Two fight cards are just around the corner for our MMASucka staff picks.
Kicking off the weekend sees Bellator 296, also titled as “Bellator Paris,” set to take place later today, May 12th, from the Accor Arena in Paris, France. The event comes as Bellator’s third from the country after mixed martial arts saw its France legalization in January of 2020. Both Bellator 248 in October of 2020 and Bellator 280 in May of 2022 took place from the Accor Arena.
Tonight’s event begins at 12:00pm ET (9:00am PT) on Bellator’s YouTube channel followed by the main card at 4:00pm ET (1:00pm PT) on Showtime. Live results from Bellator 296: Mousasi vs. Edwards will be available here at MMASucka.
Also, stay tuned to MMASucka tomorrow for our UFC on ABC 4: Rozenstruik vs. Almeida results and picks from Charlotte, North Carolina.
Middleweight contenders Gegard Mousasi and Fabian Edwards will meet in the featured main event. Although only three rounds will be contested instead of the usual five, the winner will receive a title shot against current 185-pound divisional champion, Johnny Eblen, at a later date this year.
Former Cage Warriors, DREAM, Strikeforce, and two-time Bellator Middleweight Champion Mousasi will make his tenth cage appearance with the promotion having only faced defeat upon losing the belts in championship fights to former title holder Rafael Lovato Jr. in mid-2019 and the aforementioned Eblen in June of last year. The longtime combat veteran targets his overall 50th professional win in MMA at just 37 years of age. Mousasi’s opponent, Edwards, gets his biggest test to date in his second main event with Bellator. After having his undefeated streak snapped with two consecutive losses in 2020 and 2021, the growing talent out of Team Renegade MMA rebounded with two victories last year over Lyoto Machida by knockout and Charlie Ward by unanimous decision as looks today towards securing his ticket to a first shot at gold.
In the co-main event, Brent Primus and Mansour Barnaoui will clash in the lightweight division across five, five-minute rounds. The pairing comes as part of Bellator’s Lightweight World Grand Prix with Primus stepping in on short notice for Sidney Outlaw after he was suspended from competition after a positive drug test. The winner will advance to the semifinals and fight undefeated Usman Nurmagomedov for the 155-pound championship.
Also on the main card sees former three-time Bellator Welterweight Champion Douglas Lima looking to snap the longest skid of his career after four straight losses against Netherlands talent Costello van Steenis. Frenchman Thibault Gouti also looks to impress in his home country against Manchester’s Kane Mousah in the opening main card bout.
Find our picks and predictions for the main card of Bellator 296 further below.
A middleweight world championship fight awaits the winner! 🔥
Will it be @mousasi_mma or @fabianedwards24 with their hand raised at the @Accor_Arena?
📺 #Bellator296 THIS FRIDAY
🇺🇸 4pm ET / 1pm PT | @SHOsports
🇫🇷 10pm CEST | @RMCsport
🇬🇧 9pm BST | @BBCiPlayer pic.twitter.com/BzAsipEalD
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) May 11, 2023
2023 Staff Picks
MMASucka staff picks are composed of five promotions: 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 three matchups.
The WINNER of staff picks at the end of 2023, who picked the most victorious fighters, will have a choice between receiving a custom-made championship belt from ProAmBelts or a chain from Championship Chains. Staff picks in 2022 was won by Wesley Riddle with a record of 264-135.
Check out our Bellator 296: Mousasi vs. Edwards picks below.
Staff Records after UFC 288:
1. Tim Wheaton: 95-51
2. Ben Jamieson: 94-52
3. Michael DeSantis: 93-53
4T. Frazer Krohn: 91-55
4T. Nate Freeman: 91-55
6. Jeremy Brand: 89-57
7. Wesley Riddle: 88-58
8. Andrew Benjamin: 75-66
9. Julio Monteros Jr.: 73-57
10. Brian Knight: 70-42
11. Jack Goodwillie: 68-45
12. Roemello Reyes: 62-34
13. Jonathan Andrade: 29-21
14. Brandon Joint: 12-9
15. Andrew Harbaugh: 10-7
16. Joshua Yule: 7-6
*Note – not all staff pick for every event*
Thibault Gouti (14-6), -120
Kane Mousah (14-4), +100
– 155 LBS. ~ 70.3 KG. –
Jeremy Brand: Gouti via Round 2 SUB
Wesley Riddle: Gouti via Unanimous Decision
Michael DeSantis: Gouti via Unanimous Decision
Andrew Benjamin: Gouti via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Gouti via Unanimous Decision
Nate Freeman: Gouti via Split Decision
Tim Wheaton: Gouti via Unanimous Decision
Julio Monteros Jr.: Gouti via Unanimous Decision
Brian Knight: Gouti via Unanimous Decision
Ben Jamieson: Gouti via Unanimous Decision
Staff picking Gouti: 10
Staff picking Mousah: 0
Douglas Lima (32-11), +155
Costello van Steenis (14-2), -180
– 185 LBS. ~ 83.9 KG. –
Jeremy Brand: Lima via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: van Steenis via Split Decision
Michael DeSantis: Lima via Unanimous Decision
Andrew Benjamin: van Steenis via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Lima via Unanimous Decision
Nate Freeman: van Steenis via Unanimous Decision
Tim Wheaton: van Steenis via Unanimous Decision
Julio Monteros Jr.: Lima via Unanimous Decision
Brian Knight: Lima via Split Decision
Ben Jamieson: van Steenis via Unanimous Decision
Staff picking Lima: 5
Staff picking van Steenis: 5
Brent Primus (11-3), +310
Mansour Barnaoui (20-4), -380
Lightweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals
– Co-Main Event –
– 155 LBS. ~ 70.3 KG. –
Jeremy Brand: Primus via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Barnaoui via Round 2 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Barnaoui via Unanimous Decision
Andrew Benjamin: Barnaoui via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Primus via Round 2 SUB
Nate Freeman: Barnaoui via Unanimous Decision
Tim Wheaton: Barnaoui via Unanimous Decision
Julio Monteros Jr.: Barnaoui via Unanimous Decision
Brian Knight: Barnaoui via Unanimous Decision
Ben Jamieson: Barnaoui via Round 2 SUB
Staff picking Primus: 2
Staff picking Barnaoui: 8
Gegard Mousasi (49-8-2), -250
Fabian Edwards (11-2), +210
– Main Event –
– 185 LBS. ~ 83.9 KG. –
Jeremy Brand: Mousasi via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Mousasi via Unanimous Decision
Michael DeSantis: Mousasi via Unanimous Decision
Andrew Benjamin: Mousasi via Round 2 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Mousasi via Unanimous Decision
Nate Freeman: Mousasi via Unanimous Decision
Tim Wheaton: Mousasi via Unanimous Decision
Julio Monteros Jr.: Mousasi via Unanimous Decision
Brian Knight: Mousasi via Round 2 TKO
Ben Jamieson: Mousasi via Unanimous Decision
Staff picking Mousasi: 10
Staff picking Edwards: 0