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Bellator: Dynamite 2 staff picks and predictions

Check out the Bloody Elbow staff’s picks and predictions for Friday night’s Bellator: Dynamite 2 event in St. Louis, Missouri.

Dave & Buster's Hollywood & Highland Grand Opening Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images for Dave & Buster's

The Bloody Elbow staff has submitted its predictions for tomorrow night’s Bellator: Dynamite 2 event in St. Louis, Missouri. This includes all of the main card MMA bouts, the feature prelim between Justin Lawrence and Isao Kobayashi, and the technically-not-part-of-Dynamite-but-we’ll-pick-it-anyway Bellator Kickboxing main event between Joe Schilling and Hisaki Kato.

Only Eddie Mercado is picking Ishii to win, and I can only assume he put his name on the wrong line, or he’s just being adventurous like Tim Burke was with Strikeforce’s final event. Speaking of Tim, he’s the only one picking Kato to beat Schilling in that kickboxing matchup.

Note: Predictions are entered throughout the week and collected the day before the event. Explanations behind each pick are not required and some writers opt not to do so for their own reasons. For example, if Victor Rodriguez entered all of his predictions on Tuesday without adding in any explanations, he has no idea if he's going to be the only one siding with one fighter for any given fight.

Rampage Jackson vs. Satoshi Ishii

Mookie Alexander: Man, I kinda want to pick Ishii here for shits and giggles, but Rampage still hits hard and Ishii’s striking defense and general resistance to strikes just isn’t there. Maybe he can make this an ugly fight where Rampage’s low output doesn’t amount to much and he can just make it a clinch battle, but nah. This ends in a KO. Rampage Jackson via KO, round 1.

Victor Rodriguez: Oh, no. Ishii has lost to guys like Fedor and Cro Cop were were further past their prime than Rampage and got slept. Rising prospect Jiri Prochazka sent him to the land of wind and ghosts in the Rizin tournament, and I see very little reason why Rampage can’t do the same. Unless Ishii replicates a plan similar to Jon Jones in which he clinches heavy to neutralize the distance and work close inside, I have no idea what he can do here. He doesn’t use Judo takedowns as often as you’d expect from an Olympic gold medalist Judoka, and his defensive striking lapses can be exploited by a hard hitter that finds openings like Rampage does. Rampage by KO.

Fraser Coffeen: Ishii ranks pretty high on the list of all time MMA busts. It’s certainly feasible that Rampage is so far gone that he can’t deal with even Ishii - but I find that not to be entirely likely. Rampage by KO, R1

Eddie Mercado: I just can’t with this.

Staff picking Rampage: Nick, Victor, Mookie, Fraser, Tim, Stephie, Iain
Staff picking Ishii: Eddie

Michael Chandler vs. Patricky Freire

Mookie Alexander: Love the Pitbull brothers, but am fully aware that Patricio is a legitimate top 10 featherweight who could get his belt back, whereas Patricky has had historical problems with consistency in his performances. Patricky’s got punching power and Chandler has been in some absolute wars, but I feel that Chandler’s reuniting with Neil Melanson (at Blackzilians) is a big bonus in his favor. Michael has very good hands, strong chokes, and is a better overall finisher than Pitbull is. I think Chandler hurts Patricky with a combo in the 3rd and then chokes him out. Michael Chandler by submission, round 3.

Victor: Both fighters are currently on 2-fight win streaks and have looked nice in rebounding from some tough losses, but it really seems like Chandler’s made more improvement in all aspects of his game whereas all of the wear and tear of fighting since his teen years appears to have taken a toll on Patricky. He still packs a lot of power and is remarkably dangerous, but Chandler seems to have the better fight IQ these days and is the more explosive and dynamic athlete. Michael Chandler by decision.

Fraser: Like Mookie, I dig the brothers Bull, but I recognize that there’s a bit of a gulf in skill level between the two, with Patricky being less consistent and less able to break through to that highest level. Chandler is not looking like his very best these days, but I still see him as too high a wall for Patricky to climb. Michael Chandler, decision

Eddie: All sorts of yes in this fight! Both guys will throw heat but i’ll give the edge to Chandler for his ability to control the fight on the ground. Pitbull hasn’t always fared well against top athletes and Chandler is just that. Michael Chandler by Unanimous Decision.

Staff picking Chandler: Nick, Victor, Mookie, Fraser, Tim, Eddie, Stephie, Iain
Staff picking Freire:

Matt Mitrione vs. Carl Seumanutafa

Mookie Alexander: When’s the last time Mitrione lost to a dude he probably should’ve beaten? Brendan Schaub? That might even be the only time. Seumanutafa doesn’t really have any good win on his record and has recent losses to DJ Linderman and Jack May. Mitrione is a better athlete and has the knockout power to put Carl away. Matt Mitrione via KO, round 2.

Victor: Carl Seumanutafa is a very tough fighter that can take a hell of a punch and can dish out massive damage in short order. Problem is his phase shifting is clunky, his wrestling and takedown game is more accidental than anything else, and his striking is rudimentary with a tendency to move back in a straight line. Mitrione’s boxing is too slick to let himself get caught, but an upset is certainly possible. It’s just not likely to happen. Matt Mitrione by TKO, round 2.

Eddie: Nobody beats Matt Mitrione… well, except for Matt Mitrione. Matt Mitrione by TKO, round 1.

Staff picking Mitrione: Nick, Victor, Mookie, Fraser, Tim, Eddie, Stephie, Iain
Staff picking Seumanutafa:

Ilima Macfarlane vs. Rebecca Ruth

Mookie Alexander: I’m really impressed with what both women have had to offer, and I’m not entirely sure strength of competition is a major crutch when these two haven’t fought for very long, but it is a valid reason to pick Ruth. That, and Ruth is a strong fighter and I think she’ll be able to overpower Macfarlane on the ground with her takedowns and ground-and-pound. Rebecca Ruth by unanimous decision.

Victor: Macfarlane is really making the most of her controversial break onto the fight scene, but she’s going to run into a monstrous brick wall here. Rebecca Ruth is a wrestling-based fighter with a grueling pace who can take a fair amount of damage, plus she’s absolutely fearless. Ruth spoiled the coming out party for Lena Ovchynnikova, and she’s going to replicate that here against an even less experienced fighter.

Eddie: Rebecca Ruth displayed some impressive physicality for the women’s flyweight division. With Ilima Macfarlane having yet to face someone with a winning record, it’s hard for me to pick against Ruth. Rebecca Ruth via TKO, Round 2.

Staff picking Macfarlane: Nick, Stephie, Iain
Staff picking Ruth: Victor, Mookie, Fraser, Tim, Eddie

Justin Lawrence vs. Isao Kobayashi

Mookie Alexander: Justin Lawrence is one of those guys I’ve thought could’ve made another UFC run, but that hasn’t materialized. He’s coming off a loss to Emmanuel Sanchez in which he more or less lost the fight because Sanchez was more active off of his back. Kobayashi presents a different style matchup for Lawrence, but I think this is Justin’s fight to lose if it stays standing. Justin Lawrence by unanimous decision.

Victor: First off, it’s an injustice that this is being buried on the online prelims. Second, this fight has the potential to be excellent. Kobayashi’s been fun to watch over in Pancrase, but I worry he’ll suffer from some of the same problems that plague a lot of Japanese fighters that come over to fight Americans with a wrestling base. Lawrence has serious power and can put him on his back at will, but Kobayashi’s submission game is devoid of flash yet relentless. Then again, Lawrence is pretty crafty with his submission defense and can take some damage. Lawrence also has great positional awareness and could be able to anticipate any shenanigans Kobayashi might throw at him. I’ll go with the safe money on this one. Justin Lawrence by decision.

Eddie: Both guys need this win. Lawrence is getting an opponent who doesn’t have the best track record of defensive fundamentals. Kobayashi is getting an opponent who is unlikely to hunt for the takedown. Who wants it more? Justin Lawrence by decision.

Staff picking Lawrence: Nick, Victor, Mookie, Fraser, Tim, Eddie, Stephie, Iain
Staff picking Kobayashi:

Hisaki Kato vs. Joe Schilling (Kickboxing)

Mookie Alexander: This is Schilling’s wheelhouse and I’m pretty sure Kato has zero kickboxing bouts. Sure, Kato KO’d Schilling in MMA, but kickboxing rules make this a different fight. I have to go with Schilling just on that fact alone. Joe Schilling by unanimous decision.

Fraser: This one should be a no-brainer. Kato did indeed pull off the big win over Schilling in MMA, and I don’t want to discredit that at all - it really was impressive. But then he lost to Manhoef. Like any responsible combat sports fan, I LOVE Melvin Manhoef - but Kato is the only guy he’s defeated in either sport in 2 years. So I think the first fight between these two is a bit more of Schilling being not great at MMA than Kato being a better striker. Once the gloves are on and Joe is able to implement his high output pressure game, I don’t think Kato will be able to hold up. Look for Joe to push the pace, overwhelm Kato early, gas in round 3, but none the less get by. Joe Schilling, Dec

Eddie: I think if we remove the threat of a takedown and increase the size of the gloves, then you get a matchup that improves the chances of victory for Joe Schilling. The difference between an MMA match and a kickboxing bout will allow Schilling to let his strikes fly more freely while being less exposed defensively with a larger glove. Does this mean the chances of Kato finding success is lessened? Well not exactly. Just as there was great mystery surrounding the MMA capabilities of Kato going into their initial bout, there is just as much mystery as to how well Kato will do against Schilling in a kickboxing bout. I gotta pick the experience/confidence of Schilling. Joe Schilling, KO.

Staff picking Kato: Tim,
Staff picking Schilling: Mookie, Nick, Fraser, Eddie, Stephie, Iain

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