199-145
7. Tim Wheaton: 177-106
8. Julio Monteros Jr.: 175-100
9. William Dong: 173-106
10. Chris Presnell: 170-120
11. Brian Knight: 142-103
12. Jack Goodwillie: 131-68
13. Mike Lynch: 123-74
14. Brandon Joint: 115-74
15. Ash Camyab: 105-77
16. Coby Weinsier: 87-47
17. Roemello Reyes: 75-45
18. Chinyere Okafor: 72-38
19. Jacek Okninski: 70-58
20. Ben Jamieson: 48-26
21. Matt Bricker: 24-22
22. Joe Porter: 11-5

*Note – not all staff pick for every event*


Roman Faraldo (8-0), -175
vs.
Levan Chokheli (10-2, 1 NC), +150

Welterweight Division
– 170 lbs. –

Jeremy Brand: Faraldo via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Faraldo via Unanimous Decision
Michael DeSantis: Faraldo via Round 1 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Faraldo via Round 3 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Faraldo via Unanimous Decision
Nate Freeman: Faraldo via Round 2 TKO
Tim Wheaton: Faraldo via Unanimous Decision
Julio Monteros Jr.: Faraldo via Round 2 TKO

Staff picking Faraldo: 8
Staff picking Chokheli: 0


Tyrell Fortune (12-2, 1 NC), -285
vs.
Daniel James (13-6-1), +240

Heavyweight Division
– 265 lbs. –

Jeremy Brand: Fortune via Round 2 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Fortune via Round 2 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Fortune via Round 2 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Fortune via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Fortune via Unanimous Decision
Nate Freeman: Fortune via Round 1 TKO
Tim Wheaton: Fortune via Round 1 TKO
Julio Monteros Jr.: Fortune via Round 1 TKO

Staff picking Fortune: 8
Staff picking James: 0


Daniel Weichel (42-13), +275
vs.
Timur Khizriev (11-0), -330

Featherweight Division
– 145 lbs. –

Jeremy Brand: Khizriev via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Khizriev via Unanimous Decision
Michael DeSantis: Khizriev via Unanimous Decision
Andrew Benjamin: Weichel via Split Decision
Frazer Krohn: Weichel via Round 1 TKO
Nate Freeman: Khizriev via Unanimous Decision
Tim Wheaton: Khizriev via Unanimous Decision
Julio Monteros Jr.: Khizriev via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Weichel: 2
Staff picking Khizriev: 6


Patricky Pitbull (24-10), +575
vs.
Usman Nurmagomedov (15-0), -800

Lightweight Divisional Championship
Co-Main Event

– 155 lbs. –

Jeremy Brand: Nurmagomedov via Round 2 SUB
Wesley Riddle: Nurmagomedov via Round 3 SUB
Michael DeSantis: Nurmagomedov via Round 2 SUB
Andrew Benjamin: Pitbull via Round 2 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Nurmagomedov via Round 3 SUB
Nate Freeman: Nurmagomedov via Unanimous Decision
Tim Wheaton: Nurmagomedov via Unanimous Decision
Julio Monteros Jr.: Nurmagomedov via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Pitbull: 1
Staff picking Nurmagomedov: 7


Vadim Nemkov (15-2, 1 NC), +190
vs.
Corey Anderson (16-5, 1 NC), -225

Light Heavyweight Divisional Championship
Main Event

– 205 lbs. –

Jeremy Brand: Nemkov via Round 3 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Anderson via Round 5 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Anderson via Unanimous Decision
Andrew Benjamin: Anderson via Round 3 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Anderson via Round 3 TKO
Nate Freeman: Anderson via Unanimous Decision
Tim Wheaton: Anderson via Unanimous Decision
Julio Monteros Jr.: Anderson via Round 3 TKO

Staff picking Nemkov: 1
Staff picking Anderson: 7

*Fight odds from DraftKings*

BELLATOR 288 FEATURED IMAGE:

Bellator 288

Patricky Pitbull (left) and Usman Nurmagomedov at weigh-ins ahead of their lightweight championship fight at Bellator 288 on Friday, November 18th from the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois (photo credits to Bellator MMA).

 

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Wesley Riddle is a 25-year-old writer out of Harrisonburg, Virginia and a recent graduate from Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, having obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Health and 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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