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MMASucka’s Bellator 290 Staff Picks

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A double-header for MMASucka staff picks kicks off the new month.

Later tonight, February 4th, will see Bellator 290 take place from the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California. The promotion returns to the city and venue for the first time since Bellator 263 in late July of 2021. Preliminary action will begin at 6:00pm ET (3:00pm PT) live on both YouTube and Pluto TV. The main card, featuring two divisional championships, is set to kick off at 9:00pm ET (6:00pm PT) on CBS and Paramount+.

Results from the entire Bellator 290: Bader vs. Fedor 2 event will be available here at MMASucka.

Also, stay tuned to MMASucka this afternoon for our staff picks from UFC Vegas 68: Lewis vs. Spivak.

The Fights

In the featured main event, Bellator’s heavyweight championship is on the line between current champion Ryan Bader and challenger Fedor Emelianenko. The fight comes as a rematch just over four years from their January of 2019 matchup for the vacant title where Bader only needed 35 seconds to finish Emelianenko by knockout.

Title holder Bader has yet to lose the heavyweight strap since the very knockout, defending his belt twice last year over Valentin Moldvasky and Cheick Kongo by unanimous decisions. His only two defeats since, both technical knockouts, came at light heavyweight where he lost the light heavyweight title to Vadim Nemkov in August of 2020 and a semifinal Grand Prix matchup to Corey Anderson in October of 2021. Bader’s opponent, Emelianenko, will grace the cage one final time in his retirement fight after roughly 23 years of professional mixed martial arts. The all-time great and former RINGS tournament winner, three-time defending PRIDE champion, and two-time defending WAMMA king  looks to close out the show with a Bellator belt in his 48th career fight.

The night’s second title fight will come in the co-main event between Johnny Eblen and Anatoly Tokov for the middleweight championship. Former NCAA Division I wrestler and American Top Team standout Eblen remains undefeated at twelve-and-zero where he captured the 185-pound title with a unanimous decision over veteran Gegard Mousasi in June of last year. Former ACB middleweight champion Tokov has only faced defeat twice through 33 fights dating back to November of 2009 and currently rides a win streak of seven wins.

Opening the main card sees a must-watch fight as Sabah Homasi meets Brennan Ward in the welterweight division.

Additionally, a welterweight pairing between Neiman Gracie and Dante Schiro, headlining the preliminary card, will be counted towards our staff picks.

Who is picked to win at Bellator 290? Find MMASucka’s verdicts further below.

Staff Picks

MMASucka staff picks are composed of five promotions throughout all of 2023: the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Bellator MMA, ONE Championship, the Professional Fighters League (PFL), and Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS). UFC and Bellator events feature picks from only main cards. PFL will feature select fights from the main and preliminary card while DWCS sees all fights counted from the event. ONE Championship returns to picks for the first time since 2020 and will feature only mixed martial arts (MMA) fights selected from cards with a minimum of three matchups.

The WINNER of staff picks at the end of 2023 will have a choice between receiving a custom-made championship belt from ProAmBelts or a chain from Championship Chains. Wesley Riddle won staff picks in 2022 with a record of 264-135.

See our Bellator 290: Bader vs. Fedor 2 picks below.


Staff Records after UFC 283:

1T. Nate Freeman: 9-4
1T. Ben Jamieson: 9-4
3T. Jeremy Brand: 8-5
3T. Tim Wheaton: 8-5
3T. Brian Knight: 8-5
3T. Roemello Reyes: 8-5
7T. Wesley Riddle: 7-6
7T. Frazer Krohn: 7-6
7T. Brandon Joint: 7-6
7T. Jack Goodwillie: 7-6
7T. Joshua Yule: 7-6
12T. Michael DeSantis: 6-7
12T. Andrew Benjamin: 6-7
12T. Andrew Harbaugh: 6-2
15. Julio Monteros Jr.: 3-2

*Note – not all staff pick for every event*


Neiman Gracie (11-4), -265
vs.
Dante Schiro (9-4), +225

Welterweight Division
– 170 lbs. –

Jeremy Brand: Gracie via Round 1 SUB
Wesley Riddle: Gracie via Round 2 SUB
Michael DeSantis: Gracie via Round 2 SUB
Andrew Benjamin: Gracie via Round 1 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Gracie via Round 3 SUB
Nate Freeman: Gracie via Round 2 SUB
Tim Wheaton: Gracie via Round 3 SUB
Brandon Joint: Gracie via Round 1 SUB
Julio Monteros Jr.: Gracie via Round 2 SUB
Brian Knight: Gracie via Unanimous Decision
Jack Goodwillie: Gracie via Round 2 SUB
Roemello Reyes: Gracie via Round 3 SUB
Ben Jamieson: Gracie via Round 2 SUB

Staff picking Gracie: 13
Staff picking Schiro: 0


Sabah Homasi (17-10), -180
vs.
Brennan Ward (16-6), +155

Welterweight Division
– 170 lbs. –

Jeremy Brand: Ward via Round 2 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Homasi via Split Decision
Michael DeSantis: Homasi via Round 2 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Ward via Round 2 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Homasi via Round 1 TKO
Nate Freeman: Ward via Round 2 TKO
Tim Wheaton: Homasi via Round 1 TKO
Brandon Joint: Ward via Round 2 TKO
Julio Monteros Jr.: Homasi via Round 2 TKO
Brian Knight: Homasi via Round 2 TKO
Jack Goodwillie: Homasi via Round 2 TKO
Roemello Reyes: Homasi via Round 1 TKO
Ben Jamieson: Homasi via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Homasi: 9
Staff picking Ward: 4


Johnny Eblen (12-0), -280
vs.
Anatoly Tokov (31-3), +235

Middleweight Divisional Championship
Co-Main Event
– 185 lbs. –

Jeremy Brand: Eblen via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Eblen via Unanimous Decision
Michael DeSantis: Eblen via Unanimous Decision
Andrew Benjamin: Eblen via Split Decision
Frazer Krohn: Eblen via Unanimous Decision
Nate Freeman: Eblen via Unanimous Decision
Tim Wheaton: Eblen via Unanimous Decision
Brandon Joint: Tokov via Split Decision
Julio Monteros Jr.: Eblen via Unanimous Decision
Brian Knight: Eblen via Unanimous Decision
Jack Goodwillie: Eblen via Unanimous Decision
Roemello Reyes: Eblen via Unanimous Decision
Ben Jamieson: Eblen via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Eblen: 12
Staff picking Tokov: 1


Ryan Bader (30-7), -330
vs.
Fedor Emelianenko (40-6), +275

Heavyweight Divisional Championship
Main Event
– 265 lbs. –

Jeremy Brand: Emelianenko via Round 2 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Bader via Round 1 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Bader via Round 2 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Emelianenko via Round 2 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Bader via Round 3 TKO
Nate Freeman: Bader via Round 2 TKO
Tim Wheaton: Emelianenko via Round 1 TKO
Brandon Joint: Bader via Round 2 TKO
Julio Monteros Jr.: Bader via Unanimous Decision
Brian Knight: Emelianenko via Round 3 TKO
Jack Goodwillie: Bader via Round 2 TKO
Roemello Reyes: Emelianenko via Round 1 TKO
Ben Jamieson: Bader via Round 1 TKO

Staff picking Bader: 8
Staff picking Emelianenko: 5

BELLATOR 290 FEATURED IMAGE:

Bellator 290

Champion Johnny Eblen (left) and challenger Anatoly Tokov (right) ahead of their Middleweight World Championship fight at Bellator 290 on Saturday, February 4th from the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California (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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